Non-action just-watching tasks

mhalano

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I have a series of items in my lists (I'm using Todoist now, but it's not a tool-specific question) which I want to keep an eye on it, like the Waiting For, but there is nothing I want to do about it, just keep an eye. When completed, just complete. The most of these items are shipping deliveries, simple things like "Delivery of the foldable knife" or "Delivery of new keyboard" (those are real items, I just translated to English). The idea is: when I receive my knife or my keyboard, I will just check as done. Just that. No follow-up actions, like "Send email saying thank you" or anything like that. Today I'm tracking these in the "waiting for" list, because I'm waiting for them. The problem is I want to change the way I organize the Todoist to use labels instead of projects (that is Todoist-specific, and I'm using the setup guide for that) so I should have an item in a list (even in the single actions list) labeled with "waiting for" to track this item. I don't believe I should do this way because even it's "single actions" list, that aren't any actions! For now, I'm having two ideas to solve that: first one is to keep an exclusive list for shipping deliveries and work on it like a project, not labels. The other way I can see is to put a reminder on my calendar with the deadline to delivery. Some explanation here: I use Google Calendar and a reminder can be set for days but without a respective timeframe, like an example will be occurring in a day, and you want to keep track of it. The obvious problem is I would lose track of the packages, because some packages don't have a very specific day to arrive, just arrive before a specific date (I use due dates to track that). What would you advise doing to track items without an action, but you would like to keep an eye on it?
 

mhalano

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Again, about shipping deliveries. I get notifications on my mobile about the deliveries. I don't need to take a time to lookup for status changes. And when I do, it's under the two-minutes rule.
 

enyonam

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I have a series of items in my lists (I'm using Todoist now, but it's not a tool-specific question) which I want to keep an eye on it, like the Waiting For, but there is nothing I want to do about it, just keep an eye. When completed, just complete. The most of these items are shipping deliveries, simple things like "Delivery of the foldable knife" or "Delivery of new keyboard" (those are real items, I just translated to English). The idea is: when I receive my knife or my keyboard, I will just check as done. Just that. No follow-up actions, like "Send email saying thank you" or anything like that. Today I'm tracking these in the "waiting for" list, because I'm waiting for them. The problem is I want to change the way I organize the Todoist to use labels instead of projects (that is Todoist-specific, and I'm using the setup guide for that) so I should have an item in a list (even in the single actions list) labeled with "waiting for" to track this item. I don't believe I should do this way because even it's "single actions" list, that aren't any actions! For now, I'm having two ideas to solve that: first one is to keep an exclusive list for shipping deliveries and work on it like a project, not labels. The other way I can see is to put a reminder on my calendar with the deadline to delivery. Some explanation here: I use Google Calendar and a reminder can be set for days but without a respective timeframe, like an example will be occurring in a day, and you want to keep track of it. The obvious problem is I would lose track of the packages, because some packages don't have a very specific day to arrive, just arrive before a specific date (I use due dates to track that). What would you advise doing to track items without an action, but you would like to keep an eye on it?
But these are exactly what @Waiting_For lists are for. You don't have to add a due date if you don't know when it's going to arrive but at least once you get to a weekly review you have a complete list of all the things you were expecting and can check whether they have come in yet, or whether you now have to take an action to get them in ... such as call customer service or check the tracking order number.

@Waiting For isn't about doing an action - it's keeping a reminder that someone else is supposed to do something and you want a 'hook' in your system that you're expecting them to do that.
 

mhalano

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But these are exactly what @Waiting_For lists are for. You don't have to add a due date if you don't know when it's going to arrive but at least once you get to a weekly review you have a complete list of all the things you were expecting and can check whether they have come in yet, or whether you now have to take an action to get them in ... such as call customer service or check the tracking order number.

