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How do you handle requests from others

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  • How do you handle requests from others

    Hi all,

    How do you handle requests from other people (be it a favor from a friend, or a request to do something from a client)? To me some of these tasks do not have an explicit deadline, but one is implied (within the next few days?). Do you put them in your calendar, or do they go in your next actions lists? If they go on the NA lists, how do you keep them from getting buried in the myriad of things to do? Thanks for your comments on this.

    Juan.

  • #2
    Same way you handle any other Next Action. If it's time sensitive, put it in your tickler and/or calendar. If it's not, just put it on the appropriate context list. Depend on your Weekly Review to make sure it doesn't fall through the cracks. Prune your NA lists as needed to keep them from getting so huge that stuff gets lost.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kewms View Post
      If it's time sensitive, put it in your tickler and/or calendar. If it's not, just put it on the appropriate context list.
      Thanks Katherine. That's the thing. Like I said, some requests don't have a deadline, though it's implied. What would you do then? How do you define time sensitive? Hard deadline, or just soon (not as soon as you can get to it), or either of both?

      Juan.

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      • #4
        If you don't know how to tell whether an item is time sensitive, I can't help you and neither can GTD. That's really a case where you have to use your own judgment.

        I generally only put appointments and hard deadlines on my calendar. "Whenever you get to it" stuff goes on the Next Action list, maybe with a note indicating my desired time frame. Again, the Weekly Review is the time to catch stuff that's been waiting too long.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kewms View Post
          That's really a case where you have to use your own judgment.
          Don't get me wrong. That's what I figured: go with your gut feeling. Just wanted to hear other people's comments on this, that's all.

          Juan.

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          • #6
            The best way to know what you have to do by when really starts with the weekly review, where you will have made decisions on active versus deferred etc. I also do a quick scan of my active project list daily. The project is on there for me to see daily. Plus I look at my context lists several times a day. The next action for that project is always on there. Another method I use is to put the deadline date in the project name. Example: Get Susie's birthday present by 9-11. Since I won't worry about that until a week before, I put a note for that in my tickler about a week before. If you are still worried you won't remember something, then put various tickler notes at intervals in your calendar or wherever you put those tickler files. Example: don't forget to work on charity project.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by guard001 View Post
              Thanks Katherine. That's the thing. Like I said, some requests don't have a deadline, though it's implied. What would you do then?
              Juan.
              Add 1 item to my calls list.

              @call other person and ask them when the task is due


              Or, better still, don't leave the original conversation without getting clear on what the timeline is. A great habit to be in.

              David

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              • #8
                Originally posted by guard001 View Post
                some requests don't have a deadline, though it's implied. What would you do then?
                Ask what the deadline is, ideally before you leave that person or conversation. If you only discover this later the action is call or ask X what the deadline and expectations are for Y.

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                • #9
                  At work I've developed the habit of always asking for a required by date even if no hard and fast deadline is mentioned.

                  When someone says to me "No rush, whenever you can..." they may be assuming a couple of days, but I might not get time for a couple of weeks!

                  I also use the Start Date field in Outlook too, so I can track how long a project/next action has been hanging around for at review time.

                  If the task is as soon as possbile, I'll enter the date I got the request as the start date.

                  Otherwise I'd enter the actual (future) date I will start work on the task, say a week's time etc.

                  It's also handy to use the start day on @Waiting For... tasks too - very easy then to track how long you've been waiting for!

                  For personal stuff, I'd use a dated task or calendar appointment and try to get an idea of timescale from whoever made the request in the same way.

                  Cheers,

                  Andy.
                  Last edited by AndyD; 08-30-2009, 09:48 AM. Reason: Typo!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by guard001 View Post
                    Like I said, some requests don't have a deadline, though it's implied.
                    With GTD, I've also gotten less shy about asking people for a deadline

                    - Don

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by dschaffner View Post
                      With GTD, I've also gotten less shy about asking people for a deadline
                      Ditto.

                      Also, I'll sometimes create a deadline.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Brent View Post
                        Ditto.

                        Also, I'll sometimes create a deadline.
                        Thank you all for your ideas. What I've been doing is putting those tasks as NA's on my calendar, even though some may not have an explicit deadline. Since as I've mentioned sometimes the deadline might be implied, to me either way is time sensitive, so it should go in my calendar. Those NA's that HAVE to be done on a particular day or not at all get an "A" next to them (from the ABC method of prioritizing). The rest don't have anything next to them. That's how I differentiate between the explicit deadlines and the implicit ones.

                        I have several clients that can pull me in their respective directions all at once, so this is a way for me to tend to their requests w/o burying them in my NA lists. I'm sure it's not the best way to do it, so any other suggestions?

                        Juan.

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