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  • Now what? - what to do with the deferred action stuff

    I have gathered everything into 1 place and am about to embark on the processing exercise but I am at a total loss ~ when I decide the next action and then defer it, I understand that I can put it on my calendar for, lets say, next Tuesday, but where does the "stuff" go in the meantime? I am an accountant so I get boxes and bags of "goodies" from clients to be processed. Is this a project? Should I have boxes to put this stuff into while I wait for them to bring me more stuff or until I have time to do the work? I have a tickler file so that is fine for single papers etc but I have no idea what to do. Am I missing something? In reading the book, it seems that David refers to other baskets. I can't imagine just tossing it all into another basket. I use PaperTiger for filing so I have decided that all filing will be done immediately by me or put in a filing folder for my assistant if there is a lot of it to do but not sure how to handle the bulky stuff.

    Susan

  • #2
    DA would consider these project support materials, where the project is something like "Prepare John Doe's taxes." File them in a project folder if they fit. If they don't, label the box and put it in a designated closet or other storage area until you need it.

    Some accountants make backup copies of materials clients give them and/or log materials as they come in. I'm not an accountant, but in your place, I would hand that task off to my assistant and have her put the box in the designated closet when she's done. So the routing would be:

    * Box arrives at your inbox.
    * Project added to project list, next action identified and added to NA list, appointment added to calendar (optional).
    * Box to assistant for logging, etc. If you need it before she's done, it's her responsibility to find it for you.
    * Box to project materials closet, where it sits until needed.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mladensk
      when I decide the next action and then defer it, I understand that I can put it on my calendar for, lets say, next Tuesday, but where does the "stuff" go in the meantime?
      Perhaps you were just giving an example, but remember that next actions' default place is not usually on the calendar but on the next actions list. In your example, unless the action has to be done on Tuesday, it belongs on the next action list where it can be done as soon as you have time and are in the right context.

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      • #4
        thanks for clarifying

        I went back and re-read that chapter again (for about the 50th time!) and yes, now I understand that unless it HAS to be done on a certain day, it doesn't go on the actual calendar. Just wondering if anyone is using ACT! and if so, how do you set up a Next Action list in there (ie. a todo without a date). Or do you just set up the todo with the next review date and a category of next action and then review the next actions And I am still confused about where to put the stuff until I do it. To me it sounds like I am really setting up another "in" box if I just put it all in a pending file.

        Also, what about things that don't have to be done ON a specific day but rather BY a specific day. Again, let's use taxes as an example. In Canada personal taxes are due by April 30th. Client brings in there stuff (this is a project, I assume), the next action is to enter data into tax program. Where do I record this next action? On my calendar? In an action list?

        Susan
        Last edited by mladensk; 08-06-2006, 09:30 AM. Reason: adding another question

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        • #5
          Calendar/Tickler is appropriate for this...

          Originally posted by mladensk
          Also, what about things that don't have to be done ON a specific day but rather BY a specific day. Again, let's use taxes as an example. In Canada personal taxes are due by April 30th. Client brings in there stuff (this is a project, I assume), the next action is to enter data into tax program. Where do I record this next action? On my calendar? In an action list?
          If entering the tax data is the next action, and that needs to be done by a certain date, and if you know how long it ought to take, then it's a good idea to drop something in your tickler or on your calendar that says that it should have been started, just in case.

          If you are reviewing your context lists, though, you will probably realize that it needs to be started if time is running out, especially if your list says something like "Enter tax data for so and so for 8/14 deadline."

          I think that the key here is finding the right place and format for the reminders. I mean, if putting a duck egg under the sink will remind you to enter that tax data, then that's the right thing to do. A next action can be terse or detailed, but as long as it reminds you to take the appropriate action and is in a place where you will review it then you are likely to succeed.

          I use a paper tickler file like David described in his book. For things like this I'll put in a slip of paper that says "You should have started..." or "This is due on..." a few days before the due date so I know to go back and work on the "real" action item, which I may be avoiding or simply unable to get to - but now I have a heads up that it needs special attention. My tickler gets emptied on my desk every morning, and its contents are hard to ignore. Even if I never glance at my calendar, these things keep me honest.

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