Drowning in Mindless To-Dos? Carve Time for Moments of Inspiration

By Carrie Majewski

moritz320 / Pixabay

In 2016, I had the opportunity to hear Steve McClatchy, author of “Decide” and featured keynoter, speak at a business leadership conference. For those of you who haven’t read his best-selling book, McClatchy contends that essentially all the work and personal duties we regularly perform can be distilled down into one of two categories:

  • Pain, or tasks that are deadline-driven, mundane and come with steep consequences if not completed expediently
  • Gain, or pursuits that provide nourishment, stimulation and fulfillment and are often more strategic in nature

Perhaps unsurprisingly, pain tends to win out over gain every time. Or, as McClatchy writes: “It’s too difficult to think about pursuing Gain if we wait until all our energy is spent on Preventing Pain.”

Think of a common pain task in your world. If you are in marketing, perhaps it’s completing that monthly metrics report for your VP of Marketing to show how your content marketing channels—e.g. blog, social media and email marketing—performed. If you are a high school social studies teacher, it may be creating a worksheet to be handed out to your students by the end of the week.

Now think of gain.

If we use the same industries as an example, a gain task for a marketer might be spending 10 minutes every morning reading the latest blogs from the Content Marketing Institute (my favorite!) to just stay current. If you are a teacher, it may be thinking about how that lesson plan on the American Revolution can be adjusted ever so slightly to garner even more student enthusiasm.

See the difference?

For some, prioritizing pain ahead of gain comes more naturally. Picture someone in your world who arrives 10 minutes early always, lays out their clothes the night before and rarely leaves dirty dishes in the sink. Chances are this individual is highly responsible, deadline-driven and discipline-oriented—more naturally gravitating towards pain-tasks.

Now, consider the “dreamer” in your circle. Perhaps this is the individual that can give you unconventional career advice as they tend to see paths not visible to others. Or maybe this is the friend who always seems to have read a great new book or caught the latest podcast from a best-selling author. In their world, gain tasks may be easier to prioritize than pain.

No natural disposition is better, of course. Rather, it’s about recognizing where we most often fall in balancing our lives and making adjustments as needed.

For me, I am the former type. A few years ago when I took the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment, a test that helps you uncover your top five dominant strengths, I learned that Achiever and Discipline make up my top five strengths. These strengths sit in the execution zone and describe individuals who naturally achieve and enjoy high degrees of responsibility. But I also have Futuristic in my top five, or the ability to see clear vision and know how to lay the building blocks to get there. In fact, Futuristic is more dominant for me than Achiever and Discipline! You can only imagine Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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