@Waiting For isn't about doing an action - it's keeping a reminder that someone else is supposed to do something and you want a 'hook' in your system that you're expecting them to do that.
Two points here: first, the way I see, the hook is a hook for something. So It's like soccer. I did my part in the field and pass the ball (put on "waiting for" list). The other person receives the ball, do his part and, two options, send the ball back to me (my "waiting for" item becomes an actionable item again) or do the goal (the item is marked as concluded). The problem is: when in my side, the item was an actionable item (send email, do this, do that) and became a hook after I pass to the other person.
Second point: Said that, the Todoist organization explained in the setup guide, uses labels to define contexts. So I need to send an email, the context (and the label) is "Computer". I send the email and wait for a response. The item description could change a little, and the context (and the label) changes for "Waiting_For". The project stills the same (very important part here).
These items are organized in projects (or in a single actions list). So I just change the label but keep in the project. The idea to use this option of the guide is I have a broader view over the project, so I click in the actual project and see all items. If I want to see one specific context (to engaging) or the waiting for to see delegated items, I can.
The big question I'm trying to solve is: these items I'm talking about, in the example shipping deliveries, have no place in any project (and aren't an actionable item do stay in single actions list).
Some of my deliveries have places in projects. One example would be waiting the delivery of an online bought hammer to put a frame in the wall. The delivery is part of a (quite) single action (put the frame on the wall) or a bigger project (change the design of the living room). So it's in waiting for context (with Waiting_For label) because is a real hook.
The problem is my other deliveries, which aren't any action related. Like I bought a couple of stands for my controllers (I'm an IT guy) but I just want to keep an eye on the delivery. I won't do anything special about when they arrive.
So the main question is: Where keep this tasks on Todoist setup, organized by labels, not by projects? Tasks that never was and never will be part of any project or never have any action associated? I'm thinking about something like a "follow-up" list. A list to just follow up with the items. No tasks related. Would be more a reference list than anything. Almost like a shopping cart list. What do you think pals?
 

Cpu_Modern

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If you bought the stands for your controllers for professional reasons, then you also have to file the recipe/bills etc for tax reasons?

Why not make it a project? You already ordered the stands, that's at least one action. Now you are wating for the delivery. Then you have to set them up and file the bills. What if they never arive? Then the project becomes bigger due to you having to take follow up action now.

What in todoist makes it a problem to just have items in tha single action list and label them wating for?
 

mhalano

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I'm not making a project because there is no bigger plan involved. I don't want to create a mancave in my house of something like that. It was just a purchase. If not arrive at the expected time (so I use a due date to control that), I will do something about it (send an email, do a phone call, etc.). So there is no project. But I don't put the task in the "single actions" list either because there is no action related. It was just something I would like to buy (and fall under the two-minute rule: see it, like it, buy it). As I said, some purchases are aligned to some bigger plan, but there is a lot of purchases are just regular purchases, useful but not aligned to bigger plans.
About the Todoist, as I said, the single action list is for items with actions (did or to do after the waiting). My list is quite a follow-up list. I want to follow things (packages, events, product releases) but there is no action involved except see the package arriving, for instance, and marking the item as completed.
So It's not, and never was, an actionable item, so there is no place for it in the single actions or in a project.
 

Cpu_Modern

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Some of my deliveries have places in projects. One example would be waiting the delivery of an online bought hammer to put a frame in the wall. The delivery is part of a (quite) single action (put the frame on the wall) or a bigger project (change the design of the living room). So it's in waiting for context (with Waiting_For label) because is a real hook.

You don't need a real hook in order to put something on the @waiting_for list.

The problem is, you got the meaning of @waiting_for wrong. It does not mean "I am waiting until I can do something again". It merely means "I am waiting on this to happen". That's it.

Whether you then will have to do further action or not doesn't have anything to do with something being @waiting_for. Waiting on something is already an action.
 

bcmyers2112

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So the main question is: Where keep this tasks on Todoist setup, organized by labels, not by projects? Tasks that never was and never will be part of any project or never have any action associated? I'm thinking about something like a "follow-up" list. A list to just follow up with the items. No tasks related. Would be more a reference list than anything. Almost like a shopping cart list. What do you think pals?

I use Todoist and I think I understand what you're struggling with. Because Todoist wrongly assumes every action must be part of a project, to use it for GTD you need a workaround for those items that are not associated with a project. The GTD setup guide for Todoist helpfully suggests creating a project called "Single Actions" or "---" to hold those items. You have interpreted this to mean, "You shall not include anything in 'Single Actions' that doesn't have an action attached to it."

One solution to this is simply not to worry so much about the definition of "Single Actions." It's just a title to let you know the list contains items that are not part of a project. It's OK to include "Waiting For" items for which there is no immediate "action hook." You'll know the difference between those "Waiting For" items and your next actions because the former will have the label "Waiting For" associated with them.

