I have been thinking on this for a while now - but I was wondering how others see this.
If we have identified our next actions for each project and arranged them by context - then why do we need to keep a list of open projects? Surely the sum of our context lists would be a complete list of open projects anyway.
I have been wondering on this because I am essentially one person running a North American office for our business - I do sales, customer care, support etc.
Frequently I can have an on-going issue with a customer either be it sales or support related.
In my Outlook set up, I have a folder for each customer (identified by a unique short name) so I can archive their email and see a history for handy reference.
But what I also started to do as I implemented GTD was set up an @actions folder and an @waiting folder. I would then drag emails to be actioned in to @actions first, then when I dealt with it, I put it in @waiting if it needed a response.
However after a while, my @actions have too many separate projects and emails going on. E.g. customer A has emails interspersed by many other emails that all need actioning. And before I can close the action or project for customer A I may need to refer back to some of the other emails that I may have just corresponded with them - hope this makes sense.
The problem ended up that I had emails relevant to say Customer A, in their own archive folder, in @actions and maybe even @waiting as well as Sent! Messy.
So my solution is to now just maintain one folder for each customer. As an actionable email comes in - I still put the message in that folder, but I also note on my @computer list that I have to deal with this query. I am also copying all my relevant sent messages into this folder too. So there is a total history available.
My issue then becomes - I am storing up next actions and on-going projects in what is essentially reference material rather than a project support file. So is there a downside I have not spotted yet.
And if this is OK. Then why can't we do this with paper too? It seems to me that as long as our lists are kept up to date, nothing should fall through the cracks and I didn't think that was the idea of the project support files anyway.
Any thoughts from others?