Triage Technique


The goal of the Triage Productivity Method is to help you prioritize and accomplish your weekly task goals in 30 hours or less per week.

The Triage is about identifying critical tasks and milestones that you can tag under different colors based on priority and result generation.

Why does it work?

  1. Helps prioritize your tasks
  2. Categorizing tasks leads to less confusion
  3. Emphasizes a strict time-limit
  4. Avoid analysis paralysis during the week.

How does the triage method work?

  1. Every Saturday/Sunday, list down all the tasks on your plate.
  2. From the list, start tagging tasks based on their criticality and importance.
  3. For tasks that are urgent and essential, red-tag them.
  4. For tasks that can be delayed but are essential, yellow-tag them.
  5. For useful tasks that can be done anytime, green-tag them.
  6. For tasks that are a pipe-dream and/or not feasible, black-tag them.
  7. Convert all tasks under red, yellow, and green tags into result-based goals and know exactly when they should be considered "done."
  8. Start your workweek by executing the red tasks first, then move on to the yellow tasks and reserve the final remaining hours of your 30-hour quota to green tasks.
  9. Repeat the process every Saturday or Sunday.


Susan is a network executive at a large media corporation, and she finds herself often left with little to no time at the end of the week for critical tasks.

Even though Susan is exceptionally hardworking, she is left with some critical tasks unfinished at the end of every week, making it harder to start fresh the following week.

Susan starts working with a productivity coach, instructing her to try the triage method.

The coach determines that Susan's main problem is prioritization followed by planning, so she works with Susan for a couple of weeks on this system.

Susan is first told to make a master list of all the tasks on her plate and then tag them.

So she starts listing a few important and urgent document reviews under the red tag and then moves some tax work to the yellow tag because she has a couple of weeks before the deadline.

Susan always wanted to learn film analysis online.

Given the stage in her career, she believes this course will improve her position at the company, so she green tags course taking and evaluation.

She is also left with some tasks that might not necessarily add a lot of value, so she black tags them and discards them from the list.

Now left with a list of tagged tasks, Susan and her coach sit down and assign goals for each task.

They want the tasks to have a result-oriented approach rather than doing it for its sake.

The coach ensures that the time budgeted for the tasks doesn't exceed 30 hours, so she carefully instructs Susan accordingly.

Susan then starts her week tackling the red tasks first and, upon finishing them, moves on to the yellow tasks.

She is done with both her red and yellow tasks by Wednesday, so she now has all of Thursday to take that film-analysis course.

Once done, Susan is relatively free on Fridays and looks at either relaxing or working on some proactive projects to build herself.

She finds that the triage method essentially helped her prioritize, strategize and execute her week effectively.

She and her coach decide that they will run this for a few more weeks and then look at re-evaluating its effectiveness, but as of now, it seems to be working perfectly for Susan.

Implementing Products

Similar Methodologies

Not-To-Do List
Pareto Analysis (a.k.a 80/20 rule)
Most Important Task (MIT)
Commitment Inventory

Related Books

Mentioning Articles