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    In my freelance job I often need to wait for responses from various people. Tipical is the case when I send an offer to a client, and I have to wait for a response. It's a critical question, as you can understand, and I usually sign it in my "waiting for" list. But now this list is becoming too long. I have dozens of this stuffs waiting for and this list is too time consuming to manage. How do you manage this? Do you use separate waiting for lists? (for pending offers, for delegated activities etc)?
    Regards.

  • #2
    Just the one (sorted) list

    I just have one list, but as each Waiting For begins with the person's name, it sorts (and therefore groups) the waiting fors so when I'm on the phone about one to a client, I'm reminded about the others.

    I don't have lots of these outstanding sales decisions at any one point (as I have a relatively small client base), but this has worked for me.

    Besides, if I had them in different places, I'd probably forget where I'd put them, and keep checking in many many places...

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    • #3
      I rarely use Waiting For. Instead, I tickle whatever the followup action is: 2/21 @Call Fred re: letter of agreement. Talked 2/8.

      Katherine

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      • #4
        I would chunk it down and have a subcategory based on the level of urgency and importance....is there any way to mitigate the numbers? or delegate some of those list to someone else to chase up for you?

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        • #5
          Why does the length of the list bother you? Are you reviewing it weekly? Or, perhaps, are you reviewing it more often than you should and it's causing you overload?

          Like my Someday/Maybe list, the length of my @Waiting For list has no impact on my psyche whatsoever. I only see it during my weekly review. When I review this list, I do one of three things: check it off as done, let it slide for another week, or define a next action to follow up, light a fire, or check status on that item.

          If I delegate something on a Monday and it needs to be finished by Wednesday (it dies or causes me some penalty if not done by EOD Wednesday) I also add a reminder to either my tickler file or my calendar to trigger a reminder to follow up or check status first thing Wednesday morning. That way nothing slips through the cracks.

          I format each item on my list in the following manner:

          Name/Initials - Date of Handoff (YYMMDD) - Project/Action Description

          Examples:
          Harold - 090210 - Finalize client presentation
          Smith, J - 090209 - Draft proposal re: flexible hours
          Last edited by ellobogrande; 02-10-2009, 11:29 AM. Reason: grammar

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          • #6
            Waiting for Lists

            Originally posted by TheDarkMist View Post
            In my freelance job I often need to wait for responses from various people. Tipical is the case when I send an offer to a client, and I have to wait for a response. It's a critical question, as you can understand, and I usually sign it in my "waiting for" list. But now this list is becoming too long. I have dozens of this stuffs waiting for and this list is too time consuming to manage. How do you manage this? Do you use separate waiting for lists? (for pending offers, for delegated activities etc)?
            Regards.
            I have a generic waiting for lists with sub lists for some individuals I deal with regularly (boss, direct reports, etc.). On a generic waiting for I have a date and the persons name. When waiting for someone with a sub list. I create a listing in that context with a date.

            I use Omnifocus on the Mac.

            Randy

            Comment


            • #7
              What I do

              Hi,

              I use todomatrix on my blackberry and my desktop email client - I use both to manage my waiting fors...as follows

              Blackberry:
              Basically a next action such as 'call paul to ask about instruments' will have a 'not started' status tag on todomatrix. When I've called paul and he's agreed to check on something for me and feedback, I change the status to 'waiting for', move the due date on to a suitable date and leave context as 'call'.

              I review my waiting for list daily, but since I have a filter which only shows me those items that are close to the promised delivery date, I don't get bogged down. Of course sometimes I turn the filter off to see the enormity of what's waiting then I can start picking people off 'early'.

              Desktop Email Client:
              Any delegations or requests I send out on email I BCC myself a copy and put it in a 'waiting for' folder. I check this folder daily to see who I need to chase.

              The desktop client method isn't as good as the BB one as there's no date/priority sorting, but I can't be bothered to enter every email I'm waiting on into the BB and injecting tasks from email on todomatrix just doesn't seem to work for me.

              ps - I used to use an excel spreadsheet. It worked really well except it wasn't portable so wasn't always with me when I bumped into someone or was near a certain office - I couldn't just check if there was anyone I could tag while I was near.

              cheers
              Sievert

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              • #8
                Mine is longer than my @next action list

                I don't worry about the length. I just try to follow up with everyone once a week (I actually just started doing this because something on my list fell through the cracks at the beginning of the year and I don't want that to happen again).

                My list is sorted by person too. ellobogrande, I'm going to start included the hand off date. I find that I look at my list and can't remember when I asked for the information. I also just started adding follow up dates so that if I ever got called on something, I'd be able to say that I followed up and have documentation.

                I wouldn't worry about the length so much. It's one of the most useful lists I have. I think the key is to follow up so that eventually you can cross people off the list.

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                • #9
                  Quick tip: If you have to get information back from someone in less than a week, schedule a reminder (tickler or electronic) for, say, 4 days from now to contact them.

                  Too many of these and you'll feel overwhelmed by the number of reminders hounding you for attention. But for the occasional, urgent Waiting For, it makes sense.

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