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Seeing an action item I cannot do...

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  • Seeing an action item I cannot do...

    Just a quick question about categorizing action items… What if you followed up something on your agenda list and were told to call back in a few days? Do you cross out the action (since you already called) and put it on waiting list? Or do you keep the action on your agenda list (since you’re calling again in a few days)? My point is, how long should the “waiting” be before you should transfer it to waiting list? Would it be okay to use agenda list to remind you of an action that, strictly speaking, isn’t ASAP? I prefer keeping it on agenda list, since it’s tedious to keep on crossing off and rewriting on a paper system, but I find it kind of annoying to keep on seeing action items on an ASAP list that I cannot do.

  • #2
    Cross 'em off!

    To avoid overload, I've found it's critical that your next actions consist only of those things that you could do IMMEDIATELY given the appropriate context, time available, energy level, etc. If you need to call someone in a few days, you could:

    1. Drop a note in your tickler file a few days hence,
    2. Write a note on your calendar a few days hence, saying "add 'Call Theresa about X' to NA list", or
    3. If the timeframe is more than a few days, drop a note in Someday/Maybe.

    It doesn't sound like this is a Waiting For item, since you're the one who has to initiate the contact. Waiting Fors are just that: the other person should be taking action.

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    • #3
      calendar

      How about putting it on your calendar a few days forward.

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      • #4
        I keep my phone and email followup list in my planner (a two-page-per-week format). When I make a call, I cross off the current entry and write a new followup entry in the appropriate future week. The new entry usually does change slightly, since I update it with the results of the previous call. So I'll have entries like "Call LK re: S Company Project. Left msg. 11/1."

        I've tried several different approaches to this problem, both paper and electronic. This one works best for me.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Cross 'em off! Yeah that's what I wanted to hear... thanks!

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          • #6
            Katherine, just thought about it, does this mean you don't use any kind of waiting list?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GTDer88
              Katherine, just thought about it, does this mean you don't use any kind of waiting list?
              Correct.

              @Waiting For never made sense to me. If whatever I'm waiting for happens, then it becomes an Inbox item. If it doesn't, then there is a Next Action (call someone, implement a backup plan, whatever). So why do Waiting items need their own list?

              Some specific projects might have lists of components that are coming from other people. For instance, a book project might have a list of images and associated permissions releases. But I treat the list (a spreadsheet in this case) as part of project support, and handle the actions related to specific items like any other actions in my system.

              Katherine

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              • #8
                For me Waiting For list has some sence. It keeps for example some action items that belong to others and that are not very urgent (actually can wait till the next Weekly Review). If I call Bill Gates to find out if he paid my sales commission and he says he would do I put it into @Waiting For not to @Call because it means I can call Bill Gates again in a few seconds. Of course I can put it to tickler in a week but that's too difficult for me

                Regards,

                Eugene.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by kewms
                  Correct.

                  @Waiting For never made sense to me. If whatever I'm waiting for happens, then it becomes an Inbox item. If it doesn't, then there is a Next Action (call someone, implement a backup plan, whatever). So why do Waiting items need their own list?

                  Katherine
                  That’s interesting, Katherine. Nothing absolutely depends on someone else. You’re always at the driver seat.

                  I’ve always felt slightly squirmy when putting items on the waiting list, because every time I look at the list, I need to decide the next action for it, as opposed to other lists where I just look and do. This list feels a little bit different.

                  It also feels dragging to be looking at my waiting list everyday and find out nothing could be done just yet.

                  Just a slight quibble, if all that supposedly should go to waiting list goes to your tickler calendar, then how do you preserve the absolutely date sensitive characteristic of calendar items? Plus how do you decide on what date you’ll put the follow up entry, especially those that aren’t actually date sensitive?

                  I have a portion in my calendar called “This week”. I use it for week sensitive tasks as opposed to date sensitive ones. Maybe I could put those less date sensitive follow up entries there. But I’m still quite unclear how this won’t break the hard edges of my calendar commitments…

                  I wonder how DA will respond to this, but I’ll give it a whirl and see what happens.


                  Originally posted by kewms

                  Some specific projects might have lists of components that are coming from other people. For instance, a book project might have a list of images and associated permissions releases. But I treat the list (a spreadsheet in this case) as part of project support, and handle the actions related to specific items like any other actions in my system.

                  Katherine
                  Hmm... this seems like a waiting list to me, only better since it is associated to the project itself. Do you immediately decide the next actions for all items on this list?
                  Last edited by samilator; 11-13-2006, 07:26 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by samilator
                    Just a slight quibble, if all that supposedly should go to waiting list goes to your tickler calendar, then how do you preserve the absolutely date sensitive characteristic of calendar items? Plus how do you decide on what date you’ll put the follow up entry, especially those that aren’t actually date sensitive?
                    I use a 2-page-per-week looseleaf planner format. I stick a notes page in between the two pages of the week, and put followup items on it. Thus, they are assigned to the week, but not to a specific day. This approach is functionally equivalent to dropping a note in my tickler file, but saves re-writing, reduces the risk of lost reminder slips, and so forth.

                    Hmm... this seems like a waiting list to me, only better since it is associated to the project itself. Do you immediately decide the next actions for all items on this list?
                    In the example of collecting images for a book project, each item has exactly the same actions/mini-projects:
                    * Identify the image I want to use and enter it in the list. (Typically I add one or two at a time, as I write the relevant section of text.)
                    * Identify the rights owner.
                    * Send the rights owner a permissions request and a release form. (Both are standard forms supplied by my publisher.)
                    * Followup as needed until they respond or I give up and find an alternative image.

                    So the project support materials contain the image list, with the current status of each item. My NA lists and/or tickler contain the exact next actions for each image.

                    Katherine

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