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Processing action items that are time consuming??

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  • Processing action items that are time consuming??

    Hi,

    So i've read the book. Read blogs on the book, including this one and others...

    here is what i don't understand. often, in my pile that i make when i am trying to turn over a new leaf into a de-cluttered and organized world, i very frequently encounter items in the box that:

    Cannot be thrown away
    cannot be delegated
    doesn't merit its own file in my file cabinet to be stored while i defer it
    take longer than 2 minutes (or even 5 or 10) to complete

    So what do i do with it?
    I don't want to do it right then. Some of the things are too big to fit in a file cabinet (architectural drawings, etc) and others are only one sheet of paper and i hate the thought of wasting a whole folder on them. i could make a catch all place for them... but then i'm basically just keeping them in an inbox and not processing them, right?

    What do you do at that point???

    Looking forward to hearing thoughts and advice-

    Jeff

  • #2
    Originally posted by jeffmjack View Post
    What do you do at that point???
    If I'm deferring it to a specific day I put it in my tickler file folder if it will fit. Of it's too big to fit I put a note in my tickler file to "do the action X thing is in action location." and the item in my action stuff location. I have one spot for physical things that are too big to file that I need to do something with. (Granted mine are things like ram breeding harnesses or horns of rams or skulls but you get the idea )

    If it's something that is related to an item I must do as soon as I can within some specific context I first put a note on the appropriate context list about the next action and add a reference to either physical item location or action folder. Then I put the item either in a file folder marked action items or if it's physical it goes in the same area as my deferred things are because I rarely have lots of big physical things so I can afford to mix deferred and action now for big stuff.

    Does that help?

    Comment


    • #3
      Ram breeding harnesses, eh? interesting...
      And that does help- thanks! Do you have a single folder called 'action folder' that you were referring to, or do you put stuff in folders that are specific to the subject of the action, i.e. does the ram breeder license renewal form that you need to fill out go into a folder called "next actions" or a folder called "licenses and registration' ?
      Already I think i've got the basic takeaway from this though- putting something on a list counts as processing it, and whatever you do to the thing itself that needs further action is based on however you want to store stuff, yeah?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by jeffmjack View Post
        Already I think i've got the basic takeaway from this though- putting something on a list counts as processing it, and whatever you do to the thing itself that needs further action is based on however you want to store stuff, yeah?
        Yes. Or rather, more precisely, putting the immediately doable Next Action related to the item on the appropriate list counts as processing it.

        The caveat is necessary because, for instance, dragging an inbound email to an Action folder does not necessarily mean that you've actually processed the email.

        Katherine

        Comment


        • #5
          Next action and areas of focus trays

          My job involves going through huge amounts of paper so I keep several trays on my desk. One of them is labeled "next action support material" and itīs right below my in tray.

          To this next action tray goes anything that I process and defer and is...

          - to be done as soon as possible
          - is not date specific (those go to the tickler file)
          - is not important enough or doesnīt have several actions to become a project
          - is not clearly part of my main areas of focus that have their own trays for support material

          So I think itīs pretty much the same as Oogiem's approach. Due to the huge amount of paper I find trays the best way to organize things, I need to be able to get paper out of my hands withing seconds when Iīm interrupted and still know where I put it and when would be the right moment to get back to it.

          In fact this organizing part is the implementation step that Iīm currently struggling with the most. In order to find things I also write a little note on my next action list to remind myself where the heck did I put that paper. Iīm hoping that with time my system will get so automated as I learn my own recently created logic so that I donīt need write down the location. But I definitely will keep including a next action in my list, otherwise thereīs no way to scan rapidly and know whatīs the most critical tray to handle next.

          Another problem is that this "time consuming next action" tray seems to be the one that never moves forward... but thatīs a different issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jeffmjack View Post
            Do you have a single folder called 'action folder' that you were referring to, or do you put stuff in folders that are specific to the subject of the action
            If it's part of a big project that has it's own folder it goes there, otherwise I have a folder just labeled Action Support where I put the misc small stuff.

            My lists are in Omnifocus.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by jeffmjack View Post
              others are only one sheet of paper and i hate the thought of wasting a whole folder on them.
              I have many folders that contain only one sheet of paper (or less). Works just fine.

              Comment


              • #8
                I, too, have folders with only one piece of paper in them.

                I don't see how it's "waste" to do something that improves and organizes your life and work. What else are folders for?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  I don't see how it's "waste" to do something that improves and organizes your life and work. What else are folders for?
                  Hear, hear.

                  We have to give all parts of our life and work the respect they merit, even if some of them occupy only one piece of paper. If something is "too small" for its own folder, then maybe we should ask whether it belongs in our life at all. If we interrogate it and find that it belongs, then it deserves a folder.

                  Comment

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