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  • How do you deal with distant, sporadic agendas?

    I have a friend with whom I meet about at least two months or longer. Last week we saw each other, and I promised him to borrow him a book next time we get to see each other.

    I wonder what's the most effortless way to keep that commitment: It is not an item I need to review week after week in the weekly review, but if I put it on a list 'things to remember for next time I see him', and as our meetings are usually unexpected, I should remember that my friend belongs to the category of 'there is a list I have to consult before meeting him'. That list sometimes exists, but other times would not be necessary -nothing pending from our previous meeting-, so the habit of checking it is difficult to create.

    How would you go about managing a commitment of this kind?

  • #2
    Do you have a tickler file or calendar that you could add a note to that would remind you in approx. 4-6 weeks time? I often put reminders as all day events in outlook. By that point you may find you have a date scheduled for meeting your friend and you could add the reminder to the appointment. If it is a very ad hoc, spur of the moment meeting then I'm not sure what I would suggest!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by vic_lh View Post
      It is not an item I need to review week after week in the weekly review [...] so the habit of checking it is difficult to create.
      Perhaps reviewing it on your list in your weekly review every week would help engrain it in your memory?

      Comment


      • #4
        The few ways to handle..

        This is a great question and I am happy to share how I approach this.

        If this is someone I know I would DEFINITELY see once a month but don't necessarily have a set time, I would make them a part of my @Agendas list. Anytime something popped up that I know I would want to share with them, I would add it to my agenda list for that specific person. In my system, various people are my subcategory for @Agenda, so it looks sort of like this:

        Agendas:

        Kelly
        -Go over ideas for next year
        -Discuss technical support sequence
        -Share testimonial from Bob

        Mary
        -Ask if she has any new angles on marketing

        A Weekly Review will keep you present with this @Agenda list, so when you are a week out from meeting up with this person and you do your review, at that time you will be reminded to bring the book the following week.

        Now, if this was someone I know I was going to see at a set date, and it was in my calendar, then I might put a reminder right into my calendar entry:

        e.g: "Meet with Mary for coffee- bring book she wanted to borrow"

        If you are checking your calendar every day (i.e. your "hard landscape"), then this should be a sure fire way to be reminded.

        Another option is to put a reminder in my tickler file. I have a digital tickler through e-Productivity, so it will pop up on a specific date if I so choose. So if I know I am seeing that person on a specific day, I would enter a tickler for that date that says "Don't forget book for Mary."

        Those are just a few ways that work well for me. See if any of those resonate and figure out how it would be most 'attractive' for you to remember.

        Hope that helps!

        Comment


        • #5
          And then there's the direct approach

          If I say to someone, or if they say to me, "Next time I see you, we'll ______." there's always a doubt that it will actually happen. Time passes, situations change. What was applicable at the time may no longer apply. So, I don't like to wait until the next time. I'm more likely to throw the book in the mail, or buy and send a copy they can keep (especially if it's Getting Things Done ). It's extra effort, but it gets it out of your system sooner. And there's really no downside to being that proactive.

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm with you!

            Originally posted by artsinaction View Post
            If I say to someone, or if they say to me, "Next time I see you, we'll ______." there's always a doubt that it will actually happen. Time passes, situations change. What was applicable at the time may no longer apply. So, I don't like to wait until the next time. I'm more likely to throw the book in the mail, or buy and send a copy they can keep (especially if it's Getting Things Done ). It's extra effort, but it gets it out of your system sooner. And there's really no downside to being that proactive.
            My system was once totally clogged with stuff like that...or the infamous "let's have lunch" (I'd add to my list, call so-and-so for lunch date). Now, unless that person is really important to me, I say, "sure, give me a call" and forget it. SO many people make little promises, want to do this or that, and I was more than willing to own it. Not anymore.

            But if I do say I'm going to do something, I do it--right away.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Barb View Post
              But if I do say I'm going to do something, I do it--right away.
              Barb, what do you mean by do it right away? You mean you do the latest and loudest?

              Comment


              • #8
                nope

                Originally posted by Solyanov2011 View Post
                Barb, what do you mean by do it right away? You mean you do the latest and loudest?
                I mean: For instance, if I'm with someone and I say I'm going to call them for lunch I'm going to word it like this:

                "I'd really like to have lunch with you soon. You would too? Great. I don't have my calendar with me. I'll send you an email within the next 48 hours with a few suggested dates."

                and I do just that. Open-ended, may happen/may not happen things just clutter my system and feel like things that need decisions. So I make them happen.

                But some people throw out what I call "Hollywood invitations": "We must get together soon", "we'd love to have you come over for a drink", and "let's have lunch soon" are great examples of things people say, just in conversation and almost automatically, that they have no commitment to actually follow through on. I'm surely not going to put something like that on my waiting for list. But if I really want something to happen with that person, I'll take the lead and follow through right away.

