Tag Archives: efficiency

Getting Things Done And The Art Of Delegation


How To Master Stress Free Productivity, Overcome Procrastination, Reach Your Targets And Grow More Effective – Quickly, Easily, Effortlessly

Getting things done is the eventual target of the Time Management Tao approach that’s rooted in intelligent goal setting and learning to prioritize tasks in your day planner.

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry, leaving us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!)

Most time management plans go off the rails because they remain as just concepts and dreams. You must translate them into getting things done. Otherwise you will never enjoy the riches and benefits that come from optimally using the abundance of time available to all of us – to get every important task done.

Hand in hand with your focus on getting things done should come the realization that nobody can tackle everything that’s necessary all by ourselves. We need help. We need to hand over some tasks. We must delegate.

Delegation is simple and easy – but hard to learn initially. At the heart of this difficulty lies our own unwillingness to let go. The Tao way of managing time makes it easier to release our ownership of tasks, and allow responsibility for taking action devolve naturally to those most capable of handling them.

So, at this point, you have set the right goals by learning what matters most – to you. You have understood the order of things, and mastered the way to prioritize items on your day planner. All that’s left is to get things done. That’s what we’ll focus on next.

Get Specific

Ambiguity creates confusion. It leads to delays. It wastes precious time. So you must get very specific.

Each morning when you begin work, you must know precisely what targets you are aiming to reach before the day ends. Because you already have the ‘big picture’ clearly in mind, these tasks and activities will naturally be aligned with it. This way, you will always be working on important things.

Draw Up Your Schedule

This is pretty standard time management advice. What’s different with the Tao style of doing it is how you avoid the temptation to over-schedule. You only pick items that match your goals, that align with your bigger targets, that can be comfortably fitted into your day… and ignore all the rest!

Decide Your Order

As you understand the order of things, you’ll find it easy to slot each activity on your day planner into the appropriate order – which allows you to get it done without stress or worry about being able to complete your list. You’ll learn about the different systems and tools available to help with getting things done in the Ming Vase Time Management series of guides.

Get Started

Procrastination is a common enemy that time managers must conquer for getting things done. The reason you tend to put things off is because you don’t always clearly see how it fits your purpose, and so you don’t feel a keen desire to get things done.

The solution is to ask yourself if the task you’re delaying really matters – and if it does, reminding yourself about the purpose served by getting it done. That should kickstart your efforts and help you beat procrastination.

Guard Against Overload

The stress attached to conventional time management is often linked to having too much on your list of things to do. You get overwhelmed. You struggle to find your balance. You waste time trying to prioritize.

With the Taoist approach, you sidestep the issue completely. Focus on a single task, ignoring the others – until you get it done. Then move to the next. Because every task on your list is important, you aren’t wasting any time at all.

Handle Interruptions

Interruptions are unavoidable. The key is to keep them from upsetting you or derailing your schedule. While external measures like locking your door, turning off the phone, or having an assistant screen callers may work to an extent, they kill spontaneity and lower your enjoyment.

The Taoist approach is to get your thoughts and flow back quickly after any interruption, so that you weave these random, fun events into the overall fabric of your important work… without sacrificing either.

Smart Delegation

Traditional training about delegation is to hand over tasks to the person(s) best capable to handle them. Sometimes, though, this approach can leave you unhappy or even angry.


Because, apart from skill and expertise, there’s a ‘fun factor’ at play – and for that reason, you might want to personally handle a task that’s more efficient to hand over to someone else. Time Taoists listen to their heart to decide whether or not to take on extra responsibilities. This avoids over-commitment, and ensures that you are working only on things you enjoy most.

Saying ‘No’

Over-commitment is another pitfall to steer clear of. Learn to say ‘No’ more often. It becomes easier once you clearly visualize your biggest goals, and can see whether or not a particular job, project or activity will lead you closer to it – or not.

Achieve Balance and Harmony

Where the Taoist style scores over all other approaches to getting things done is in achieving harmony through adjusting to others.

Even as you are working on your highest priorities, you are avoiding over-loading your plate with other people’s demands and requests. This avoids stress, doesn’t let down people who depend on you, and conditions others to not dump extra work upon you. This leads to greater balance and more harmony in your relationships with colleagues, co-workers, family and friends.

Mastering Time Management Tao

The three core tenets of Time Management Tao are simple, even embarrassingly so. All you have to do is:

We have broadly discussed each of these elements. But you probably want more detail. Maybe you’d like a road map or a blueprint that outlines each approach in greater depth.

That’s the reason why we have published a series of guides under the Ming Vase Time Management label. You’ll find short, focused reports and ebooklets that guide you through the nuances and finer points of each of these 3 concepts.

And if you sign up to our free weekly “Time Taozine” email newsletter by filling in the registration form below, you’ll receive more tips and secrets for managing your time better, getting things done and delegating tasks intelligently.


The Price of Efficiency

Soon after my residency training in heart surgery, I worked at a corporate hospital for a few months. It was an efficient, streamlined unit. Surgeons spent most of their time inside the operating room. Different specialists managed specific parts of the patient care process.

But no one was involved in every part. And team members took pride in statistics like the total number of patients operated, low complication rates, and effective resource utilization.

It was impersonal.

When I returned after a fellowship in U.K. and Australia, I spent a year at another corporate hospital. The interaction with patients was slightly more for doctors, though not much.

Primarily, we performed operations, and responsibility for other areas was very limited. While some satisfaction for specific patient outcomes was felt, team members by and large rejoiced in numbers and data rather than people.

It was abstract.

Now, I head and manage my own program. It isn’t very large. I am directly engaged in every step of the process – whether it involves patients or not. There are days I feel more like purchase manager or HR executive than surgeon!

I am also responsible for anything that goes wrong or doesn’t work or is missing when it’s needed. Engagement with patients and their families is personal, direct and frequent. It can happen at inconvenient times during the day (or night, too).

It is intensely personal.

Today, as I waved goodbye to my little 6-year old patient who has recovered from a complex congenital heart defect repair and is going back home, I felt a thrill of sheer delight as he smilingly waved back, and a grin lit up his tiny shining face.

It felt special… because I’m involved in every part of his treatment.

Efficiency comes at a price.

But, so does inefficiency!


How Can a Heart Surgeon Blog for Influence?


Today, I’d like to tell you a story.

It takes you behind the scenes of a heart operation, reveals a secret and teaches a powerful lesson in the end.