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  • How to handle email that I've already got a task for...

    One of the things that happens is I'll get an email that I can respond to when I have completed a task that I've already created. Perhaps it's a second person asking me about something that somebody else already asked about. When I got the original email I Action'd it so I'd do the work and then could reply to the mail. When the second one comes in I don't really want to create another task, but I also don't want to forget to reply to it.

    How people handle this?

  • #2
    In my approach, what I do is create another NA for the original project, for example Fwrd Information about _____ to Joe. Ref Email received on 6/21/04

    In this way, I do not need to create another project, because is part of that project, but I do not forget to write it down, that is one of the most important things to me.

    The actual email goes to Waiting for and the subfolder with the same name of the project.

    I try to create the same name in the Manilla folder, the folder in the ocmputer and the memo in the palm, this let me find all the reference quick, if I do not remember, in the palm I can search quick, then I do not lose information.

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    • #3
      If the task is part of a larger project, I'll just note that as a possible next action in the project (I use Shadow on my PDA).

      If it's just a next action by itself (not part of a project), I'll either create a @Waiting For task, which most likely means it will get taken care of during my weekly review, or I'll just modify the original task (i.e. "Draft info about X and send to Joe and Sam").

      If both of these are large enough actions, I might consider creating a project at that point. At first, I resisted doing this, but I've found that when I really allow myself to think of a project as anything with multiple steps, no matter how small or trivial those steps are, the system flows much more smoothly.

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      • #4
        I use FollowUp context folder

        I have several top level email folders that I use and review daily (usually multiple times).

        .FollowUp -- I need to complete something non-email before I can reply. These items are also put in my appropriate context list.
        .WaitingForReply -- waiting for a response. Only put in my context lists of it is project-related.
        @WaitingFor -- I have sent an email and am waiting for a physical thing to be sent, faxed, dropped off, etc.
        ReplyNeeded -- Don't usually use this unless my inbox is too overloaded for the 2 minute rule, so I do a Process first, with a 5-10 second rule. I used to leave them in the inbox, but it defeated the purpose of processing to empty and left me looking at a pile of emails that needed a second round of processing. Not exactly an energy booster!

        So the example you gave would go in FollowUp, because I would need to complete something before I could respond to all the related emails.

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        • #5
          Sounds complicated to me. Why not just identify the next action, list it somewhere, then file the email from the main inbox into a "reference" email folder?

          That way, you won't have to maintain the system by worrying where to file the message, then later on, where to find it. Also, you won't have to scan an @Action email folder to check if there are actionable items, thus eliminating another thing to check.

          Just my $0.02. YMMV.

          Arcticgoblin

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