Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Best Practice for @Waiting lists

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Best Practice for @Waiting lists

    My @waiting list tends to get quite long - with both clients that I have quoted and also support issues that I have delegated and other contacts that I need info/data from. My list can grow to 100-150 items at a time and sometimes span several days to several months (for a quote which has 6-8 weeks validity for example).

    I am interested in how others manage their @waiting list - to see if there is a best practice. Do people sub-divide their list in any way.

    Thx

    Paul

  • #2
    I don't know if this qualifies as a "best practice," but I have had to break up my @waiting by person, i.e. "@WaitingWendy, @WaitingScott," or sometimes company or committee when I'm dealing with a number of folks from one group on the same project(s).

    Comment


    • #3
      This is an interesting point - breaking down the @waiting by person or major grouping. My @watinng list gets a little long at times and sub-dividing it in this manner seems like a simple but elegant method of breaking it down into manageable parts. Sometimes the line between @waiting and @agenda for a particular individual gets blurred, so this might solve some problems for me. Thanks for the idea.

      Comment


      • #4
        I often subdivide my @waitingfor list by the individual from whom I am waiting for something. I suppose you could subdivide yours by topic (e.g., bids outstanding, items delegated, information needed, etc.). For some (unknown to me) psychological reason, it seems easier to review several shorter lists than one big, long list. Even during my weekly review, I tend to review my lists by context instead of all next actions in one list.

        Comment


        • #5
          I used to break down my agenda by person. Now, I have a single agenda list and start each action with the name and a colon. Typically, actions meander between phone, agenda, waiting, pc before finally completing.

          I use pocket informant to filter by first letter. Does anyone have a clean way of doing this in Outlook? (other than setting up 26 filtered views) At the moment I just sort alphabetically.

          Thanks,

          FBA

          Comment


          • #6
            Paul - I also deal with a lot of long term projects, so I created a list called @projects/others in which I put longer term, more complex projects that others are working on or deciding about that I don't need to check as often as my @waiting for. I check @wf daily and use it more for things day-to-day matters that I need to pay closer attention to in order to keep a project moving along. If I know I won't be hearing back from someone for quite awhile and I don't need to track it in the interim period, sometimes I'll create a tickler to follow up if I haven't heard back.

            It seems like an @outstanding quotes might make sense for you if you have many of them...especially if you only follow up on them periodically or in one fell swoop (i.e., you plan to allocate Wednesday morning to follow up on quotes that are close to experiation)..that way they are all in your line of vision when you need them. I have one category like that that I only use certain times of the year when I work on annual project that generates 30 or so of a specific type of "waiting for". I do all my follow up in one sitting and this allows me to find that info quickly, but not be bothered with it at other times.

            As an FYI, I also use @projects/others for projects that others are doing that I just need to stay aware of but that I'm not necessarily "waiting for" - mainly for stuff my staff is working on. It helps for making sure no one person is being overloaded and helps me to just remember who has which ball.

            Having said this....I think fewer categories are generally better

            Comment


            • #7
              I use Excel for my Next Action and Projects lists.

              I have columns for task name, context, project, etc. I also have a column to indicate which type of list each item is part of - the values in this column are 'a' for Action items (next actions), 'p' for Project items (i.e. tasks that belong to a project and are not yet NAs), and 'w' for Waiting items. So when I finish an NA, I filter by the project of that task and see if there's a new NA waiting. To change the task from a project item to an NA, I just change that column from 'p' to 'a'.

              Excel's List Wizard is very handy for slicing and dicing my list. I can filter by one or more columns, sort by whichever column suits, etc. It makes it easy to review everything one project at a time, or cut the list down to just my NAs, or concentrate on a single Context.

              I also have a Date column. This is handy when I have NAs that need to be done by a certain date - it keeps the deadline in front of me, in my NA list. I also use this column to add dates to Waiting items. When I'm doing a review, I can sort by this column and see what things I'm waiting on and expect to come in this week. I can also ignore things that I'm not expecting for some time yet. Overdue items become obvious, and I create an NA to find out why I'm still waiting on that item.

