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Waiting for in email o lists?

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  • Waiting for in email o lists?

    Every day I send a lot of email that need to be recorded as "waiting for".
    Quotes to clients, questions to collegues etc.
    I'm having difficuties managing them. Should I move them to a "waiting for" folder within the mailreader (quick operation), or should I record them manually in my lists system? (less quick, but in that way I have only one centralized place... with dozens of records, of course).

  • #2
    I prefer to keep everything in my lists, and not in my email. All my email folders are reference except inbox, which is, well, inbox. YMMV. By the way, writing it in a list is not slow unless you have a nasty complicated software or an unwieldy paper system.

    Regards,
    Abhay

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    • #3
      I use RTM. It's quick, but always less than a drag'n'drop of an email.

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      • #4
        I use action lists for that. Never couldn't get how it could be done in a paper based system quickly

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        • #5
          You mention that you have difficulties in managing the 'waiting for's. What are the difficulties? The solution will depend on these and your working style.

          Regards,
          Abhay

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          • #6
            The problem is that I have to look in too much place. In the email and in RTM.

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            • #7
              When I send email that will need a response I use the "Send and File" feature to place a copy into my "Waiting For" folder. While this is nice and quick, the down side is that I now have multiple "waiting for" locations (personal email, work email, organizing system).

              Maybe the question is how much resistence do you feel to manually copying it into another system, vs the resistence you feel maintaining multiple "waiting for" lists.

              I guess there's nothing inherently wrong with having multiple lists (as I do), you just treat it as one big list but it does require a context switch to review what you're waiting for.

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              • #8
                I recommend you track Waiting Fors outside of email. Just file the emails away, and record the Waiting Fors in RTM (or whatever system you use).

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                • #9
                  The situation varies from person-to-person but, frankly, in my opinion, I wouldn't want to add a "waiting for" reminder to my @Waiting For list for every e-mail that I write that requires a response. It's akin to adding a reminder for everything you want to read in your action lists instead of using a Read & Review "bucket". Someone who has a high e-mail volume is not going to want to manually record reminders like "Joe - 1/23 - Reply to e-mail re: staff proposal" on their lists. It would simply take to much time to record and perhaps recall later what some of these items mean. Sometimes the "bucket" is the best reminder. But, as you mentioned, multiple locations can pose potential issues if you forget to look at them regularly.

                  The key to feeling comfortable about having @Waiting For folders on multiple e-mail systems is including them in your weekly review. I don't look at my "waiting for" lists/buckets very often outside of my weekly review. If I have a "waiting for" item that requires a response before my review, I add a reminder to my calendar or my tickler file to trigger an action to follow up.

                  After over three years of doing one regularly, I still work off a checklist (a modified version of David Allen's). I added reminders to review my @Action and @Waiting For folders to that checklist. If I'm not in context to check them during my review (can't access home e-mail from work and vice-versa), I fire off an e-mail to the mailbox I can't access and it reminds me to do it later.

                  Best of luck.

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                  • #10
                    How I Use Waiting For In My Email

                    This is what I do. I have a Waiting For in my email. I think there are two types of waiting for emails:

                    1) You receive an email from someone, reply and are waiting for a reply, put the email you replied to in waiting for

                    2) You create a new email, and want to remember to hear back. CC: yourself a copy of the the email and upon receipt file it in waiting for

                    Review Waiting For at least daily.

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                    • #11
                      I also use a 2 pronged approach.

                      1) I bcc myself on items and file them in a waiting for which is actually @Delegation and Deliverables (in the "to me" sense). If this is something really crucial I might actually save another copy to the related topical folder. I review this folder somewhere between daily and every couple days to look for any updates, finished items, duplicates. This folder doesn't hold a huge amount of stuff at any one point so this works for me. Additionally I synchronize it with my mobile phone so I can review what's in there any time along with a few other core folders that serve as folders holding the most current emails for active work.

                      2) The 2nd part is my formal lists and reminders/ticklers. If I sent someone something, I'll frequently have a "check back" task or reminder if it's time sensitive or important at all. If a task/next action prompted my email then I'll move the task due date forward in time to reactivate. Just so it's clear for simpler projects I work within 1 task in Outlook. In my task notes I have a quick outline of ordered actions that I'll need to complete it (subject to revision) and any other notes on calls/items pending with date stamps. I manage it forward by retitling the task (new next actions) and changing the start/due date on it. The final formal due date is always in the notes or in brackets at the end of the subject or title i.e. "Check back with Lindsay on reconciliation for XXX Project [Due 11/5]" where 11/5 is the date the entire project is due and the task's start/due are the specific next action dates.

                      In some ways I wish we could all go back to the days before PIM and email as it's easier to completely customize a paper system but the leverage you get with synchronized devices (phone/laptop/desktop) and email delivery of conversation and files is hard to beat.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheDarkMist View Post
                        Should I move them to a "waiting for" folder within the mailreader (quick operation), or should I record them manually in my lists system? (less quick, but in that way I have only one centralized place... with dozens of records, of course).
                        I bcc myself, using the tag for omnifocus. When the item comes back it goes to the OF inbox automatically, and then I assign a project and context.

                        I was using cc, but then people when people blindly use "reply to all" I got stuff in my inbox that I didn't intend

                        - Don

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                        • #13
                          Hello

                          When reading the replies, it seems that there is not just one succesfull formula.

                          For me, it works best to have all my "Waiting for" on one list (I use RTM as a list manager), so when I do a review of this list, I have them all in one place.

                          However, I keep a copy of the e-mail for which I expect a reply in a @Waiting for folder, so when I notice in my weekly review I have not received a reply to my e-mail, I have all my open WF e-mails in one place and do not have to look into my reference archive. I find this way much quicker.

                          I have set up my Outlook to automatically move a copy into the @waiting for folder. I have set up a rule in Outlook when I ad WF to an e-mail (I do this in the bottom of an e-mail in a small font so the receiver cannot see it), it automaticaly moves a copy to mey €watiting for folder.

                          Hope this helps

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            This is exactly what I do...@Waiting For email folder and a list. I keep forgetting to add my wf to the emails so I end up moving them from sent to @WF. I like to keep track of the date I originally made the request and follow up attempts.

                            Originally posted by cldeblaere View Post
                            Hello

                            When reading the replies, it seems that there is not just one succesfull formula.

                            For me, it works best to have all my "Waiting for" on one list (I use RTM as a list manager), so when I do a review of this list, I have them all in one place.

                            However, I keep a copy of the e-mail for which I expect a reply in a @Waiting for folder, so when I notice in my weekly review I have not received a reply to my e-mail, I have all my open WF e-mails in one place and do not have to look into my reference archive. I find this way much quicker.

                            I have set up my Outlook to automatically move a copy into the @waiting for folder. I have set up a rule in Outlook when I ad WF to an e-mail (I do this in the bottom of an e-mail in a small font so the receiver cannot see it), it automaticaly moves a copy to mey €watiting for folder.

                            Hope this helps

                            Comment

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