Or you could change your perspective: "Waiting For" items are actions, they're just not your actions at the moment. But a "Waiting For" could become your action if, for example, something you order doesn't show up and you need to follow up on it. So there is at least the potential for an "action hook," or else there wouldn't be a need to track these things in the first place.

If that still doesn't leave you feeling good, then I don't see a problem with creating a separate list for "follow up" items. As long as you review it at least weekly to determine if any follow-ups are needed it would serve the same purpose as your "Waiting For" list. Just make sure you're not creating a level of complexity that repels rather than attracts you to your system.
 

Gardener

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So It's not, and never was, an actionable item, so there is no place for it in the single actions or in a project.
I feel like there's something unstated here. What would the consequences be, if you put what you regard as a non-action (I do regard this as an action) in your single actions list? I feel that there's a highly negative consequence that you're seeing and I'm not.
 

enyonam

Registered
Two points here: first, the way I see, the hook is a hook for something. So It's like soccer. I did my part in the field and pass the ball (put on "waiting for" list). The other person receives the ball, do his part and, two options, send the ball back to me (my "waiting for" item becomes an actionable item again) or do the goal (the item is marked as concluded). The problem is: when in my side, the item was an actionable item (send email, do this, do that) and became a hook after I pass to the other person.
I haven't looked at Todoist in years so I can really only provide my experience with @Waiting_For.

So in your soccer at example - when you pass the ball on to your teammate you're still actively engaged in the match. You're following the ball down the field and making sure you're ready for a pass back. So your context will not be at @Waiting For during the match. It is always @Field. Let's say however it's halftime and you're hanging out on the grass waiting for the whistle to be blown for the second half. In the meantime you're milling about, staying warm, drinking water, waving to your family in the stands, whatever. Then you have an @Waiting_For from Referee - Signal Start to Second Half. So @Waiting_For is not active for me. I am not going to do anything with it unless one of two things happen. (1) The thing I am waiting for shows up. When I does, if there is a next action then receiving that thing triggers the next action. (2) It's my weekly review or a time I have set aside to check on all the stuff I am owed. At that time, I run through my @Waiting_For lists and check on Amazon or my friend who borrowed a book, or whatever, and send reminders of all the stuff I am expecting.

See, it's a hook for what I am expecting ... not a hook for what I am going to be doing once I get it. It's commitment I have about other people's actions so I keep a running list of those expectations so it's not on my brain, and I can check once in a while. In my system, if I need it by a certain date, I put a due date on it so I can check on that date why I haven't gotten it yet.
 

mhalano

Registered
I use Todoist and I think I understand what you're struggling with. Because Todoist wrongly assumes every action must be part of a project, to use it for GTD you need a workaround for those items that are not associated with a project. The GTD setup guide for Todoist helpfully suggests creating a project called "Single Actions" or "---" to hold those items. You have interpreted this to mean, "You shall not include anything in 'Single Actions' that doesn't have an action attached to it."

One solution to this is simply not to worry so much about the definition of "Single Actions." It's just a title to let you know the list contains items that are not part of a project. It's OK to include "Waiting For" items for which there is no immediate "action hook." You'll know the difference between those "Waiting For" items and your next actions because the former will have the label "Waiting For" associated with them.

Or you could change your perspective: "Waiting For" items are actions, they're just not your actions at the moment. But a "Waiting For" could become your action if, for example, something you order doesn't show up and you need to follow up on it. So there is at least the potential for an "action hook," or else there wouldn't be a need to track these things in the first place.

If that still doesn't leave you feeling good, then I don't see a problem with creating a separate list for "follow up" items. As long as you review it at least weekly to determine if any follow-ups are needed it would serve the same purpose as your "Waiting For" list. Just make sure you're not creating a level of complexity that repels rather than attracts you to your system.
Thank you. I think you understand correctly. My concern is to have to many items in "Single Actions" and some are actionable and other are not. A filter in Todoist would be nice, "all items in 'single actions' list without 'waiting_for' label", which should return all actionable items from all other labels (labels in this case is how I set the context).
I'm using a list called "Follow Up" where I put the items I'm waiting for but there is no action attached. I put beside shipping deliveries some messages I'm waiting for answer but again, no action attached. But I will think if put all in Single Actions and create this filter to see just the actionable single actions and not a bunch of action and non-action items mixed together.
 

rupertonline

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These are actions. *Someone* is doing them (the delivery company). You are waiting for them. My advice is put them on the list and move on with your life.
 
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