Best way to handle "Waiting For..."
What are some of your practices for handling "Waiting For..." items?
For example, say that your @NA is to "Call John Smith re: Revenue Report". You call John, and he says "I'll run the report and send it to you tomorrow".
Ok, so your @Next Action is done and ready to be "checked off"; you called John. But there still is something that needs to happen for you to get this report - you are "Waiting For..." the report from John. Do you:
1. Add a "Waiting For..." item on your @NA list or where ever you store WF reminders...
2. Leave the "Call John Smith re: Revenue Report" on your @NA list, unchecked, and add WF to the beginning (eg. "WF - Call John Smith re: Revenue Report"...
3. If it's a project, put a note in the project that says "WF - Revenue Report from John Smith"...
4. Some other way of leaving a reminder that there something still needs to be done re: Revenue Report...
In my mind, "Waiting For..." items are not "Next Actions" for me, so I don't clutter my NA list with items that fit this category. I have a Notes category set up called "Waiting For.." I like to keep my radar clean of things that are not for me to do when I'm in the "heat of battle", but I still want to be reminded that something is "in progress".
I'm basically looking for a way to make sure that "WF - Revenue Report" shows up on my radar, especially when it can't wait for my Weekly Review.
I've been going back and forth between the above regardig "Items that need to be done, but you are "Waiting For" someone else to do them".
As always, your thoughts are greatly appreciated!
Power of the weekly review
I can't help but think, here, about the power and importance of that weekly review. It's true that some people do their "waiting for" reviews more often than that; however, I've found that in the Weekly Review I wear another hat. (Has anyone else found that?)
The hat I wear on Fridays between 1-2:30 is: CEO, Jason Inc.
Each list I review, from the Projects, to the Calls, to the Waiting For, I'm doing the same thing for EVERY item.
I imagine it done; yes, I actually visualize successful completion on each task, and each project. It serves to get me ready for hitting the runway later that day or the next week.
I make sure it's still active, that I'm still agreeing to do it, and that there is sufficient "motivation" to move. (By the way, if I have to motivate myself to do something, chances are I'm not motivated to begin with...that's my clue to re-negotiate that item; can I delegate it? "someday/maybe" it? delete it all together?)
During the Waiting For review, I ask: Am I ok still waiting? If any part of my internal radar sounds or flashes, that's my clue to move that item on to ANOTHER action list. (@calls, @computer, @agendas)
Happy Friday! Enjoy YOUR weekly review...
Finding project X when boss asks
I've had this same problem, embarrassing, huh! What I finally learned to do is title each task with the name of each client (I'm a lawyer, there are lots). Each client also usually has several projects at once. So, if Mr. Jones' revocable trust is one project, and call sally is the next action on that project, the title of the next action looks something like: "JONES: revocable trust - call Sally re status." (There might also be "JONES: irs litigation - write brief" etc.)
After I've left a message for Sally, I put info about date of message, etc in a note attached to the todo item. (The notes attached to teh todo items get stacked up with the timeline of how the project got done - often useful later.)
When my boss comes in and says "Where's Mr. Jones' trust?" I use the search feature on my clie to search for "jones", and can usually spot the item immediately. I'm using that search feature more and more, and have learned that titling the todo items in a uniform manner seems to help alot.
Hope that helps.