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"Keep an eye on" list?

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  • "Keep an eye on" list?

    I've been developing my own implementation of the GTD system for a couple years now, and while I'm pretty good with actions, contexts, and dealing with email, I have yet to find a good way to keep track of projects. While I may ask about that bigger picture issue in a follow-up post, first a more specific question.

    I'm a director of a 12 person team which has pretty wide ranging responsibilities. Frequently a "project" will come up that I'm not even involved with but, because of my job position, it's my responsibility to make sure that I know what's going on. That is, something can come to a team-member's attention, I'm cc'ed on the email, I trust that that team member can handle it (basically, it's pre-delegated), I have no actual action items related to it (not even to follow-up, since there's a 90% chance it will be fine). BUT, I need to be aware of it, in case something goes wrong.

    I guess these kinds of things could be considered project, but I hate the idea of having a bunch of projects with no "next actions". Is there anyone else in a similar role? How do you handle these?

  • #2
    I coached a senior exec once who had a "Monitor" list for projects and issues that his direct reports were working on. So yes, it can work.


    • #3
      reminder system

      If these areas do not have actions associated with them, they may work well either in your Tickler or Calendar. It is appropriate for a Calendar because it is information you want to know during a given time. To distinguish them from hard appointments or day-specifics, I put these reminders in parentheses.

      (shelves in storage area cleaned?)
      (progress on Acme contract redraft?)
      (contacted Karen lately?)

      I took the idea from the GTD Fast seminar.



      • #4
        projects delegated

        I have a similar situation with projects that I've conceptualized/created but that are totally or largely being run by someone else in my lab. The solution I developed is to segregate those projects at the end of my projects list (in my system I put 'Z--' in front of such projects so that when I'm viewing the list alphabetically they appear at the end) and tag them with the name of the primary person responsible.

        I like this system for a few reasons: 1) it keeps the project in consciousness -- you see the project every time you do a weekly review and review your projects list and thus can check in with the person responsible as necessary; 2) it solves the "no next action" problem you describe -- I just agree with myself that it is okay to not have a next action on the project because I know someone else does; 3) it prevents having to create an ad hoc project label when something comes up where you do suddenly have a next action related to the project (e.g., needing to review someone else's work; having a piece that requires your expertise).