              Comment


              • #8
                Tickling WFs?

                My @waitingfor list is always my longest because of the nature of my job (I manage a lot of volunteers). When I go over my list, I find that some of the items are pretty stale and feel like I should have noticed that before. I use the format "name - action - date" so that the list in Outlook automatically sorts by the person's name.

                Does anyone have suggestions about tickling waiting fors or something of that nature to help me pay better attention to them? I try to keep the philosophy that the project isn't finished just because the ball's not in my court, but I'm also trying to avoid becoming the world's biggest nag.

                Thanks!
                Amanda

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tickling WFs?

                  Originally posted by ameasha
                  Does anyone have suggestions about tickling waiting fors or something of that nature to help me pay better attention to them? I try to keep the philosophy that the project isn't finished just because the ball's not in my court, but I'm also trying to avoid becoming the world's biggest nag.

                  Thanks!
                  Amanda
                  In the Palm task list, I tickle @waitingfor items using the due date function. When the dates comes up, then I decide whether I want to bug the person or just tickle it forward again. That way nothing gets overlooked for too long.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My @WaitingFor list always starts with the name of the person or the team and the subject I'm waiting for. (example -- Jim: data on last month's service report)

                    I use Outlook and sort alphabetically. I also store a copy of the email I sent in the Outlook @WaitingFor task. This way if I need to send a follow-up reminder, I have the email ready to go...just reply-all and enter my follow-up request.

                    Throughout the typical day I'm adding and checking off items, but use my weekly review to send a follow-up message to the person if there has not been a response in a week.

                    I have a couple team members who sometimes need a couple of reminders when things get really busy - when this is the case, I will put "FOLLOW-UP:" at the start of the email (2/3 of my team are not local or even awake when I am, so email is our default communication). On the second reminder I'll put "FOLLOW-UP [2]:" and the subject of the email.

                    I typically don't need to get to "FOLLOW-UP [3]".

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I break my @Waiting for lists down based on time frames: 1-3 months, 6-12, 1-3 years, etc. This has made them a bit more manageable.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        1-3 years WaitingFors.

                        Originally posted by Bridgecrosser
                        I break my @Waiting for lists down based on time frames: 1-3 months, 6-12, 1-3 years, etc. This has made them a bit more manageable.
                        Do you really have WaitingFors with the 1-3 years time-frame? I think too many things may change during such a long time.
                        TesTeq

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 1-3 years WaitingFors.

                          Originally posted by TesTeq
                          Originally posted by Bridgecrosser
                          I break my @Waiting for lists down based on time frames: 1-3 months, 6-12, 1-3 years, etc. This has made them a bit more manageable.
                          Do you really have WaitingFors with the 1-3 years time-frame? I think too many things may change during such a long time.
                          I beg for an example because I can't imagine waiting-fors (in a maintained GTD-context) spanning such a long time.

                          Yours
                          Alexander

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It seems like you can slice this data by person/organization, or by time.

                            I'd borrow a concept from Sciral Consistency and put "touch base" dates on all of my waiting fors, possibly filing them in one of my 43 folders. Maybe not all of them, but the ones that I know are far away. This way you can gaurantee that no item will be ignored for too long.

                            The things you keep on your @waiting list are things you actually need to review daily. Taking this one step further, you should divide your @waiting lists into @waiting, @waiting-weekly and @waiting monthly. This will take the somewhat distant items out of your immediate list, and force you to review things that are farther in the future from time to time. When the time comes to pull it off the @waiting-month list and put it on the @waiting, you can do that and it won't be cluttering your @waiting list before it actually has to.

                            Your @waiting list is uncluttered, and you're still tracking things that you're waiting for months from now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 1-3 years WaitingFors.

                              Originally posted by hth
                              I beg for an example because I can't imagine waiting-fors (in a maintained GTD-context) spanning such a long time.
                              I don't know what example the original poster had in mind, but response times from book publishers can often exceed one year.

                              Katherine

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X