The wonderful principle of Triage

Fortunately I have got an opportunity to review a wonderful book on Self Development. This book is Personal Development for Smart People written by Steve Pavlina who owns the Internet’s most popular self-help blog’ Steve Pavlina.Com‘. I have not yet finished the book but whatever I have read till now has impressed me deeply. This book is filled with golden nuggets of wisdoms. In one of my subsequent posts, I’ll post a detailed review of the book.

However, just for your interest, here is a small excerpt from the book which tells us how to give priorities to our tasks, projects and actions in the most efficient way possible.


In battlefield medicine, the principle of triage involves dividing patients into three groups:

1. Those who will die anyway, whether they receive medical attention or not

2. Those who will survive anyway, whether they receive medical attention or not

3. Those who will survive only if they receive timely medical attention

When resources are limited, medics must attend to members of the third group before the first and second groups in order to save as many lives as possible.

Triage can also help you build your authority by focusing your attention on the most significant actions. In this case you divide your tasks, projects, and activities into three groups:

1. Projects that will fail to have a significant impact, whether you do them or not

2. Projects that will succeed anyway, whether you do them or not

3. Projects that will have a significant impact only if you complete them in a timely manner

If you focus your attention on the first group, you’re just spinning your wheels while more important tasks remain undone. If you focus your attention on the second group, you’re wasting your energy for no meaningful return. But if you attend to the third group, you’ll put your time and energy to the best possible use. In order to focus on the most significant actions, you must withdraw your attention from the first two groups.

Practicing triage is extremely challenging because it requires repeatedly saying no to what you may instinctively feel are good choices. It’s the time-management equivalent of saying no to wounded people calling for help. But if you fail to master the art of triage, many worthwhile projects will die needlessly.

This process is a challenge of consciousness. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re staring at a project screaming for your attention. But you still need to muster the awareness to ask yourself: Is this the most important thing for me to be doing right now?

Make a list of your group-three projects and activities, and keep it handy at all times. Maybe it’s a list of your key goals, but it could also be a list of the life areas you want to attend to, such as your health, relationships, and spiritual practice. Review that list every day to keep refreshing its presence in your mind. This will help you make the tough triage decisions when the need arises. It’s easier to say no to groups one and two when you can see the whole battlefield.

What are the group-three projects that are dying in the trenches but that can still be saved if you reach them in time? Your health? Your relationship? Your career? Your spiritual connection? In order to make time to save them, what ones and twos are you willing to pass up?

That’s all for this week.

Keep Meditation ! May God Bless You !