                Make sense now?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Makes sense that you do it not right away but within 48 hours

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have several scattered friends whom I see less often that I would like, so I understand exactly what you're talking about.

                    This is my approach (I won't say solution yet, since I still trying to get back into GTD).

                    I have a context @Agenda. If I have something I want to do, discuss, or bring when I see someone or go someplace. I add an entry for "Bob" or "Whole Foods" @Agenda list. I'll then create a note for each, in the note I'll write the thing to bring, discuss or do when I'm next with that person or in that place. I'll review the notes, adding or removing items as desired.

                    The "Bob" note may have points like:
                    • "how was the snowshoe hike in March"
                    • "have you seen Mike recently?"
                    • "owes me $20"
                    The "Whole Foods" list is pretty much a shopping list of a few things I want to get there next time I find myself there.

                    It may seem redundant to have an entry in the @Agenda list and a note for each, but I don't review notes regularly, and the @Agenda list reminds me that I have a commitment to something\someone. It also works for scheduled appointments, you just have a calendar appointment instead of a next action.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you very much people for all the great suggestions. There are a lot of interesting hints here. I've been thinking for a long time to start using the tickler file, maybe this could be a good 'excuse'.

                      I also find comfortable Jrdouce's idea about @agenda. It's kind of a 'list of lists', if I get it right. It would allow me to remember my commitment on a regular basis without being too overkill.

                      The thing with this friendship is that it is quite an old acquaintance, and one of those friendships that do not really require that much frequency. In fact, I think getting together more often could even be dangerous for our relation, it's like we need to go and do our lives for a while and 'let the battery recharge' before someone calls the other one again.

                      I am being that specific here just to note that I don't think Barb's 'do it right away' approach, while very praiseworthy usually, would work in this case. If, say, the day after one of our meetings, I'd send the book to my friend right away, I think it would not feel comfortable for any of us; but after a couple of months, bringing the book would be the perfect warm up to continue the conversation where we left it.

                      Thank you all guys.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        hadn't thought of it that way.

                        Originally posted by vic_lh View Post
                        If, say, the day after one of our meetings, I'd send the book to my friend right away, I think it would not feel comfortable for any of us; but after a couple of months, bringing the book would be the perfect warm up to continue the conversation where we left it.
                        That makes perfect sense, given the friendship. I can see how sending it out right away might be taken as encouragement for more frequent visits... good point.

                        By the way, my tickler is indispensable. And that wasn't always the case. The key was remembering to check it, of course!! I had to put up little "Check the Tickler" notes around my office as reminders initially, but now I couldn't function without it.

                        Dena

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          agendas

                          The way I handle the OPs situation is by creating a file for the person in my @agenda folder. In this case I would enter the book loan. Then for my weekly review I have an entry that says "look at meetings on calendar for next week and see if you have agendas for them". I have some weekly meetings I don't need to do that for, I know I have agenda files. But for the infrequent meeting this way I don't have to remember if that meeting has an agenda or not; I'll check at the appropriate time. And if it does have an agenda I modify my calendar entry to remind myself to look at the agenda prior to the meeting. In the specific example here if I'm meeting the friend for lunch I would probably create a separate calendar entry the nite before that says "put book in briefcase" so I know I'll have it with me.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And the Someday/Maybe List

                            If the situation with Bob is more like "Ok Bob, if we meet in the month or two I'll try to remember to give him the book", I'll add it to my someday/maybe list called 'When next ... visiting with Bob'. I do this because I see this as a someday item - I don't really want to see it in my @agendas when I'm in the daily grind. So when I know I might see Bob at a friend's party or whatever, I'll scan my someday/maybe list and say "Ah, maybe I should carry that book with me in case Bob's there".

                            I do this too with those 'would be nice to have lunch one of these days' conversations. This is the situation where it's not something either of us are really committed to but if free time ever pops up I'd be nice to do it. Those don't go on my action lists because, really, I'm not committed to actioning it right now. Those go on my someday/maybe list under "Visits / Lunches / Dinner to Have". And those I glance at during my weekly review because then I know what my hard and soft landscapes look like in the next week or two and whether I can fit in a lunch or dinner. If I can, then @agendas, @calls or @computer (email) get's a next action to schedule lunch/dinner, and I may even create a tentative calendar entry.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That is, of course, brilliant!

                              Originally posted by enyonam View Post
                              Those go on my someday/maybe list under "Visits / Lunches / Dinner to Have".
                              I had those things on my endless Someday/Maybe list. It makes much more sense to pull them out to their own list... which is what I just did! What I found was that I needed to make a separate section for the more obligatory visits - the people we need to see at least once a year - but the main list is the fun "Hey, we have a free night! Who shall we have over?" list. Thanks!

                              Do you have other breakout lists on your Someday/Maybe list, enyonam?

                              Dena

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