Know Your Reds – How to Avoid ‘Crazy Busy’ and Triage Your To Do list


I wanted to share this video – a TED Talk from Emergency Room Doctor Darria Long – that will make you rethink the way you behave about prioritisation and stress forevermore. So often I find myself speaking with ’crazy busy’ (and stressed) clients about how to use triage as a way to assess the real threat levels of their ‘to do’ lists. Here’s the long and short of it:

How to move from ‘crazy busy’ mode to ‘ready mode’

1.) Relentlessly triage.

When you are ‘crazy busy’ you are essentially reacting the same way to every. single. thing. Not all challenges are equal, so stop reacting to them all with the same response.

Ready mode is a complete contrast. In ready mode, you prioritse by degree of urgency.

  • Red – immediately life threatening
  • Yellow – serious but not immediately life threatening
  • Green – minor

2.) Know your reds.

3.) What is noisiest is not always the most urgent

This is a show-stopping point.

4.) Black. Know when you must move on.

These are items that you must take off your list. If you try to do everything, you have no hope of saving your reds.

5.) Expect and design for crazy – plan, plan, plan

The more options we have, the longer each decision make. The more decisions we have to make, the more exhausted our brains are and the less capable we are to make good decisions


Never leave anything to remember that you could automate.

Co locate

Store all the equipment you need for an activity together

Decrease temptations

Design differently. If a food is out of reach – study prarticipants ate 70% less

7.) Get out of your head

We all get nervous, we all get scared, it’s what you do next that matters. That first feeling isn’t the problem. It becomes a problem when we let it derail us.

How? Actively put focus on someone else. What do they need, what do they fear, how can I help? Research shows that if you prime your brain with compassion, disrupt the monologue so to speak, you brain can take in broader information, so you see more possibilities and make better decisions.

When you go from crazy mode to ready mode, others notice. They all want to do it. You inspire those around you.

Own the busy. But stop calling it crazy.

You have the ability, now you’re ready.

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If you have something on your mind, a challenge you’re wrestling with or just want an alternative point of view, I’d be very happy to lend an ear and maybe help you start to unpick the issues.