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Little lost on items I need to watch over.

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  • Little lost on items I need to watch over.

    I've been reading GTD and have a question about items that
    are at the moment not actions for me but could become
    one in the future (ongoing email discussions, my groups
    own actions I'm watching, stuff I basically need to keep an
    eye on, etc).

    So what to I do with these items?

    I'm trying to do my best to clear my email inbox to only unread
    emails so I have setup a folder called "@Pending" to store such
    items for email. Same on the paper side with a folder.

    The problem is that the email folder just starts to pile up with
    messages, 99 at this time. I get about 80-100 emails a day.
    I figure I need to set a time to clear out old stuff (an scheduled
    recurring action?) but that's been difficult so far.

    So is this really a Someday/Maybe file? I took that folder to
    be things would would be nice work on but can't right now.

    For a better picture I'm using Mozilla for email. My company does
    not allow Outlook for emails but I do use it for todos and the calendar.

    Just getting started here. I'm sure I have more questions but
    this one is the biggest one.

    Thanks in Advance,

    Mick

  • #2
    I guess in your situation I might use either a tickler file (David explains in detail how to set these up both in the book and on the CDs and elsewhere), or just recurring reminders in the calendar. Each "watch over" item might have a different range of "check-up" depending on the nature of the thing, but it could be as simple as printing out the e-mail and dropping it in a tickler file for 2 weeks from today, or just jotting a reminder "check w/so & so on Doppler project" on your calendar...

    HTH! CJS

    Comment


    • #3
      Lost on Items to Watch Over

      Originally posted by mick
      ...The problem is that the email folder just starts to pile up with
      messages, 99 at this time. I get about 80-100 emails a day.
      I figure I need to set a time to clear out old stuff (an scheduled
      recurring action?) but that's been difficult so far...

      Mick
      This isn't exactly GTD but one of the things I've done that's helped keep my email files down is set up a bunch of email folders named 0615Pending Delete, 0622Pending Delete, 0629Pending Delete, etc. When I have an email I don't currently need and it's pertinence is likely to diminish over time, or one I've dealt with and don't want to keep the email string around permanently I put it in one of these folders, typically for the week after next, since most things tend to become active (explode!) or go away by then. Then on Wednesdays, I have a card in my Tickler file to clear out that week's Pending Delete folder. Before I purge it, I scan through to make sure things have really resolved. If they're still hanging, I move them to a later folder, then "blow away" everything I can and rename the file to the next in the series (1 month out.) If I need the email before it's time comes I can always find it by doing a search. Otherwise this keeps things "out of my hair" and purging my Pending Delete files is one of those "easy wins" that feels great!

      Don't know if that helps at all, but just in case... Good luck!

      Janice

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks! I'll try that.

        I'll either do the weekly folders or in Mozilla mail I can set
        up a filter to look for an email older than "n" days in my @Pending folder.
        Set up a scheduled time to go through and clean up.

        Many thanks,

        Mick



        Originally posted by ADD GTDer
        This isn't exactly GTD but one of the things I've done that's helped keep my email files down is set up a bunch of email folders named 0615Pending Delete, 0622Pending Delete, 0629Pending Delete, etc. When I have an email I don't currently need and it's pertinence is likely to diminish over time, or one I've dealt with and don't want to keep the email string around permanently I put it in one of these folders, typically for the week after next, since most things tend to become active (explode!) or go away by then. Then on Wednesdays, I have a card in my Tickler file to clear out that week's Pending Delete folder. Before I purge it, I scan through to make sure things have really resolved. If they're still hanging, I move them to a later folder, then "blow away" everything I can and rename the file to the next in the series (1 month out.) If I need the email before it's time comes I can always find it by doing a search. Otherwise this keeps things "out of my hair" and purging my Pending Delete files is one of those "easy wins" that feels great!

        Don't know if that helps at all, but just in case... Good luck!

