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  • @Waiting For

    I have a ton of things in @Waiting For however some things are waiting on other Next Actions from me on Projects and some are waiting on contact from other people.

    How do you handle this?

  • #2
    Originally posted by AdamB
    I have a ton of things in @Waiting For however some things are waiting on other Next Actions from me on Projects and some are waiting on contact from other people.
    Generally speaking, I only use @Waiting For to record things that are waiting on other people, or on the availability of other external resources. ("@Waiting For order to arrive from Amazon.com", for example). I don't usually record @Waiting For actions for things that I myself need to do, and given the way I work, I don't think recording such actions would be of much benefit.

    However, if you do need to record both types of @Waiting For actions, perhaps you could preface those that are waiting on someone besides you with some prefix to separate them?

    -- Tammy

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    • #3
      I don't really HAVE to record my future next actions in the @Waiting folder, but I can think of no other way at the moment on how to order my NAs for projects. I have just downloaded the Outlook GTD Add-In and am loving it, but I can't find an easy way to put next actions in order.

      I suppose I could number them 1-10 or something like that, but with the work that I do, I would have to renumber the actions a bunch of times.

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      • #4
        All the steps??

        Does that mean you are putting all the next actions for a project in Outlook at the outset???

        My interpretation, and the way I work, is to put only the very next action in my list and to put the following actions in the notes section of the task. That way I have captured what I think I need to do.

        It has the added benefit that as your plans change you only need to update one task not several.

        Tom

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        • #5
          I think TC1965's post reflects GTD orthodoxy on this, but here's my alternative.

          My GTD system is based on a single plain text computer file, and very few of my projects need long lists of future actions anyway, so my solution is an additional list, "future actions", separate to "waiting for", on which I list actions which are dependent on the completion of NAs by me, not on actions by other people. Within the list, I sort them by project, and move them up to the NA list when they become NAs.

          An idea like this will probably only work if most of your projects follow an obvious path of progress (as mine do) or if you are happy to think spontaneously about next steps (as I usually am).

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          • #6
            My impression is that you're not so far off from Orthodoxy either, at least in some respects, Ludlow. It seems like you've kept all your future NAs together in one list, but if I remember correctly, part of the Natural Planning Model is brainstorming a whole bunch of actions/ideas/outcomes/etc. and then organizing them. From that point, you would decide upon what the next action would be, and that would go into a context list, but as for the remaining information, that would be kept with the project plan/support materials, for future reference. So that when you completed the next action for that project, you could review the project support materials, and then choose the next action for those. Its a way of seeing that, without being too rigid and always having to reorganize.

            Thus, while your grouping is a little different, I don't think its too far away from the norm, and probably a little easier to find NAs rather than having to pull out the support materials ALL the time.

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            • #7
              I've found that brainstorming too many Next Actions ahead of where I actually am in a project is counterproductive, because too often something will change in the project that will render my whole list of NAs irrelevant/obsolete.

              For example, I recently talked with one of my clients about a project that's in the early stages. On the basis of our conversation, he decided to change the focus and direction of the project (a ghost-written book). Had I spent time listing all the necessary NAs related to that project, I would have had to revisit each and every one of them when the direction changed.

              The rule of thumb I tend to use is "list, at most, one NA per context for each project, provided those NAs are not inter-dependent." If I can't do B until A is completed, I won't list B because the outcome of A might change B. On the other hand, if I need to write chapter n of a book and talk to the client about chapter n+1, those can both go on my lists.

              -- Tammy

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              • #8
                Originally posted by TC1965
                Does that mean you are putting all the next actions for a project in Outlook at the outset???

                My interpretation, and the way I work, is to put only the very next action in my list and to put the following actions in the notes section of the task. That way I have captured what I think I need to do.

                It has the added benefit that as your plans change you only need to update one task not several.

                Tom
                Does this mean that you only have 1 task in Outlook per project called Next Action and then all subsequent tasks in the notes section?

                What I was doing was brainstorming and thinking of all the NAs that I might have to do for a project and then creating a separate task for each of them and putting them all into @Waiting For. Since that was the problem to begin with, I have went away from that because of advice in the forum here.

                I like the idea of putting the future actions of projects in a @Future Actions category. I'll try that out and see how it goes.

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                • #9
                  If an action is not immediately doable, it is not a Next Action (by definition). GTD orthodoxy says that it is project planning/support material, and should be filed appropriately.

                  There are a couple of ways to handle such items. One is to include the future actions in a note to the current action. Another is to future-date the future actions, so that they are in your system but invisible. (Or put in tickler for paper systems.)

                  I would say that @Waiting For or @Future are not particularly good places for these items, since these lists mush all sorts of items from all sorts of contexts together. The whole idea is to be able to pull out the things you can do from the things you can't (yet).

                  FWIW, I don't use @Waiting For for items from other people, either. I use @Call, @Email, or whatever is appropriate to the action I'll take if it doesn't show up.

                  Katherine

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