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What if we take "Waiting for" list out of the equation?

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  • What if we take "Waiting for" list out of the equation?

    Here's something I've found useful, you may too.

    I use paper to do GTD, more specifically a Moleskine.

    With the "@waiting for" lists, I found myself copying the same task over and back to other context lists. Example, I phone Bill for info, get his answering machine, state what I'm looking for. Then I have to put that on my @waiting for list. Or do I?

    I've taken to writing a "W" for waiting in the margin beside the task whatever list it appears on @calls, @Email, etc., noting the date I made contact, and placing a sticky tab on the bottom of the page. Each day, I check the tabs. I find this works very well because if I have called Bill, requested info, and he hasn't called me back, what's the action? Call Bill again. It's now covered by one action item on @calls, rather than on the @calls list, the @waiting for list, and a new entry on the @calls list.

    Hope this helps someone.

  • #2
    The Moleskin is what's causing the drag in your system, not the Waiting For concept. But it sounds like you've found a good way to work with it.
    Last edited by kelstarrising; 04-19-2010, 09:34 AM.


    • #3
      I used to do something very similar to what you are doing, but you are really cheating yourself.

      The purer you get with GTD the better.

      Think about this, what is easier to read, interpret and act on.

      A) a list of 14 calls AND a list of 6 WF's


      B) a list of 3 calls, 2 WF 2 calls 1 WF, 8 calls, 2 WF, 1 call and 1 WF

      Every time you need to stop and think and mentally sort your lists, you are slowing yourself down

      J.D. Iles
      Hyatt's All Things Creative

      Equipment and Software / Sales and Training
      On-Line Training Coordinator

      direct line or text: (603) 348-7658
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      • #4
        My $0.015

        Originally posted by enjonze View Post
        What if we take "Waiting for" list out of the equation?
        What good would that do?
        (insert attempted humor)

        But, seriously, I think a key part of a GTD system (tool) is ease and comfort with marking something done.

        I'll use Netflix as an example from my own system - e.g. a Waiting For item = Nextflix re: Star Trek DVD. When that DVD arrives in the mail I mark that off as done (if paper-based system) and make a new next action - e.g. Watch Star Trek DVD on my @ Home list. In my now digital system (Omni Focus) I simply re-title the action and change the context from Waiting For to Home.

        There's very little friction in making this transition.

        I know this seems really basic but that's what GTD is all about. Do this basic stuff with A LOT of volume.

        Hope that helps,


        PS -- in Omni Focus I have top-level folders for each GTD Horizon of Focus (10k to 50K) and Neflix lives in Bills & Finances within Areas of Focus as Netflix is not something I finish but want to maintain.


        • #5
          'Waiting for' and 'Someday' are two of my favorite lists in GTD. The former gives me confidence that I won't forget something that I've delegated or requested, and the latter gives me hope that I will not forget the good ideas I've had and want to get to in the future.
          Last edited by PeterW; 04-23-2010, 08:41 PM. Reason: spleling!


          • #6
            I also have a struggle with the "Waiting for" list. Most of the times I don't include it. But with the suggestions from the people here, I think I can do better than what i have been doing.
            Last edited by kelstarrising; 05-03-2010, 09:12 AM.