        Janice

        Comment


        • #5
          set up a bunch of email folders named 0615Pending Delete, 0622Pending Delete, 0629Pending Delete
          Janice,

          I think this is simply brilliant. It may not be pure GTD, but it is an elegant solution to an ongoing problem, and one I have already put into place. This helps with getting to zero base. Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mick
            I've been reading GTD and have a question about items that
            are at the moment not actions for me but could become
            one in the future (ongoing email discussions, my groups
            own actions I'm watching, stuff I basically need to keep an
            eye on, etc).
            I use filters to automatically sort emails into 'folders' (in Gmail there are no folders but labels, but they work similarly). For those hot topics that I want to watch I add stars which then can be easily accessed by the 'starred messages' option (again this is Gmail only).

            For most email clients I'm sure there is a function to 'mark' a message to be standing out against others. I'd use that for things I consider 'hot'. All regular subscriptions such as Garfield daily I'd have sorted in various folders - thus you could read them whenever you have time. All the important stuff will either accumulate in your inbox (e.g. things that haven't been assigned a certain priority/haven't been processed) or in the starred/marked messages bit.

            For your 'maybe' important items you could add a 'maybe' label in Gmail, or, select a type of 'review later' marking that you review, say, in a month. Of course, if you're more convinced that it'll be useful, I'd put it into something like 'reference'.

            Comment


            • #7
              set up a bunch of email folders named 0615Pending Delete, 0622Pending Delete, 0629Pending Delete
              Might also be a possibility to do searches with 'emails dated <xyz> and older'. Some clients I've tried allow you to do that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Though I like some of the solutions provided here, I think they may not be addressing the more underlying problem.

                I think it's important to eliminate distractions. Do you really want more things to check up on?

                Please help me to understand: Why don't you just file these e-mails into appropriate e-mail folders? If you don't need to take an action on them right now, but their information may be useful later, why couldn't you retrieve them from your filing system later?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Let's say I get an e-mail invite today to a seminar in September. I may want to attend it, but I don't know right now. I could file the e-mail and retrieve it later. But I could forget about it. It works better for me to get that reminder again. Maybe it is a seminar about RFID and we may or may not be pursuing an RFID project. I will know that in a few weeks, I don't know it now. By placing the e-mail in a folder that I will review down the road before deleting, I have another chance to make that decision.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TPorter2
                    By placing the e-mail in a folder that I will review down the road before deleting, I have another chance to make that decision.
                    That's what makes me think a tickler file would be a simple, elegant solution for you. With a folder for each day, as long as you get in the habit of checking that day's folder for items, anything you put in there is off your mind until you've decided you want to look at it again! Hey presto!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Yes, this is what a tickler file is for.

                      Alternatively, add a note to your calendar for (say) one week from today: "Register for September seminar?" That gets it away from you, out into the future where you can deal with it later. Remember, you want things to come to your attention only when you can best deal with them, rather than maintaining a large list of things, only some of which you can actually deal with at any given time.

                      At least, that's how I see it.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes, this is what a tickler file is for.
                        Allright, I am busted here. I don't have a tickler file. It seems like such a low tech solution. I can see that these e-mail folders are like a tickler file. But I would rather deal with e-mail in my e-mail client, instead of printing it out and putting it in a file on my desk. I see what you mean about scheduling a reminder to check back on the seminar. That makes sense. Maybe I should give a tickler file a try though...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TPorter2
                          But I would rather deal with e-mail in my e-mail client, instead of printing it out and putting it in a file on my desk. I see what you mean about scheduling a reminder to check back on the seminar. That makes sense. Maybe I should give a tickler file a try though...
                          Gee... I wonder if you could make "tickler file" folders in your e-mail?... I've never done that, but it might work? I'm NOT a tech person, so someone else would have to say whether it would work or not... So instead of having subject folders to archive e-mails, you could have folders numbered 1-31 (of course, it would have to be for each month... Jan1, Jan2, etc.) Might get cumbersome? I don't know.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CJSullivan
                            Gee... I wonder if you could make "tickler file" folders in your e-mail?... I've never done that, but it might work? I'm NOT a tech person, so someone else would have to say whether it would work or not... So instead of having subject folders to archive e-mails, you could have folders numbered 1-31 (of course, it would have to be for each month... Jan1, Jan2, etc.) Might get cumbersome? I don't know.
                            Why would you require to have jan1, jan2 etc. What is special about email over physical tickler file?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tickler File for email

                              I just use the Outlook red flag so that a notice pops up on the date/time I have set to review that message. It meets my needs.

                              Carolyn

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