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"Done" Items

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  • "Done" Items

    Hi folks -- I am one week into this and am wrestling with how best to set this up electronically (I am a Mac person, and do not want to get into entourage!!). How important (or necessary) is it to retain a record in your lists of the "done" items. I know that DA seems to be highly critical of phone logs. So would this same critique apply to archiving "done" lists.

    In other words, if an item is done, then the action should have been recorded in the project materials themselves (electronic or paper).

  • #2
    It can be useful to maintain lists of completed next actions, but you need to think about up front what will be helpful to maintain and what won't be worth the effort. As an attorney, I record a lot of my activities into a separate time-keeping/progress note system, so I don't need to separately archive many of my tasks. I certainly don't need an archived list of completed tasks like "return library book." But for completed tasks where it may be important to refer to them to see IF they were completed or WHEN they were completed, then it may be useful to keep track of them. Depending on their level of significance, I may cut and paste completed next actions into my project support materials (the note section of my project list) or I may simply archive the completed next action using the Palm software knowing that I can import the archive if I ever need it (I never have). Also, as part of my weekly review, I look back over the previous week's completed next actions to see if they generate any new thoughts for new next actions or projects. Once this is done, I delete them, archive them or copy them to the project support materials. I think this part of the review is important, so I would at least want to keep completed next actions around long enough to make them part of my weekly review. I still keep a telephone log for my voice mail messages, but for me it operates as an @calls list. I don't need to put it in my Palm because I return all the calls from my office and just keep it on my office computer as a Word document. I note the date and time the call was received and a short summary of the message. Then I note whether I returned the call and the date of the returned call. This has proven helpful to refer to on many occasions.


    • #3
      Re: "Done" Items

      Ask yourself: how important is it that I retain a record of completed next actions? If your next actions are fine-grained, it probably is unnecessary. On the other hand, you might want/need to keep a record of progress on some projects (usually larger, more complex projects). What would be helpful to you? Are there legal requirements or billing requirements? What kind of information on your activities do you need to provide to others? Personally, I think it is useful to distinguish project history (how we got here) from project status (the current reality). The latter is usually much more useful in achieving the desired outcome.