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  • Calendar Entry vs Next Action Item

    I've recently been exposed to and am implementing GTD (after being a Franklin Covey addict since the age of 12...you don't need to know how old I am now!)

    (My system is 85% electronic and I'm using Lotus Notes, mNotes & a Palm Treo.)

    After years of having prioritized daily task lists, I really love the concept of having the next actions list and differentiating between those things that must be done a particular day vs. "as soon as possible".

    The one aspect that I have yet to master is what to do with "action items" with a due date. For example, I leave a meeting on a Tuesday with an action item that is due the following week on Friday. Knowing that I have a busy week this week, I don't even want to think about the task until next Monday so that I have the whole week to get it done. Ideally, I'd like this action to appear on my next actions on Monday with the information that it's due on Friday...

    If I put this item on my calendar for Monday, I give myself the impression that it's "due" on Monday AND, if I don't get to it on Monday, by Tuesday it's "off my radar screen". On the other hand, if I put it on my Next Actions list, I keep seeing it and having to remind myself that I don't want to even deal with it until next week.

    How do others (preferably those working paper-free systems) deal with this type of action item??

  • #2
    Originally posted by tnofziger View Post
    If I put this item on my calendar for Monday, I give myself the impression that it's "due" on Monday AND, if I don't get to it on Monday, by Tuesday it's "off my radar screen". On the other hand, if I put it on my Next Actions list, I keep seeing it and having to remind myself that I don't want to even deal with it until next week.

    How do others (preferably those working paper-free systems) deal with this type of action item??
    Put a reminder in your tickler file for Monday, with the information that it's due Friday in the body of the reminder. That's one of the great strengths of the tickler file: it's ideal for exactly this type of situation.

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    • #3
      How to "tickle" action items.

      Originally posted by tnofziger View Post
      I've recently been exposed to and am implementing GTD (after being a Franklin Covey addict since the age of 12...you don't need to know how old I am now!)

      (My system is 85% electronic and I'm using Lotus Notes, mNotes & a Palm Treo.)

      After years of having prioritized daily task lists, I really love the concept of having the next actions list and differentiating between those things that must be done a particular day vs. "as soon as possible".

      The one aspect that I have yet to master is what to do with "action items" with a due date. For example, I leave a meeting on a Tuesday with an action item that is due the following week on Friday. Knowing that I have a busy week this week, I don't even want to think about the task until next Monday so that I have the whole week to get it done. Ideally, I'd like this action to appear on my next actions on Monday with the information that it's due on Friday...

      If I put this item on my calendar for Monday, I give myself the impression that it's "due" on Monday AND, if I don't get to it on Monday, by Tuesday it's "off my radar screen". On the other hand, if I put it on my Next Actions list, I keep seeing it and having to remind myself that I don't want to even deal with it until next week.

      How do others (preferably those working paper-free systems) deal with this type of action item??
      Sounds to me like you need an electronic tickler system that posts new items to your various action lists on or before the due date. If you are a Google Calendar user just create a new calendar called Ticklers. Create events to remind you of your future action items and choose to receive notification e-mail and/or SMS reminders. "Hide" your Ticker calendar by de-selecting it from the calendar list in the left nav bar of Gcal. By doing this you won't see the event until it show up as an e-mail or/and an SMS reminder.

      Alternatively if you don't use Gcal, I suggest you subscribe to a great inexpensive webapp called MyTickler.com. This app allows you to set up future e-mail reminders to yourself, to be received on any day and at any time. Note that you can also use MyTicker.com to schedule future e-mail reminders to others as well.

      Personally I use my Gmail account to capture all action items and parse them out to my various action lists using labels and filters. If you use Outlook you can do the same thing with Outlook Rules and additional Personal Folders.

      Hope you find this helpful.

      Jeff Ruday

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      • #4
        I use Outlook. I have a dated 'task' in my Outlook tasks. But somehow I don't notice the dates, so I put an all-day appointment on the day of the deadline and set the reminder for the Monday.

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        • #5
          Anybody Use Notes?

          Thanks for the suggestions all.

          To "unstuffed", are you referring to an electronic tickler file? I travel too much to rely on a paper tickler.

          I might have to check out some of the online options that have been suggested...is there anyone out there that has successfully resolved this issue using the features of Lotus Notes? I'd love to keep my system all integrated into one tool (or two because I also use MS One Note for meeting notes).

          Thanks!
          Tara

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tnofziger View Post
            is there anyone out there that has successfully resolved this issue using the features of Lotus Notes?
            It should be rather easy to do using Notes 6 or later. Set up a Reminder on your calendar for the proper day, and use the Alarm configuration that sends an email message as part of the alarm (as well as the popup box). Have it send the email to yourself.

            That way, when you go to process your inbox one last time at the end of the day, you will see the alarm reminder email, and you can decide to either bite the bullet and do it before you go home, or renegotiate with whoever you have the commitment.

            Personally, I leave self-reminders on the NA list. What I take off the NA list are actions where I can set up a quick meeting in Notes with another person when the NA is to discuss options, and move it forward. I make sure those meetings are set for only 15 minutes in duration.

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            • #7
              If you're not interested in introducing new tools to your system, try this...

              For next Monday, put either a dated task or an all-day event on your calendar... "Start Project XYZ due on Friday"

              Maybe you won't have time to work on it Monday, so the way to "start" the project is to put the next action on your list. Mark the "Start Project XYZ" item complete, and carry on with the rest of your day.

              I do this sometimes, and it works pretty well for me. Basically, it's the same as a tickler, but without the paper. When I first started doing this, I even labeled the item "Tickler: start project XYZ", then I realized that the extra word (Tickler) wasn't really helping me.
              Last edited by jknecht; 06-06-2007, 10:43 AM.

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