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  • Do after the holiday.

    Today in my @Email list:
    Ask Bob for historical progress data.

    Now is not the best time to do this action. It would have been fine last week when I put it on my list but now it's close enough to Christmas for Bob to ignore it. After Christmas he will probably forget it. It seems best to postpone my email.

    It seems a bit extreme to move it to Someday Maybe but it wastes a little time and energy every time I scan my action list. Action lists should only contain actions I can do right now, after all. Tickler is another option.

    Of course, this is just an example. Other examples could be waiting till someone is back from holiday, don't bother people until after the audit, etc. It's also not limited to just one task or even one context. There are lots of things I want to forget about until after Christmas.

    I feel that if I just leave things where they are, I'm not trusting my system. If I move it to Someday/Maybe I'm not trusting myself and if I move it to Tickler, that could be a slippery slope to scheduling my tasks via the tickler. How do you handle situations like this and is there a "proper" GTD way of handling them?

  • #2
    The way I see it, this is a crystal clear tickler item, both in my own personal opinion and in my own favored interpretation of GTD.

    You would be entering the non-GTD slippery slope of quasi-scheduling only if it would be perfectly OK for you to send that email even now, but you decided for reasons of "priority" to deliberately hide this item in the tickler just in order to be able to more easily focus on more important or urgent stuff first.

    Unfortunately, DA also keeps the door open for putting this kind of stuff in Someday, which is something I personally never do. If I am sure that I will do the task, then I will typically put it in Next, or, if there is an initial holdup of some kind, I will put it either in the tickler or as a subsequent project action ("project support"), depending on what the holdup is.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cfoley View Post
      How do you handle situations like this and is there a "proper" GTD way of handling them?
      Personally I think the individual is the only judge of what is "proper" when it comes to GTD.

      That said, as a salesperson I face this sort of thing all the time. I have clients who tell me to call them no earlier than a certain date to resume the conversation. I've created a tickler "context" in my lists, and each item begins with the date I want to add that item to one of my "next actions" lists.

      I used to use my calendar and that works too. I would simply prepend each tickler entry with the word "Tickler." So I'd know this wasn't a "due by" item.

      Either can work as long as you make it clear to yourself that the item is just a reminder to add something to your next actions lists.

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      • #4
        Let me ask a question, though -- is it a quick email request you could fire off in two minutes or less? If so why not just send it now and track it as a "waiting for"? I've found that if people begin to realize you're on top of things, they'll learn to stay on top of what they owe you.

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        • #5
          Delayed Email

          You could also prepare the email and set it as a delayed email - assuming your system allows this (Outlook does and it stays in your Outbox until it is sent). I sometimes use a delayed email for reminders to myself - especially when I know I will be very busy and need it to pop up in front of me. If that doesn't work for you, I would add this to my calendar since even if busy times I look at my calendar.

          Maureen

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          • #6
            Thanks for the replies everyone. It looks like I need to reconsider using the tickler for this.

            Originally posted by bcmyers2112 View Post
            Let me ask a question, though -- is it a quick email request you could fire off in two minutes or less? If so why not just send it now and track it as a "waiting for"? I've found that if people begin to realize you're on top of things, they'll learn to stay on top of what they owe you.
            It would maybe take fifteen minutes. I like your strategy but I seldom interact with this person and have not build up any rapport yet.

            Originally posted by mommoe436 View Post
            You could also prepare the email and set it as a delayed email - assuming your system allows this (Outlook does and it stays in your Outbox until it is sent). I sometimes use a delayed email for reminders to myself - especially when I know I will be very busy and need it to pop up in front of me. If that doesn't work for you, I would add this to my calendar since even if busy times I look at my calendar.

            Maureen
            I don't think gmail has that feature but I could always save it in drafts or as a note attached to the action.

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            • #7
              Waiting-For

              I put these on my WaitingFor list. I'm waiting until after Christmas. Since I know I'll look at my WaitingFor list, when I get back to work in January, I will see it, recognize that the condition I was waiting for has arrived and either do it or move it to my Next Action list.

              If I have a specific day I want to see it again, tickler would also be a good option.

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              • #8
                Tickler for me

                In my case it's a clear tickler item, Something I cannot do until after Christmas, so I'd set a start date on it of say 1-2 days afterwards, whatever makes sense and then I'll see it again when I can do something about it.

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                • #9
                  Unbelievable!

                  Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                  Now is not the best time to do this action. It would have been fine last week when I put it on my list but now it's close enough to Christmas for Bob to ignore it. After Christmas he will probably forget it. It seems best to postpone my email.
                  Bob's behavior seems to be very unprofessional. He will ignore my e-mail? Forget it? Unbelievable!

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                  • #10
                    Hmm. In OmniFocus, I would handle this by setting a Start Date for the task, even if it's a type of task that doesn't usually have a Start Date. That would make it vanish until that date.

                    To me, that's a tickler, so that's probably what I'd call this. If I had a bunch of them, I might create a post-holiday tickler list, so that the list of several actions is support material, and my GTD system contains only the one "deal with post-holiday tickler list" action. Of course, that means that after the holiday you'll probably be re-inserting all of these actions into your system.

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                    • #11
                      Temporary Context @AfterHolidays or @12/26

                      Originally posted by cfoley View Post
                      There are lots of things I want to forget about until after Christmas.
                      If I have several things I do not want to be distracted by until after a certain date (e.g. after Christmas or New Year), I create a context for them @12/26 if I know I need to take care of them on the 26th or @1/2 if I can't deal with them until after the 1st.
                      I eliminate that context once it's no longer needed.

                      Works better for me then Someday or tickler file. If I were better with a tickler file, I would consider putting the list in the tickler file for that date.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Folke View Post
                        The way I see it, this is a crystal clear tickler item ...
                        I agree. Well, maybe not completely crystal clear, but tickle. My rule for the tickle file, based on David Allen's rule for the calendar, is: put things there if they really are better done at a later date than now, and not just because you don't have time to do them now. The slippery slope would be if you start putting in things kindof because you don't have time now. The problem with that is that the tickle file becomes loaded with things you won't want to see (because you probably still won't have time when you pull them out) and that you'll have to keep moving again to an even later date: time-consuming and demoralizing. But if there's a good reason to delay it, the tickle file is just fine.

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                        • #13
                          That said, I also sometimes divide a lot of actions into things that have to be done before the vacation and things that can be left until afterwards. I don't think David Allen is completely against this sort of division even though it may go against some of the GTD principles. Perhaps it fits in with GTD decisions about which projects are active this week.

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                          • #14
                            Tickler variations

                            Besides my physical tickler file, I keep 2 other forms of ticklers that are real time-savers for me. One is on my email: I have folders for items to be reminded for on particular dates, generally emails I want to act on. I don't need more than @Monday, @Tuesday etc., since I clear these out frequently. The other is a set of calendar files on my laptop, with a hierarchical organization by weeks, and days within the weeks. I put any kind of file I want in each day's files, and that is great for having those at hand for action support on that date. It keeps from cluttering my OmniFocus system with these items.

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