How to Identify and Prioritize “Gain” Tasks

 prioritize tasks Is your to-do list focused on tasks that will help you get the most from your life? Find out in this video.


So is your to-do list filled with all the right things so that you can really get ahead in life? Hi, my name is Bernie Heine, and today I want to talk about the fact that wealth creation takes focus and determination.

Steven McClatchey talks about the difference between activities that move towards gain and activities that you do to alleviate pain. And the difference in those two is very big in terms of its impact on your life. Ninety percent of our success in life is because we’re working on activities that add wealth, that move towards gaining something, and only 10 percent is the avoiding of pain.

So when we’re working on gain tasks, these are things that you can’t delegate. These are things that are really important to you like getting an advanced degree. You can’t delegate to someone else to get your MBA for you. These are things we have to do ourselves. Pain tasks, the avoiding of pain tasks, are things like taking out the trash, cleaning your office. All of these things are only important if they don’t get done, and they often are associated with a high sense of urgency like “it’s trash day on Friday, so we better take the trash out in the morning.” That doesn’t get us very much in life, but if we don’t do it, we might end up with a smelly house, but it’s not going to move us forward. Going out and getting an advanced degree or working on that important project, those are the activities make all the difference in our lives.

Gain Tasks Lack Urgency

So there are three ways to identify those gain tasks. Number one, they have a significant lack of urgency. It’s not something that has to happen right now.

Sense of Achievement

Number two: there is a significant sense of achievement associated with getting them done.

Deep Sense of Personal Satisfaction

Number three is you gain a deep sense of personal satisfaction from having completed those.

Make Gain Tasks a Higher Priority

So knowing that, how can we implement this? So this is a simple three-step process. So step number one is to make these gain tasks/these wealth creating tasks a priority in your life. So once you’ve identified them, look over your to-do list. Are those the kinds of things that are even on your list? Or is your list filled with all of the “avoiding pain” kinds of tasks which feel really urgent because you’ve got to get them done today/you’ve got to make this happen/you’ve got to make that happen. We’ve got to do stuff/we should do stuff.

I often say people shouldn’t “should” on themselves,you know? We shouldn’t use that language. We get to do stuff in our lives, and the gain tasks are things that we really like to do, but because they don’t have that sense of urgency, we often procrastinate on them and push out on our calendar. Bring those gain tasks and focus. Make those the top priority on your list

Step number two is to take a look at all of those gain tasks and lay out a time plan. Begin with the end in mind. Where I want to go with this? What is the critical path that I need to be on to make sure I accomplish that?

Step three is to protect those tasks.Think of it like the difference between a to-do list and a calendar. On a to-do list, we can just add and add and add more items. It’s very easy. if you’re already have 27 items, you add a 28th item to the bottom of the list, it’s very simple. It doesn’t feel painful to add more items to your to-do list, even though most people have to-do lists which could take months to complete. We just keep adding more and more on.

Think of it with these priority items/gain tasks, think of them like calendar items. For instance, when somebody asks you for an appointment you just add it to your calendar, you first look at your calendar to see if you have 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning. So you’re moving things because it’s a fixed amount space on the calendar to put up with you just can’t keep accepting appointments for the same. So treat these gain tasks calendar tasks. They’re really important. You want block time out for them. They’re not just another thing added to a long list of to-dos. With that newfound list of priorities, focus on those and make yourself yourself a better life, and a better person and run a better company.

About Bernhard Heine

Bernhard Heine is a business and executive coach at Professional Business Coaches, Inc. (PBC, Inc.), a company he founded to help business owners and leaders create and achieve their vision. Bernhard has more than 25 years of experience working collaboratively with business partners in all phases of business management, restructuring and transformation, particularly in: strategic planning, marketing and sales, organizational design, engineering consulting, project management, coaching and facilitation.
Bernhard holds a BS in marine engineering from the US Merchant Marine Academy in NY. He also holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and is a licensed business coach with Professional Business Coaches Alliance (PBCA), and an Authorized Client Builder Sales Trainer.
He was Executive Director for Strategy and Business Development at Textron Inc., strategy leader at Coca-Cola in Germany, and management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group. Early in his career, he worked globally as a marine engineer.
Bernhard has also achieved the “Master Coach” designation from the PBCA in Sales, Coaching, Leadership, Marketing, Personal Effectiveness, and Exit Planning.

“I help my clients become more self-aware of why their issues continue to occur and why their prior efforts have not led to success. Through regular sessions, holding them accountable for their actions, they make gradual improvements and over time achieve the success they are looking for.” – Bernhard Heine

Certifications: Professional Business Master Coach, Legal Practice Coach, Extended DISC Trainer, Everything DiSC Trainer, Client Builder Sales Trainer, Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Trainer.

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