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  • waiting-for housekeeping

    Hi

    I am using the WhitePaper-recommended approach to 'waiting-fors' -- create a task that includes the contact and the date, then assign it a category of @waitingFor. I can look at my @waitingFor list first thing every morning, follow up on what needs it, ignore what doesn't -- very very nice.

    If you delegate a little project, and if you want to follow it up, that single @waitingFor starts to have a lot of entries and history, and the title keeps changing to reflect the last time you made contact.

    Often, communication re: that @waitingFor is by email. Where should I keep it? It doesn't take long to realize that storing a series of emails in the bigger project directory, of which the little project is a part, is not wonderfully efficient.

    Thanks,
    Rob

  • #2
    I suggest you take one or both of the following approaches to managing your e-mail.

    1. Create two folders in your e-mail system: @Action and @Waiting For. Move e-mail messages for which you are awaiting a response from your Inbox to your @Waiting For folder. Move e-mails that will require > 2 minutes to handle into your @Action folder. As you move e-mails to these folders make sure that you've also captured any projects associated with them on your Projects list, and make sure you're not just throwing e-mails into @Action without making the appropriate decisions as you process them. You must also make sure that you include these folders in your weekly reviews and in the process of selecting what to do at any given moment.


    2. Create two folders in your e-mail system: Action Support and Waiting For Support. Move e-mail messages for which you are awaiting a response from your Inbox to your Waiting For Support folder and add an appropriate entry on your @Waiting For context list. Move e-mails that will require > 2 minutes to handle into your Action Support folder and add a next action to the appropriate context list. Make sure you include these folders in the weekly review and file or delete e-mails that no longer belong in these folders.

    I use a hybrid of these systems myself, and it's proven effective for me. I use option 1 when I send an e-mail that requires a single response that will likely close the loop. I use option 2 for things like online purchases where I might get more than one e-mail from the seller (purchase confirmation, shipping confirmation, order updates, etc). In that case it's simpler for me to track the actual purchase on my @Waiting For list and put all of the related e-mails in Waiting For Support.

    These practices are referenced in David's document on setting up Outlook to implement GTD.

    Best of luck.

    Comment


    • #3
      Does the tool you're using support adding additional notes?

      I find I have too many things in "waiting" at a time to leave the follow up details in email. What's worked for me is copying and pasting email-based responses into the additional details of the delegated task, When that isn't practical, I at least put in an index note or link as to how to look up the support materials so I don't have to hunt for it. Or if by phone, I add notes about what happened in the call.

      In the best cases, I can get the other party to enter those notes directly to my task detail, but depending on the type of communication and the relationship, that doesn't always happen.

      If you want some screenshots of what that looks like, let me know and I can grab some.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post

        If you delegate a little project, and if you want to follow it up, that single @waitingFor starts to have a lot of entries and history, and the title keeps changing to reflect the last time you made contact.

        Often, communication re: that @waitingFor is by email. Where should I keep it? It doesn't take long to realize that storing a series of emails in the bigger project directory, of which the little project is a part, is not wonderfully efficient.
        Rightly or wrongly I use my @waiting for list in Outlook as the pivot point for everything. If I have chased something or someone by phone or email then I simply update the appropriate task with the most recent date and action I took. I don't try and keep the email I sent with the waiting for as I've already captured all that matters - the when and what. What I do however do is transfer the last date and action to the notes area of the task to create a little chronology of events. I can therefore at a glance see that I emailed Fred on this date, called on that date, emailed again on the other date etc.

        Keep it simple I say!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks -- I am using the same source. I jumped to what was most important to me, and skimmed the rest. I'll go back over it.

          Comment


          • #6
            waiting for vs adgenda

            I find it really important to double enter waiting fors, that is put same item in adgenda and w/f with a symbol to indicate it is in both. Or, put them on same list if the list isn't too long.

            I know it is not efficient but this is what happens.

            I meet with, call or write to someome and go through my adgenda items. If I am w/f for something from them, and don't have the item tagged to their name in @djenda, I have no cue to remind me to follow up. So, they think I don't care. Or, I have re-contact them when I review w/f.

            Also, it may pop into my head, while I am talking to someone, that I might ask them to do something. I don't want to ask them, if I have already done so and forgot that I was waiting for them to get back to me or whatever.

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