GTD - How do you do Waiting For with Things 3?

kmiller10

Registered
One thing I am not really satisfied with in my current system with Things 3 are GTD (Getting Things Done, David Allen) Waiting For(s).
I use a Tag called „Waiting for“ and write each waiting for task in the following notation:

<Lastname, Firstname> - <Date waiting started> - <What I am waiting for>

Usually all my waiting for tasks are on Anytime except I need to see it on a specific date (e.g. to get back to it).

When I review my waiting for tasks I filter Anytime for tag „Waiting for“. What I don‘t like there is Things 3 lists all waiting for according to filesynced codes their area/project. So when I have a call (home office!) with someone it kind of takes me too long to scan through the long waiting for list to find all
waiting for of that person.

How to you handle Waiting For tasks?
 
Last edited:

mcogilvie

Registered
One thing I am not really satisfied with in my current system with Things 3 are GTD (Getting Things Done, David Allen) Waiting For(s).
I use a Tag called „Waiting for“ and write each waiting for task in the following notation:

<Lastname, Firstname> - <Date waiting started> - <What I am waiting for>

Usually all my waiting for tasks are on Anytime except I need to see it on a specific date (e.g. to get back to it).

When I review my waiting for tasks I filter Anytime for tag „Waiting for“. What I don‘t like there is Things 3 lists all waiting fors according to their area/project. So when I have a call (home office!) with someone it kind of takes me too long to scan through the long waiting for list to find all
waiting fors of that person.

How to you handle Waiting For tasks?
To answer your question, my waiting-for’s have a WF in front. I am less rigid in my format but generally have similar information to what you have. I don’t think that’s an issue.

You don’t mention Agendas, which is a useful “list” or “context” in the GTD sense. (I use Things 3 too.) Waiting-for’s and agendas work together Some my waiting-for’s have deadlines. If that deadline is reached, I will take appropriate action: email, call, et cetera. Sometimes the item will move to an agenda item, or I will reset the deadline based on new knowledge, but this is not as common. If a waiting-for has no deadline, it still gets reviewed every week, and I may choose to call, email, et cetera. I cannot stress enough the importance of the weekly review. If there is something I want to discuss with someone the next time I see them, it is an agenda item. This covers status reports, just checking, reminding, updating, whatever.

The best way to handle people-related items in Things 3 depends on your implementation and personal preferences. If you use it in the way it’s designers intended (which you seem to be doing), you might make a tag “People” with subtags “Andrea”, ”Bob”, “Charlotte”, et cetera. This is ok for a small group but is unwieldy for large numbers. For people you interact with only intermittently, say for one or two projects, an Agenda item in each project might be enough. Beyond that, you may need something else. Search is always possible. Headers might help, and certainly worth learning about. If you organize Things 3 along the lines of the Davidco setup guide, you can have a single Agenda list, or multiple ones. The checklist feature in Things 3 may be helpful.

I hope this helps. Things 3 is elegant, but not really designed for gtd. You have to put some effort in to make it work for you.
 
Last edited:

kmiller10

Registered
To answer your question, my waiting-for’s have a WF in front. I am less rigid in my format but generally have similar information to what you have. I don’t think that’s an issue.

You don’t mention Agendas, which is a useful “list” or “context” in the GTD sense. (I use Things 3 too.) Waiting-for’s and agendas work together Some my waiting-for’s have deadlines. If that deadline is reached, I will take appropriate action: email, call, et cetera. Sometimes the item will move to an agenda item, or I will reset the deadline based on new knowledge, but this is not as common. If a waiting-for has no deadline, it still gets reviewed every week, and I may choose to call, email, et cetera. I cannot stress enough the importance of the weekly review. If there is something I want to discuss with someone the next time I see them, it is an agenda item. This covers status reports, just checking, reminding, updating, whatever.

