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  • Action contingent on an object and unknown timing.

    I'm processing my inbox so starting this thread is a 2 min action. I think it's an interesting question none the less.

    The item is "Give friend USB stick back".

    The trouble is he is a friend who I do freelance work for. I do have an agenda list for him but we go through it regularly on the phone. We see each other every few months so I want to give him the stick next time I see him.

    Where do I place it? Agenda is clearly wrong. I don't want to be looking at that action when I'm on the phone. Tickler might be better but it's difficult to know when to tickle it for.

    It's a fairly trivial question but this kind of thing does crop up every no and then.

  • #2
    Waiting for

    I put such itmes on my waiting for list, "WF: apointment with xyz to give stick back"

    During the weekly review it then shows up and stays there, until that one week when I do have an apointment made with the person, then it becomes an action for the day before the actual meeting "put stick in briefcase".

    Works fine for me, but I can imagine that other solutions can exist and work fine just the same...

    greetings,
    Myriam

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by cfoley View Post
      I'm processing my inbox so starting this thread is a 2 min action. I think it's an interesting question none the less.

      The item is "Give friend USB stick back".

      The trouble is he is a friend who I do freelance work for. I do have an agenda list for him but we go through it regularly on the phone. We see each other every few months so I want to give him the stick next time I see him.

      Where do I place it? Agenda is clearly wrong. I don't want to be looking at that action when I'm on the phone. Tickler might be better but it's difficult to know when to tickle it for.

      It's a fairly trivial question but this kind of thing does crop up every no and then.
      Since you don't know when you will see him next I think that the path of least resistance is simply to mail it back to him. Otherwise I'd put "Return thumbdrive to xyz" on your Someday/Maybe list, review it regularly and when you know you'll see him next put a note in your tickler file or on your calendar.

      Comment


      • #4
        Elbogrande, you are right for sure and that's probably exactly what I'll do is this case but the general problem is more tricky. I also have a two-volume dictionary to give my gran. I don't really want to mail that!

        Myriam, I considered tickling it but that has obvious problems. Waiting for is a good shout. I suppose I could also put it on the agenda list and just ignore it if I'm on the phone. It seems like there are lots of ways to log this action in a GTD system but none of them are perfect. Maybe the folly is in striving for perfection when I could just log it somewhere (anywhere) and get on with cranking other widgets.

        Comment


        • #5
          funny you mention your gran

          Originally posted by cfoley View Post
          I also have a two-volume dictionary to give my gran. I don't really want to mail that!

          It seems like there are lots of ways to log this action in a GTD system but none of them are perfect. Maybe the folly is in striving for perfection when I could just log it somewhere (anywhere) and get on with cranking other widgets.
          I think that is indeed an important one... there are multiple ways to deal with such items. If you have something that works, use it, even if it's not perfect (yet), and as time goes by, you'll probably think of other (more convenient) ways.

          Funny you should mention getting something back to your granny. My gran visits us every week, and in fact I have a bag standing here that (if she would do GTD) she could consider as her inbox in my house. If we need something to get to her it goes in there, and when she arrives, she always looks to see what's in it. Could be a book, a magazine, a drawing made by the children, some clothing repair work, ... Works great, but only because she's around every week.

          I didn't even think of it, but now you mention your gran, this is in fact just another way of dealing with the type of item you questioned about.

          greetings,
          Myriam

          Comment


          • #6
            Unfortunately, my gran does not live close enough to visit every week. I must make a trip soon though!

            You make a good point that living with an imperfect method might itself suggest improvements over time.

            Comment


            • #7
              I second the Waiting For list

              That's exactly the situation - you are waiting for your next meeting with this person so you can give the item back.

              This could also go on Someday/Maybe if you don't foresee a meeting anytime soon.

              I use my Waiting For list for things like this all the time - I am waiting for a person, a meeting, a situation, a season, a new book, etc.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                Unfortunately, my gran does not live close enough to visit every week. I must make a trip soon though!
                For this, I'd have a "Going to see Gran" context, because it sounds like you consciously know, when leaving the house for that trip, that you're going to see her. Of course, then you might need to have a "check relevant Going to See... lists" item in your Travel checklist, to remember to check that list.

                For the USB-stick friend, though, it sounds like you would see him on smaller occasions that wouldn't have an associated checklist? If you see him in person, you could have a "Joe in person" context, but by then, it's presumably too late.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                  Unfortunately, my gran does not live close enough to visit every week. I must make a trip soon though!
                  Project: Return large dictionary to gran.
                  Next Action: Call Gran to arrange visit

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That's an interesting problem! Here are some ideas:

                    -- Carry the USB stick around in your pocket for months and hope to remember to give it to your friend next time you see him.

                    -- Make a date to see your friend. Then you can use your tickle file.

                    -- Think up a reason to see your friend -- for example, buy tickets to a concert and invite your friend to the concert. Maybe your friend's birthday is coming up soon or something. Take the opportunity to do something that's good for your relationship.

                    -- Put it on the agenda for your friend, but within parentheses so it's easy to ignore when you're on the phone. However, try not to get in the habit of automatically always ignoring it.

                    -- Try to predict where you'll be when you see your friend. Put it in a "special bag I bring when I'm going to restaurants" or something.

                    -- Try to predict when you'll see your friend, or make a decision that near a certain date you'll invite the friend to meet. Then you can use the tickle file.

                    -- Try to predict how far ahead of time you'll know you're planning to get together
                    with your friend. Then you know how often you need to be reminded about the stick,
                    and can use the tickle file and, for example, keep re-tickling it 10 days into the future.

                    -- Collect it together with other "things to return to people", possibly also using the same collection for gifts you buy for various people.

                    -- Make a set of checklists: "things to bring places". For example, it might say "swimming: bathing suit, towel, lock, leave wallet at home but bring entrance fee."
                    When you review your calendar, or before leaving home, you can review the
                    checklists for the activities for that day. The set can include a checklist for seeing
                    your friend. You might add one or two more items to make it easier to remember
                    to look at the checklist at all; perhaps cut out a cartoon or article you can give
                    to your friend, or write "Seeing Bob: agenda, pencil, USB stick."

                    -- (Use your memory for this one thing. Hmm, not really GTD, though.)

                    -- (Ask your friend to remind you. Not really GTD either.)

                    -- Maybe somebody will invent a device that will beep when your GPS position is close to your friends'. And then one that will predict, before you leave home, that that's going to happen that day ...

                    -- Maybe somebody will invent software so that when you enter your friends' name into a calendar entry, a reminder will pop up. Possibly you're already using software that could be configured to do this. When you see the reminder you can then put it into the tickle file or an alarm to go off that morning or something.

                    -- Turn the USB stick into a piece of art, sell it, and send the money to your friend electronically. (Just kidding.)

                    -- Start a GTD forum thread about it. This will raise the salience in your mind for that one item, so then you'll probably automatically remember.

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                    • #11
                      I like the last option. Wish I had thought of it. :P

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                        i like the last option. Wish i had thought of it.
                        lol!

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