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Where do I put THIS piece of paper?

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  • Where do I put THIS piece of paper?

    Hi there
    A bit stuck in a pile of paper mess (combination of being unwell for a bit plus taking holidays and losing motivation!) and trying to get out of it like a mole buried underground

    I find I give up very easily if I don't have a place to put a particular piece of paper because I can't move forward - and I'm not supposed to keep making piles and shuffling but that is what I'm doing grrrrrr.....

    Anyhow what I need help on right now is a paper referral from a doctor to have an x-ray. It's not an urgent x-ray - but should be done in the next 6 weeks. I need to first call and find out what the damage will be financially to see when I can afford it (it's a big scanning type) and then also make an appointment. The call is on my next action @calls but I don't really need the piece of paper anymore until the day I actually go. Thing is I don't know when that will be. I don't even know when I will make the courage of doing the phone call

    Where does it go so it doesn't get lost? I don't want to lose it in the tickler because it is so 'dateless' and I don't want to put it in the actual filing system under medical.

    I temporarily will put it until I find a better suggestion in my paper @calls support folder but it seems a bit redundant to do that - just so I know where it is - I've made a note in the task saying 'referral in @calls folder' but I'm wondering if there's a better way around this.

    Thanks a lot .... long weekend coming up and guess what I'll be doing ... getting from in to empty if that's ever possible!


  • #2
    Sounds like the piece of paper is part of the action support for the project "Get x-rays done" with next action "call to ask price" in the @calls list. Given that, I'd have a project folder for "Get x-rays done" and put the paper in it.

    Also in that folder could be your notes about other actions to take "make an appointment," "research procedure on internet," "arrange for baby-sitter," etc. AND the important dates like "x-ray must be done by <today> + 6 weeks."

    In your weekly review you'll naturally open each project folder and scan for dates, actions, etc. so you will see the due date.

    Once you've made the appointment, you could file the paper in a tickler for that date, or keep it in the project action folder, your preference.



    • #3
      Thanks for you advice Ken,

      You've given me food for thought - the only thing is that in this particular instance there is only one real next action and that is to make the call, after that I will schedule it - I can't see any other actions at all so really it is only one piece of paper that is 'pending' until I make the appointment.
      Is the @calls the best place to keep it while it is in transit on it's way to the tickler?

      I am a bit worried about setting up some of my 'projects' with their own folder - I see often there is only one piece of paper assocated - a lot of the other information is either electronic in the way of an email (for which I use the gtd toolbar reasonably successfully without printing out the email on paper - or weblinks or downloads etc.

      I'm worried about the wastage of a folder with just one piece of paper in it - so hence reluctant to set them up - I ditch as much paper as I can get away with by entering all the information into outlook and the pda - do people have a 'pending' file for bits like this I wonder?

      I'm keen to set up a few more project files though after your way of looking at this Ken, I think it will help with some of the stuff that just lurks and I don't know what to do with.... 'sigh'....


      • #4
        I know you said you did not want to put it in your medical file - but since it's only one piece of paper why not put it there, then make a note on your @ calls list that the referral is in the medical file. After you make the appointment, note on the appointment notation where the referral is - or put it in your tickler file for the day of (or day before) the appointment.


        • #5
          I am returning to GTD after being away from it for quite a while. It has been almost 2 years since I read the book, but one thing I clearly remember is not to be afraid to set up a folder for one piece of paper. After you are finished with the "project", you can just slap another lable on it and reuse it. The advantage is that while it is an open action, you will always know where to go for it.


          • #6
            Small Projects File


            I'd like to pick up on Ken's idea.

            Sounds like the piece of paper is part of the action support for the project "Get x-rays done" with next action "call to ask price" in the @calls list. Given that, I'd have a project folder for "Get x-rays done" and put the paper in it.
            I have a lot of small projects that are not formally planned and are of short duration, but nonetheless collect pieces of paper that need to be tracked. To hold them, I created a small projects file. It is a small file box - the same kind as I use for my tickler file - that contains folders that have numbers on their labels. I have an index at the front of the file where I list the project that each folder is for. I have about two dozen folders in my file, but you might be able to make do with less.

            To use your example. I would do the following:
            1. Enter the "Get X-ray" project in my personal projects list.
            2. Put the next action, i.e., the call, in my Calls action list
            3. Go to the small projects file and check the index for an open folder.
            4. Put the referral into the open folder.
            5. Put the project into the index next to the folder number.

            As I did each next action related to the project, any items that needed to be collected - directions to the clinic for example - would go in the folder.

            After I've had the x-ray, I would empty the small project folder of all the pieces of paper that had collected, and either throw them away, or file them in the appropriate medical file(s). Then I would remove the project from the index, so that the folder would show up as open, and (of course) cross it off the personal projects list.

            Hope you find this useful.


            • #7
              What I would do with that X-ray referral is to put it in the tickler file for a few days from now. When it pops up, hopefully you will have made the calls and have a date on your calendar for the appointment. Then you can refile the piece of paper in the tickler file for the appropriate date.