The best way to handle people-related items in Things 3 depends on your implementation and personal preferences. If you use it in the way it’s designers intended (which you seem to be doing), you might make a tag “People” with subtags “Andrea”, ”Bob”, “Charlotte”, et cetera. This is ok for a small group but is unwieldy for large numbers. For people you interact with only intermittently, say for one or two projects, an Agenda item in each project might be enough. Beyond that, you may need something else. Search is always possible. Headers might help, and certainly worth learning about. If you organize Things 3 along the lines of the Davidco setup guide, you can have a single Agenda list, or multiple ones. The checklist feature in Things 3 may be helpful.

I hope this helps. Things 3 is elegant, but not really designed for gtd. You have to put some effort in to make it work for you.
This helps. Thank you so much for this detailed information.
 

James M

Registered
I do something very similar. I have a "waiting-for" tag, then a set notation at the start of the task title: [W/F name, what, DD/MM/YY]

Things URL's format is useful - I have set up a URL to show items in the Anytime list with the "waiting-for" tag: things:///show?id=anytime&filter=waiting-for

I agree with mcogilvie that agenda lists are a useful way to track things you want to bring up with people.
 

snfuod

Registered
One thing I am not really satisfied with in my current system with Things 3 are GTD (Getting Things Done, David Allen) Waiting For(s).
I use a Tag called „Waiting for“ and write each waiting for task in the following notation:

<Lastname, Firstname> - <Date waiting started> - <What I am waiting for>

Usually all my waiting for tasks are on Anytime except I need to see it on a specific date (e.g. to get back to it).

When I review my waiting for tasks I filter Anytime for tag „Waiting for“. What I don‘t like there is Things 3 lists all waiting for according to filesynced codes their area/project. So when I have a call (home office!) with someone it kind of takes me too long to scan through the long waiting for list to find all
waiting for of that person.

How to you handle Waiting For tasks?
I use a Waiting for-tag too. I also have tags for people I frequently interact with. So if I'm waiting for something from them, I tag the specific entry with both the name of the person and waiting for. When I'm on a call with one of them I just type the first letters of the name wherever in Things, hit enter and all items, including the Waiting for-stuff, related to that person shows up. It's a fast and easy enough way for me to remember the things I want to cover when I speak to them.

Having quite a few tags hasn't really been a problem in Things 3, I've found. I've grouped tags in Things 3 to Next actions, People, Meetings and two more groups. That way the groups show up at the top from the Anytime view, rather than all the tags. So if I'm for example working from my office from my Next actions-list, I hit Next actions and then Office in the Anytime view and that shows me just those things. Not grouping the tags makes all of them appear in the Anytime view, which can be quite messy.
 

snfuod

Registered
Things 3 is elegant, but not really designed for gtd.

I have read that more than once, but just now it got me thinking. Things 3 is a list manager. GTD is system neutral. What do people mean stating that this particular list manager isn’t designed for GTD? A piece of paper isn’t designed for GTD neither, but nobody points that out.

To be fair, you’re not saying it’s not a working tool and I’m not trying to jump you or anything. Just interested in the general opinion on what designed for GTD means. Another set of bells and whistles? Won’t any form of (flexible) list manager really do?
 
Last edited:

mcogilvie

Registered
I have read that more than once, but just now it got me thinking. Things 3 is a list manager. GTD is system neutral. What do people mean stating that this particular list manager isn’t designed for GTD? A piece of paper isn’t designed for GTD neither, but nobody points that out.

To be fair, you’re not saying it’s not a working tool and I’m not trying to jump you or anything. Just interested in the general opinion on what designed for GTD means. Another set of bells and whistles? Won’t any form of (flexible) list manager really do?
Since I use Things 3 for GTD, I think it's a fair question. What I mean is that Things is designed with an area, project, action hierarchy built in, but it does not have a comparable context view. Omnifocus, which was originally designed with GTD in mind, has both a project view and a context view. What Things has is the ability to add tags to actions, which can be used for contexts via filtering.

Things does have a Today view. Without going into details, this reflects the master list (Anytime view) plus daily list (Today) philosophy that Things is built for, which predates GTD. Of course, you can make Things act like a paper, vanilla GTD setup, and the DavidCo GTD setup guide shows you a way to do that. But Things is not like Omnifocus, Todoist or TickTock, which support both project and context views directly.
 

