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What to do with stuff that will be needed, but you're not sure when?

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  • What to do with stuff that will be needed, but you're not sure when?

    I received an email about a software patch. When I looked into it, I discovered that it does not affect anyone in the company NOW, but may need to be applied later whenever we upgrade another software package that I'm not responsible for. I don't have any estimates of when the other software will be upgraded, but eventually (maybe within the next 2 years) it will happen.

    So what do I do with this email? Tickler file may bring it to my attention too early (causing me to re-encounter the patch email repeatedly) or too late (when it will only be helpful if I'm dedicating some brain RAM to remember that it's in some future folder, which is anti-GTD). I'm not responsible for the other software, so nothing will really spur me to look for this in my reference files once it gets upgraded. I don't think I trust the people who ARE responsible for the other software to remember or document this patch.

    So what do I do with this thing?

  • #2

    Create a someday maybe entry for it; to me, Someday/Maybes are stored as half baked projects; sometimes I've thought out successful outcomes and everything, sometimes they look like "Aruba" or "Learn Swahili." I would create a Someday/Maybe called "Upgrade software package x: don't forget patch x."


    • #3
      Another idea: file the email in your reference material, and put a tickler reminder for whenever you think this might be appropriate (a month? two months?). When the time comes and the tickler comes up, if it's not time yet, you can just quickly re-file it to remind you again in the future. That's what I have done with things I know will be needed sometime, but not sure when. Then I get a monthly reminder, which is quickly dismissed if not relevant yet.


      • #4
        If you're not responsible for it, and you wouldn't need to use the patch for two years, I would pass along the email to the technical department and call it a day.

        Software and hardware constantly have patches and upgrades. I highly doubt this patch will even be relevant in two years. If the new upgrade will require this patch to work, it will come up then. If it doesn't, then it's not a pressing need immediately upon the upgrade.

        That said, looking at the project more generally, I would stick it on Someday/Maybe or setup a tickler for every six months, just so it's in there somewhere.


        • #5
          Put it in Reference

          I would not want to clutter my ticklers or someday/maybes for something like that. I would put it in Reference.

          I keep virtually no paper records, but I keep lots of digital records. I would label the software patch notification in an obvious way, and put it away.

          If you trust yourself that you keep reference files, even if you forgot about it, if someone happens to ask for info on that software patch, you should first think "Maybe I did see something about it" and then "I bet it is in Reference."