Unpaid bills and GTD...
I'm in the process of implementing GTD and was wondering what best practice is with unpaid bills - are they simply added to a next action list and the bill itself placed in a next actions support folder? Or do they get special treatment?
Any clues would be appreciated.
Do you have some sort of tickler file system?
http://gettingthingsdone.com/tips_tools.php# (near the bottom of the page)
On the Getting Things Done Fast! CDs, David Allen suggests dropping the bill in your tickler file system on the latest date it needs to be mailed to make it on time (you may want more of a buffer). On that date, you'd empty the tickler folder into your Inbox and pay and mail the bill - no need to ever put it on an action list unless you need to put it on your errands list to mail it.
I second the idea of dropping bills in the tickler file. I suggest picking one day a week to write the checks (maybe Saturday, for instance). When a bill comes in, drop it in Saturday's folder. That way, on Saturday you will pull out the checkbook one time, write all of the checks in one sitting, put on all of the return address lables at one time, and pull out the roll of stamps one time. From there decide when you want each to actually go in the mail (if you want to hold any out to not go in the mail immediately) and put them in the tickler file for the dates you want them sent on their way.
Another viewpoint: unless it is for a major amount, and assuming that you have the money, I would suggest that it falls under the "2 minute rule" and just pay it and be done with it.
I use Ticklers as well, but on the Palm instead of hard files.
I also have a basket on my desk that is reserved for only bills due, and checks that need to be deposited. I put the bills into the basket when they come in, and my Tickler system is set up to pop up the bill and approx amount when it's time to pay.
I update the books every week, and depending on the cashflow situation I'll sometimes go ahead and take care of all pending bills at the next update, or I'll take care of them as they're due. If I take care of them all at once, I then drop into my @Ticklers list on the Palm, and mark the upcoming ones as completed.