Logan

Registered
One thing I am not really satisfied with in my current system with Things 3 are GTD (Getting Things Done, David Allen) Waiting For(s).
I use a Tag called „Waiting for“ and write each waiting for task in the following notation:

<Lastname, Firstname> - <Date waiting started> - <What I am waiting for>

Usually all my waiting for tasks are on Anytime except I need to see it on a specific date (e.g. to get back to it).

When I review my waiting for tasks I filter Anytime for tag „Waiting for“. What I don‘t like there is Things 3 lists all waiting for according to filesynced codes their area/project. So when I have a call (home office!) with someone it kind of takes me too long to scan through the long waiting for list to find all
waiting for of that person.

How to you handle Waiting For tasks?
Waiting fors in Things 3 have the following style for me:
<Lastname, Firstname> - <Start Date> - <What to wait for>

They all get the Waiting for tag.

Because waiting fors go in their respective areas or projects, I have the same issue they are not in alphabetical order which makes it difficult to scan in a short amount of time. The same goes for Agenda topics.

In order to deal with this I’ve created an Apple Shortcut for iOS/iPadOS to export the list to a MindNode mind map. During the export the shortcut creates a node for whom I am waiting for and all relevant “what to wait fors” get below that node.

I’m currently thinking about creating a variant of the shortcut to create the Waiting for list as e.g. a PDF in which the waiting fors are sortted alphabetically.

For me Things 3 has a gap being to able to sort lists alphabetically. On the other hand I value Things 3s simplicity and still think not everything needs to be added as functionality. I can live well with the way Things 3 is done and cannot imagine switching to a different tool. When I was junger this was funny. But now I know in most of the cases having a good way to live GTD is 99.9% of how you do it and just a small portion about the tool.

Best wishes…
 

FocusGuy

Registered
I hope this helps. Things 3 is elegant, but not really designed for gtd. You have to put some effort in to make it work for you.
I am right with you but THINGS is not so complicated for making a good GTD tool. OMNIFOCUS is not too ;)

Long time I hesitated between things or Omnifocus and time to time and switched. Anyway, for now, I work with omnifocus and I am please with it.

Things 3 is a little bit touchy, even if it seem easier, because, there are no alphabetical sort and no perspectives. Contexts are tags wich appear or desappears in it's different views. The forecast view with tags can become touchy too. Omnifocus is clear one tag = all relative tasks and you can make whatever you want to see with it.... It is much more powerfull and secure (OF is crypted)

Waiting are also more complicated than in Omnifocus. In things 3 you have to look at the different view for choosing your waiting for tag. In omnifocus juste choose remaining and click on the waiting for tag. You can also make perspectives around that. One of mine shows by projects what I am waiting for from who ? One other sort waiting for task by created date... So I can see at a glance I am waiting this since one month for example... Is he kidding me ? :mad:

About Things :
I made a very good GTD system with Things. One advantage is that it is beautifull. It is important too. When I used THings I made context with tags. I used Waiting for, Call, Mac, Agenda, Errands. At the beginning I put all in things even links to emails or references material. But it became too messy even with its title and check lists. Finally it lose it's efficiency, even if I hidded things. I realised I could not put everything in things (as in Omnifocus)

So I made things differently and found a way yo make it fast and easy. As I was also was working with Omnifocus, I wanted a system wich could apply in each system. At this point I did not really know witch software I would choose...

I pick a licence to evernote, I used it for GTD project references and also for GTD general references. When I make a project I copy it's name in both way OF > EN and EN>OF and make links from one to the other.

For now I quit THINGS 3. It was too light for me and less easy than Omnifocus (I love it's perspectives and the global list sorted by contexts).

About Omnifocus :
For tasks, I kept the core GTD principle Nothing but the very physical and visible next action. I open both windows (EN + OF) when I work on a projets and take note in evernote. When I finish I put the very next action in Omnifocus coming from my brain or often from Evernote wich also contains about each actionable projects my project plan, historical stuff and reports...

This way has fully simplified my system. Omnifocus works perfectly well like this even if (like things) it could do, indeed, much more...
And evernotes follows my thinking.

Hope this helps
 
Last edited:
Top