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Question about Waiting For Lists/Tickler File

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  • Question about Waiting For Lists/Tickler File

    I am working on a project and the NA requires gathering information from a colleague who will be unavailable for 3 weeks. Where is the best place to shove this NA? I don't deal with this person frequently enough to warrant an AGENDA list with her. My instinct is to drop the work request in my tickler folder for a date when I know she will be available.

    Should this also be tracked on a Waiting For list? I guess I'm confused about how people are approaching their Waiting For lists. Mine seems to be either an irritation (I'm looking at projects that are stalled out) or a black hole (I don't check the list at all). Any thoughts?

  • #2

    I'd vote for the tickler. Even if you write out your NA now, throw it in the tickler and then forget about it. In 3 weeks, when the colleague is back, then it comes back to the inbox, and you then add it to the system.

    As far as the Waiting Fors, I usually try to leave them for things I'm actively expecting a response and need to actively follow up. This situation seems to be more passive in the waiting, at least at the current time, because really, until they're back, you can't really follow-up or act.

    The only other thing you might want to do would be send a meeting request, and then tickle a followup note for when they return to try and schedule the time . . . that could clear the head if you still have nagging thoughts about needing to do something to move the project forward.



    • #3
      I'm not using a tickler file, so I would put a reminder on my calendar "so-and-so back- schedule meeting" which would then cause me to either do it (2 minute rule) or to put it on a next action list. I would probably put a note with the project reminding me I need to contact this person, as a belt-and-suspenders failsafe. If my need for the information was not time-sensitive, and I trusted the person to respond, I might just email them while they were away, and put "WF so-and-so to respond after vacation DATE" where DATE can be the date the person returns, the date I sent the request, or even a date when I need the information. I would preface the date with return, sent, or due to differentiate.


      • #4
        2nd the Tickler file

        I get much more milage out of my tickler file than any waiting for list.

        So go ahead and place the item in the tickler file, it will be there in 3 weeks when you need it. You may also want to note the project file that you have a tickler item outstanding that helps take the project out of your head. Plus it gives you a reference point to refer to during the weekly review.


        • #5
          I use Outlook, and when I hit a situation like this, I put a due date on it. I use a filter that won't show me that waiting for item until that date. That way I'm not reminded every day about something I can't do anything about.


          • #6
            Use tickler for that (I use outlook so I put ! sign before the items that should be put into the system on the particular date). As for WF I use it activelly when I expect something from someone. I check it weekly and follow up on that when required. If I need an answer before that I put it on the Calendar.

            Sometimes I duplicate the items in @Agenda and @WF. For example, I talked to my assistant and asked him to do X. I put that I'm waiting for X from him in a WF and leave it in @Agenda just in case I see him so I can remind again

            Actually the system should support with how and what YOU want to do. If you want to be reminded of something think what in your system can provide you with appropriate reminder at appropriate time.