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Simple Processing Question

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  • Simple Processing Question

    Here I am, sitting at my office, with an uncomfortable number of items in my inbox. I also have about 30 minutes to spare, so it makes sense to process these items now.

    (Side note: I have a blue plastic "thing" that I'm using as a portable in-box. As I leave home, I grab EVERYTHING in "In" and throw it in my blue plastic thing just in case I have time to process while at the office.)

    I pick up the first item and I just need to add something to my calendar then throw the item away.

    Second item, just have to add something to my next action list.

    This is going well...

    Next item is something I want to keep in my reference files. Which are at home. Hmmm...I'll just put this in the back of the "In" box (Red flag!!!)

    Next item is another simple action item to do at my computer--which is really busy right now and I can't do it yet. I need the piece of paper to complete the action...where does this paper go? I can't put it in my reference files--they are at home. I don't want to put it back in "In". It isn't a project, so I don't really need to put it in a project folder. I just need to "hold" it a bit.

    I feel like my system is missing some place holders. I'd rather not have multiple "blue things" that I carry back and forth--that would get a bit bulky.

    Suggestions for processes or supplies to fill this in?

    Thanks!

    --Karen

  • #2
    This is what I do

    I have two more plastic folders, "action support" and "back to home".
    In the action support folder I put all the paperwork I will be needing on the road or at the client site (I have my office at home). This is where I would put the stuff you would need later on when you are ready to use the computer. The other file, "back to home" or whatever you might call it, I use for stuff that I need to bring back. I would probably put a post-it on the document if I'm likely to forget what I decided during the review, for instance "file under such and such".

    Yes, it's a little more to carry but not much. And I definitly think it's worth it.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by K2Karen
      Next item is another simple action item to do at my computer--which is really busy right now and I can't do it yet. I need the piece of paper to complete the action...where does this paper go? I can't put it in my reference files--they are at home. I don't want to put it back in "In". It isn't a project, so I don't really need to put it in a project folder. I just need to "hold" it a bit.

      I feel like my system is missing some place holders. I'd rather not have multiple "blue things" that I carry back and forth--that would get a bit bulky.

      Suggestions for processes or supplies to fill this in?

      Thanks!

      --Karen
      In the book GTD, David makes a number of reference to "pending" folders. You could put the paper in a pending folder using one of the extra slots of your inbox or in a hanging folder on your desk.

      Also remember that you will be most effective if you are willing to create a new folder for a single sheet of paper. So you might create a new folder and add the NA to your list or to your calendar.

      Another alternative, if you use a tickler file, is to put it in the tickler for tomorrow. You can't get to it today so you put it in your tomorrow inbox, which is what your tickler file is.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by K2Karen
        Next item is something I want to keep in my reference files. Which are at home. Hmmm...I'll just put this in the back of the "In" box (Red flag!!!)
        I think processing this item could be deciding that the NA is @home. So, I'd process it into the @home category (and indeed, I'd use a folder/box/.. to bring it back home - only, I'd process the whole Inbox until it's empty before putting stuff back in - that way, the Inbox becomes a box that has contextual categories like @home, @computer etc.); you could say that after processing everything from the Inbox and thus getting In to empty the Inbox is rededicated to be something else (although, if you feel bad about this for some reason, maybe having a second (differently coloured?) box to put/process stuff into for different contexts might be a good idea.

        Comment


        • #5
          I travel every few months, and like to work in coffee shops as a change of scenery, so I have this problem often.

          For things that belong in a file that you don't have with you: write the ultimate destination on a sticky note. Stick the sticky note to the item. Put in a "pending" file (In my case, a box file labeled "pending") until you are reunited with your main file system.

          For things needed to accomplish an action that you can't do right now: write the action and its context on a sticky note. Stick the sticky note to the item. Put in a "pending" file until the context is available. Add the action to your NA list as well, just in case.

          Go through the "pending" file at least once a week (at your weekly review, say) to make sure that it hasn't become a dumping ground for "stuff."

          Katherine

          Comment


          • #6
            Are things going back and forth unprocessed?

            (Side note: I have a blue plastic "thing" that I'm using as a portable in-box. As I leave home, I grab EVERYTHING in "In" and throw it in my blue plastic thing just in case I have time to process while at the office.)
            That "thing" sounds like a good 'to/from' basket; however, I'm wondering if you ever put something in there in the morning AT home, and then at work realize it needs to go BACK home.

            While I'm on the road (last month 22 nights) I keep a "To Office" folder in my briefcase. It stays there, doesn't come out until I get home (Eg. I don't "process" that file while I'm traveling...I can't DO anything in there until I get home.)

            My "Inbasket" (another plastic folder) is completely different. That's where I put that day's stuff (mind sweep, reciepts, business cards, notes/requests from seminar participants, etc) for processing at the next hotel or on the next plane trip.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by K2Karen
              Next item is another simple action item to do at my computer--which is really busy right now and I can't do it yet. I need the piece of paper to complete the action...where does this paper go? I can't put it in my reference files--they are at home. I don't want to put it back in "In". It isn't a project, so I don't really need to put it in a project folder. I just need to "hold" it a bit.
              Karen, I don't have my computer on my desk where I have my gtd files, inbox, etc. so I have a folder labelled "@Computer" and put items in it to process at my computer later. It works well for me and gives me more flexibility (by not having to have my computer on my desk, it's a very small desk!).

              Comment

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