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Reference vs Someday/ Maybe?

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  • Reference vs Someday/ Maybe?

    Hi there,

    I have a lot of old notes from various sources (random thinking, ideas, or seminar notes) and I can't really process them all now as they are not that time pressing and I have other priorities. However, I want to constantly work on processing them. So my question is how I manage that. Here are my considerations:

    The notes/ digital files of random thinking and ideas will go to a either reference A-Z. However, here the question is whether I am mixing reference with next actions, since these files are unprocessed and not really pure reference as there is still an action attached to them (i.e. processing them)? So, I was thinking to process them by creating a folder called "old unprocessed random thoughts and ideas" and then put those into my reference, BUT putting a item in Someday/ Maybe called "processing old random thoughts". Would the item then be considered processed? Is it the rightfully in the reference location ...... OR ALTERNATIVELY should I do the following:

    Put the folder "old unprocessed thoughts and Ideas" directly INTO the folder of someday/ maybes? Or is that bad practice as I am now mixing up things again?

    Please help, as often with this confused Thanks in advance!


  • #2
    An old-notes processing project

    You can create a project which is to "process old notes", and create a folder for the old notes as you said. Now this folder is like an inbox, but only to hold the old notes separately, not open to the new stuff coming to you. Process these old-notes in small manageable chunks of time. Those are the actions that you take on the "process old notes" project, till you finish those.

    This is usually the case when there is a pre-GTD backlog, when there is nothing urgent in it.

    The point is that even someday/maybe items are processed items, in the sense that you have really decided that they are not outcomes that you have (yet) committed to. So it's different from unprocessed stuff.



    • #3
      If they are really not time pressing, then I would say you could safely file them somewhere, then put a note in your Someday/Maybe to "sort random thoughts" and leave it at that.

      But, I suspect that some of those random thoughts might be better off being processed, even if it's just a little. Seminar notes could be collected together and filed (with a separate Someday/Maybe to thoroughly sort through them), any little ideas of things to do in the future could each have their own separate Someday/Maybe too.

      If it's things to do in the future, then Someday/Maybe looks like the right destination - don't be afraid to separate them out and make lots of entries. Keep separate strands separate.

      For me, Reference is pure information that I might need to quickly look at - passport number, National Insurance number, what's the reference number if I want to pay that bill online, opening times for that store I go in all the time etc. None of it is actionable, it's just a list of useful information.


      • #4
        Since this is something you want to start now, but you know it will take a long time, I suggest making it a project (say "Process old seminar notes") so you're reminded of it during your weekly review. Then put the notes into a support folder for the project and then chip away at it every week or so.


        • #5
          I agree with others that this sounds like an active Project, so I'd put it in your active Projects list. An appropriate Next Action might be, "Pull out a page of Old Notes."


          • #6
            These sound like Read & Review actions

            Assuming that your notes are organized in some manner (i.e. pages aren't scattered), each set of notes you have is an individual "Read & Review" action. Drop them in the Read & Review basket.

            If necessary, you can group the notes into categories, put them in folders, and toss the folders full of notes in the Read & Review tray.