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Action support for actions of 5 minutes

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  • Action support for actions of 5 minutes

    I am implementing GTD for about 8 month now and it really helps me a lot.
    One problem I have is when I process my inbox, I will encounter action support material which will trigger an action which will take about 5-10 minutes (more than 2). There is a high probability that I will do this action within the day (but not always)... once the action done I will throw away the material as I will never use it again.

    I it silly to open and lable a new folder in the reference material to store that document until the action is done... on the other hand if I do not actually execute the action within the same day... such documents will accumulate on my desk (meaning I did not really process them).

    The question may be silly but I really don't see how I am supposed to do.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    Stephan

  • #2
    Hi Stephan,

    Many people who have short cycles of completion like this will use an "Actions" folder for this. So it becomes like a Task list for items that will turn around quickly. It's critical though, that you stay on top of that folder as you would any Next Action list, so that it doesn't become a black hole.

    Kelly
    Last edited by kelstarrising; 10-25-2012, 11:54 AM.

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    • #3
      Using a modified "tickler" files

      I am relatively new in my implementation of GTD too, and have also run into this problem. I have a modified "ticker" file that is a small plastic standing desktop file that looks like this: http://www.amazon.com/Oxford-Decofle.../dp/B0012VIJGS. The hanging folders I have are "Now", "Soon", "Month", "Later", "Waiting", "Errand"

      In your example, I would put a binder clip on the materials, with a dated Post-It on the first page that listed the Next Step details. Then, I would file that packet in "Today" if I had to do them today, or "Soon" if it can wait, or "Month" if I should look at it again in a month. If I have stuff I am waiting for that is time sensitive, rather than put it in "Waiting", I put it in the appropriate time-frame for when I will want to follow-up if I need an answer back.

      In the GTD book, the tickler file David Allen suggests had a tickler file for every day of the year. I found that too cumbersome, because if I needed to retrieve something, I had a hard time finding it. This modified "tickler" limits the places an item may be located.

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      • #4
        It depends...

        I work as an executive assistant, and as such, I have very short completion cycles. If my bosses aren't around (they travel a lot) and I know I have some time, I'll just treat the 5 minute items as if they were 2 minute items and crank through them. Oftentimes it's the best way. If not, I have a "TODAY" folder, and at the end of every day if there's anything left in it, then it goes in my usual "ACTION SUPPORT" tray and gets inputted on my next action lists.

        Hope that helps!

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        • #5
          Carolyn didn't mention it, but there's a great interview with her that I just posted for my Slice of GTD Life series. She talks about this very issue of short cycles of completion.

          https://secure.davidco.com/connect/m...8&trackid=1117

          (If you're not a member, the 14-day guest pass will give you access to listen.)

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          • #6
            43 folders!

            Originally posted by Focused View Post
            In the GTD book, the tickler file David Allen suggests had a tickler file for every day of the year. I found that too cumbersome, because if I needed to retrieve something, I had a hard time finding it. This modified "tickler" limits the places an item may be located.
            Not true. In the GTD book David Allen does not suggest a tickler file for every day of the year (366 folders).

            The GTD Tickler File consists of 43 folders:
            • 31 folders for the days of the month;
            • 12 folders for the months.

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            • #7
              I would use my action support file rather than create a separate file for it. I would enter it onto my list and add N/A Supp in brackets so that I know where to find the related paperwork. I often will get to items that I have added the same day as I also have short completion times for my work, but this works well for me. I much prefer to spend the time putting the item on my list (5-10 secs often) to ensure that it is captured safely. I never know when something urgent will come up and derail me for the day and I like to have everything safely placed on the lists so that I am not worrying about forgetting to do something.

              Sarah

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              • #8
                Action Support Folder

                Originally posted by stephanehrmann View Post
                One problem I have is when I process my inbox, I will encounter action support material which will trigger an action which will take about 5-10 minutes (more than 2). There is a high probability that I will do this action within the day (but not always)... once the action done I will throw away the material as I will never use it again.

                I it silly to open and lable a new folder in the reference material to store that document until the action is done...
                I enter the action into my lists in the appropriate context with a note that the support materials are in my action support folder. So I have a single folder that has that sort of one-off paper for various actions.

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                • #9
                  Thank

                  Thank you very much for all those answers! I must say I am amazed so many of you took the time to help me.
                  Reading all your answers and other post on the forum in the meantime I think my plan will be :

                  1. If it is an easy day... do 5 minutes actions as I would do 2 minutes actions. This somehow sticks to the principle of emergency and priority comes to you naturally don't make it complicated. If I have the time to do immediatly a 5 minutes action I will know this instinctively, do it and the problem is solved.
                  If I feel it is not the day I move to the next point.

                  2. Put the action support material in a "Today Action Support" folder.
                  3. Before I leave the office in the evening the today action support folder has to be empty. If not I move the support material in the general "Action support" folder if the action is not project related or in the project folder if it is project related. The action enters the usual system and is written on a list with context etc... This should not happen too often if the action was a TRUE must do today action.

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