Follow up actions > @Waiting for

Follow up actions > @Waiting for

(Tyler Weitzman) #1

Recently, I got sick of my @waiting for. That’s because it’s an extra step for me to keep creating them for every important email I send, it’s an extra step to review them regularly, and it’s an extra step to convert long outdated waiting for to follow up actions that I then need to take.

My new mindset is that there is no @waiting items - instead there are only the items that I care to schedule a follow up for. Proactive vs. reactive.

Most of the time the follow up actions for @waiting is @communicate, so in terms of practical workflow this breaks down to deferred actions in @communicate. When planning sequential projects, I take advantage of defer another on a task-specific basis. For example,

  • “Email X for Y” | defer another 3 days
  • “Forward Y to Z”

(Eddie Black) #2

I’m curious. I love the @waiting tag and have trained several soldiers to use it also.

But I’m also always looking to tighten up my game. Could you give an example of how you use it, and/or how the @waiting tag failed you?

I will use it like this;

[] email training NCO that I need PFC Jones to be on the list for rifle range ADVON @do
[] receive confirmation that PFC Jones is ADVON for rifle range detail @waiting due:Friday

The list is sequential. I don’t see the second task (which why I use OF instead of Things 3). When I complete the task, it triggers the @waiting task. Come Friday, if I’ve not received word from TNCO I might give him a ring on the phone.

I also teach my soldiers that when they correspond with people for something that it is a good idea to verbalize a follow up date. “thanks for your help in getting the ammo drop. Can I call you next Friday if I’ve not seen the drop yet?” This then becomes the due time for a waiting item.


(Eddie Black) #3

Guess I should’ve clarified that for me @waiting means I’m literally waiting on something from someone else.

(Rosemary Orchard) #4

I personally have @waiting on and @waiting for. I use the former for things I can chase, and the latter for things which will happen whenever they happen (e.g. the last item in my university module is to wait for the certificate to arrive, it’s going to happen - but I don’t know when and I can’t chase it!).

(Wilson Ng) #5

I’ve been experimenting with:

Followup - to pro-actively encourage/nudge/pester someone if it’s within my power. Followup usually involve people I can contact.

Waiting for - go in passive mode and wait for something to happen. This is usually out of my control. Waiting for a letter or package in the mail to arrive. I can’t start a particular project unless that Amazon order finally arrives and I can continue. Waiting for usually involves waiting for an event or situation to happen.

(Tyler Weitzman) #6

Sounds like everyone here has used @waiting similarly.

Eddie to clarify what I mean though, it’s clear from what you wrote that in this example you’re actually planning to call TNCO if you haven’t received confirmation. So why put a waiting for item rather than the action “Call TNCO if confirmation isn’t received.” Then, if you go through your calls list on Friday you will call him in that context. It’s already a clarified action.

For emails you can do even better - using the app rebump for gmail or gmass for example you can schedule the email to be bumped automatically if there’s no reply by Friday.

As for Wilson’s comment on an Amazon delivery, or rose on the certificate delivery, theoretically you CAN do something about the delivery. You can call them. You can email them. You can track the package. Those are the real actions you’re planning.

Essentially, I’ve come to realize that @waiting is really an un clarified inbox. Waiting for confirmation from TNCO is much less clear than “Call TNCO at this number.” I rather not have to review too many items but just be promoted to take clear actions.

(Wilson Ng) #7

Thanks but I have come to accept that some things are beyond my control. Waiting for my new passport is beyond my control as I wait for it in the mail. I have to wait until January before I get my W2 tax forms before I can start working on my 1040 taxes. I recently had to assist someone with getting a new social security card. Calling the social security administration isn’t going to speed up the process. It’s in the mail. No amount of calling will speed up government/departmental bureaucracies.

The waiting for contexts are just temporary pause buttons for me. When I do a weekly review on my waiting for list, I can determine whether or not I should take action. During the weekly review, I would have assigned an active tag (email, call) with a defer date for the next followup action.

The waiting for tag is a great way to gather up all waiting for items. I visit the waiting for perspective to catch up on anything if it may have fallen through the cracks. Otherwise, I’ll have to check all the other tags such as

  • Phone
  • Email
  • Messenger
  • Skype

…and whatever methods of contact I need to perform a followup.

(Eddie Black) #8

Thanks. I just don’t like adding complexity when I don’t have to. I could double tag something with a #waiting and #call, but maybe I don’t want to call. Maybe I’d rather email. Maybe I’m waiting for a response #due Friday but I didn’t get it and we have a meeting on Friday morning and I can raise the issue then. But this means that I would have to create an extra task immediately.

Serial Tasks
() receive word from TNCO about Range ammo #waiting #due Friday
()Contact TNCO about Range ammo

This adds an immediate level of complexity while creating. I have to think about how I’d respond to something that could be 1 week to 1 year away.

If the project is not a serial task list but parallel, I’ve got to create a group of tasks and serial them. OF is very lackluster in this. Another post (somewhere) talks about how this quickly clutters up his views. I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates to see 2-4 extra “tasks” in a perspective where it is not a single task.

Someone else wrote about a #waiting and #waiting-for tag where she can pursue waiting but need someone else to respond with waitingfor. I do both with the #waiting tag and simply use a due date. Then I’ll chase it down as needed.

So by using #waiting tags, and the same due date philosophy of GTD, it is the most useful tag for me.

Works for me. Use what works for you. I was curious how it did for you, but again, I prefer elegance. It’s why I’ve changed my contexts to what they are. Works great for me now after a million adaptations

Good luck!