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TO Process Category or Folder?

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  • TO Process Category or Folder?

    One of the things I keep having trouble with is "large to-process items." e.g., complex meeting notes, a giant document, etc. I need to read these things, pull out action items, etc.

    These are NOT 2 minute items.

    However, when I throw them in my @Computer category, they just get lost.

    I've started putting them in a folder called "To Process." I'm not sure that's right.

    How do other people handle this?

  • #2
    large to-process items

    I don't yet know if it's working, but to handle this problem I do the following: I bought TaskLine ( and use it to schedule these things. Basically, you can enter an estimated amount of time for tasks and it'll lay them down across your free times (according to the Outlook calendar). I leave smaller tasks set to 0 estimated time (which Taskline will then ignore). This way the medium-sized items get scheduled inot my calendar to actually get them done.

    Like I said, though, I've only been doing this for a week and it hasn't really started to work (or fail) yet.


    • #3
      Make it a project, not an action in @computer


      this is a nice example of what I call the “what is it”-trap between the collecting step and the processing step. You can’t identify the single parts of these large items because you haven’t processed the item, and you can’t process the large item in one setting because of the complexity of the single parts.

      Twenty years ago I was taught to put these "large to-process items" in a folder called "To Process" and to schedule large blocks of time to work on them. Though this method is the standard procedure in German administration for large documents etc, it has caused a lot of trouble for me. There was almost never enough time to work through these items in a reasonable amount of time , and when I finally found the large block of time the whole process was too tiring. If those "large to-process items" were important laws, acts or regulations being important for my work , I used to attend a seminar for that topic before I even dared to look into that large document.

      Nowadays I create a project for such a large document.

      Phase 1: Usually I call the project “Define projects for document xyz” and the actions are something like “divide the large document into small sections”, “ask questions regarding to the text” and “create projects for these sections”.

      Phase 2: The resulting projects are like “Write memo regarding consequences of section #12 of document xyz” or “Go through decision making process regarding section #5 of document xyz”.

      Phase 3: These projects again result in new projects and actions.

      Fortunately I’ve learned to shout out loud “I can’t do this all alone” and to find a volunteer or not-so-volunteer to help me.



      • #4
        Hmm... The document ITSELF, which is part of a project, is a project. Well, you're right...