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  • What to do with papers until you can get to them?

    In processing my in-box at my desk, I came across health forms that needed to be filled out for my children's school. Knowing that it would take longer than 2 minutes, I added the task to my @Desk context list. But now.....what do I do with the actual forms??

  • #2
    Put them in a Pending Action folder. Like this: https://secure.davidco.com/store/cat...RS-p-16211.php

    Attachment
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      file em

      I would put them in my general reference drawer under "health papers" or whatever.

      Putting things in the drawer that youre going to get out again the next day or so seemed odd to me at first. I did try having a second "next action support" file in my desk drawer (which has a small dropdown) - but in the end, why bother? the reminder is in your system, keep everything else in once place.

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      • #4
        close folders

        Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
        Put them in a Pending Action folder.
        Leaving aside those attractive coloured manillas, i tried doing this but ended up with a problem. Since tasks going on my action lists arent immediately urgent as such, and may take up to a few weeks to do in some cases, I found that I just had a thick pile of papers with the supporting stuff from maybe a dozen or more projects in there. eventually I just had a mass pile of papers to rifle through to find the stuff to complete the action. Am i missing something here?

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        • #5
          Reference is for....

          Actually, filing actionable items in a reference file isn't a best practice. I use the action support folder for those things that do not belong to a specific project, but instead are related to single item actions. If a paper or papers belong to a project, I put them in a project support file related to that specific project. I think if I found it too be overstuffed, I might see that as a cue to get some of those actions done, off my lists and out of my file.

          The pictured files that Kelly showed are very nice. I go through them each week during my weekly review to make sure they aren't stale. I buy blank ones and use and reuse them for my project folders as well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by bishblaize View Post
            I found that I just had a thick pile of papers with the supporting stuff from maybe a dozen or more projects in there. eventually I just had a mass pile of papers to rifle through to find the stuff to complete the action. Am i missing something here?
            Do them more often. I had a large file of papers in Action Support but have it down to about 1/4 inch at most. if it gets larger I know I need to look at what's in there more closely during review. Often it means some project is on hold or been cancelled and I no longer need the stuff.

            Now my problem is action support that is much larger than papers. I have action support thins, large items. Those I still have no good place to store nor a good system to handle.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Barb View Post
              filing actionable items in a reference file isn't a best practice.
              I dont really see a problem, not obviously anyway. My filing is tidy, fairly empty and close, so its no harder to put it in the cabinet on my left than on my right. Some projects take months to complete, so I would have to keep some of them in there anyway. My experience was just that when it came to needing the papers, i had one nice and tidy place, and one that was just a stack. So i keep them all in the tidy place.

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              • #8
                Papers in waiting

                This may sound silly to some GTD'ers, but I treat that type of situation like a Project. It sounds like it is one anyway--will filling out those forms be the end of it, or do they need to be delivered or mailed? If that one task will not be your final outcome, this is a Project. Therefore, those forms would go in a Project Support folder that is labeled (all of which should take less than 60 seconds).

                I had struggled with including such outcomes on my Projects list, but my system's quality has improved by doing so.

                In the same way David Allen will make a Reference folder for a single business card, I will write a single load of laundry on my Projects List if I am not there to do it start to finish (folded clothes put away).

                I think the colored folders idea, above, would work well for someone who consistently did it, but I have opted not to. I prefer to have one place to look for support documents.

                Hope this helps
                JohnV474

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                • #9
                  What To Do With Papers....

                  Hey Kelly,

                  I was surprised when I saw the different colored folders that GTD offers. I like colored folders, but I stopped buying them after I read GTD. Doesn't David Allen discourage use of different colored folders in GTD?

                  Please clarify.

                  Thanks.

                  Robert

                  P.S. What is the difference between "Action Support" and "Waiting For Support" as they appear on the folders in the picture that you provided?
                  Last edited by prouddad; 06-01-2010, 01:18 PM. Reason: Added P.S. and edited my letter

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                  • #10
                    Doesn't David Allen discourage use of different colored folders in the GTD book?
                    For structuring your entire filing system, generally yes, as most people won't keep up with it. For project folders and pending folders, color away....

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                    • #11
                      Follow Up Folders Question...

                      Thanks for your rapid response, Kelly.

                      What is the difference between "Action Support" and "Waiting For Support" as they appear on the folders in the picture that you provided?

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                      • #12
                        What is the difference between "Action Support" and "Waiting For Support" as they appear on the folders in the picture that you provided?
                        Hi Robert--

                        Action Support holds support information you would need to complete a Next Action. For example, I need to do an expense report for an event I just completed. My receipts are sitting in the Action Support folder and my @Computer list says "Complete expense report for Ojai event."

                        Waiting For Support holds information you would need to complete a Waiting For (something that is dependent on someone or something else.) For example, I am waiting for some prints to be completed by a frame store. The order sheet they gave me is sitting in my Waiting For Support folder.

                        You could, technically, put all of it in just the Action Support folder, but it's nice to keep these separate. One thing people often ask about too is why the Action support folder is not separated out by context, like your Action lists. You could do that, but generally it's not needed. One folder usually suffices.

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                        • #13
                          My method is exactly the same as the folders shown except I don't use folders. I have a binder/planner that has dividers and in between the dividers are sheet protectors.

                          I have dividers labeled...

                          Calendar
                          Next Actions (Single)
                          Projects
                          Business 1 Orders
                          Business 2 Orders
                          Someday/Maybe

                          After each divider there are 5-10 empty sheet protectors ready for quick inserting. All calendar items with supports go under that divider, all Projects go in a sheet protector under the Projects divider, and all single next actions (non-project) and Waiting For items go in the Next Actions (Single) sheet protectors.

                          This binder is just for holding support materials. I use a PDA for organizing my life. Any entry in the Calendar or Next Action on my PDA that has physical support materials has a "(f)" in front of the entry. That way I know there is hard copy in the binder.

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                          • #14
                            Too much support?

                            I too am worried about my action support folder becomming a mass of papers. What if I keep some support that I don't actually end up using when I complete the action? I will end up with a file full of meaningless paper. I have an action support folder, but I generally lean toward creating a project folder. At least it is a good excuse to use the label maker

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                            • #15
                              Grenouille,

                              You shouldn't accumulate a mass of papers in your support materials if.....

                              1. You indicate on your Next Action list that there is support material stored. Then when you cross off or delete the NA, you will know to remove your support material. I put an "(f)" in front of my NA entry so I know the supports are there.

                              OR

                              2. You do a thorough Weekly Review.

                              With either method, your supports should be kept at bay effectively.

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