Newbie Q: Tying together my waiting list items to specific projects

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss the GTD Methodology' started by Guest, Dec 24, 2014.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    I'm having a hard time keeping the relationship between an item in my "waiting for" or "Next Actions" associated with a specific project.

    I often times ask myself, did I put this in my "waiting for" list already? Then I have to spend time going through my waiting for list and understanding which projects are associated with what. So then I worry if i put it in waiting for which defeats the purpose of the system.
    I am still setting up my system and this is a big gap for me so I hope others have figured this out. I am using Outlook and Onenote. I have a @WAITING FOR folder in my email that I am using. I have a "waiting for" list in my Onenote. So just two things to look at to know what I'm waiting on. I CC myself on emails I am waiting for and it automatically goes in that folder. But now I have a good amount of things in that folder, and it isn't obvious without spending a minute or two reading through each one as to which project it is associated with.
    So the question is, how do you know which waiting for items are tied to a project without reading through each of my waiting for items?

    If during your weekly review, you are checking on the status of a project, what mechanism are you using to look at a project and know what you are waiting for? As this is also the most common question I will get from others is, what is the status of this project? Other than keeping the status of the project in your head, how can you keep this in your system?

    The same problem exists for my "Next Actions" list which I am keeping in my Outlook tasks. I have categories for some contexts right now, but how can I tie those "Next Actions" outlook tasks back to a project easily? I found if i create the task via Onenote, then it creates a link so I can right click the task and it takes me to the Onenote area so I can determine the project that way but this takes more time than I was hoping for.

    Thank you in advance and hopefully I elaborated well enough.
     
  2. Marco Boscolo

    Marco Boscolo Registered

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    Have you found a solution? Kinda wondering the same thing. M.
     
  3. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    In Nirvana, your waiting fors are easily connected to your projects. You can have it so that you won't see any other actions for that project if they are dependent on whatever it is you are waiting for. Stay tuned for the setup guide coming from Kelly in the future.
     
  4. KW7

    KW7 Registered

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    Handling projects was the toughest thing for me to understand. I'm sure I'm not an expert but I am more comfortable with the process. I manage all of my GTD items in Evernote and the software allows you to add "tags" to each note. You can easily search for a tag and see any note in the software with that tag - the all appear in a a list when you search. To that end, when I create a new project, I assign it a tag starting with "P" such as "-P1", "-P2", etc. I have easy shortcuts to all of the project tags and in my weekly review, I click on each one "-P1", "-P2", etc. then I can see what I refer to as the Master Note which sits in !Projects as well as all of the other tasks in process such as items in @Calls and @Pending. Once a project or task for a project is complete, I delete the tag from the note and then move it to my Complete notebook. That way I can recycle the tags and never have to create new ones. It was bit of a pain to set up the structure but there is no additional work to maintain it and I can find everything instantly.
     
  5. Mike Simms

    Mike Simms Registered

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    A few thoughts on the second part of your post, about the next actions: I've recently switched to Trello (previous system was the battleship of Emacs org-mode!) and I'm enjoying the simplicity of *not* having a direct link between projects and next actions.

    Ask yourself this: can you read the title of your next actions and just get down to work on one of them? (context and time of day etc permitting) If not, are they really the next actions?

    There is a possible exception: I do a lot of calculations of noise levels for different sites. I would have a "Site X" project on my projects list, and I would have a "Noise Calcs for Site X" on my actions list; now there's a little duplication there, but it doesn't bother me. About a week later the next task may be "Write report for site X"

    If on the other hand you have many projects and they are often waiting on something, your one-or-two minutes to work out what a project is waiting on is not bad I would have thought! Would it help to add the "waiting for" to the end of the project's title, so that your project list serves as an overall 'dashboard? Alternatively if each project is waiting on multiple items, prefix the Waiting For items with a short word or code that identifies the project to you? Then an alphabetic sort of the waiting for items should be easy to scan.
     
  6. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    The "Guest" who posted in 2014 was using Outlook and Onenote. I'm not sure if he/she is still checking back for responses.
    Marco Boscolo, I'm not sure which programs your are using, but is there any reason you have to use specific apps/programs?

    There are some programs/apps where projects and waiting for context can be easily assigned to an action through tags or labels.

    Some of these programs are Toodledo, Todoist, and Nirvana. I personally have used Toodledo, but I believe these all have web based apps as well as ios (iphone) apps. With these apps, you can easily assign an action to a project and also easily assign a context such as waiting for. With these apps you can easily see which action is associated with which project.

    My preferred digital tool is Google Sheets. It is a spreadsheet program similar to Excel, but syncs seamlessly with the iphone app, and it is web based, so it can be accessed from any computer.

    I set up 3 columns in Google Sheets, "Action", "Project" and "context". This way the actions can be sorted by project or by context. You can also easily switch contexts (@waiting for, @computer @call).

    I also set up drop down boxes to easily assign the project and context. This also makes sure I don't make a typo, because if I misspell a project name, it won't sort correctly.

    I have made a sample GTD tool in Google Sheets with columns for project and context with drop down lists. You can view it here:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17SiLmc0OQDprUbtm66cALjggNe0yPu1o_XO6l4yc8pA/edit?usp=sharing

    Instructions for adding drop down boxes to Google Sheets can be found here:
    https://support.google.com/docs/answer/186103?co=GENIE.Platform=Desktop&hl=en

    Hope this helps.

    I'd appreciate feedback on this reply.

    Sarah
     

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