Wednesday, 17 October 2012

@Pending vs @Waiting in GTD

When I orginally set up my email programs (Gmail for personal, Outlook for work) for David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) method, I created folders for @Action, @Someday, and @Waiting, as well as named folders for projects to contain support and reference material.

As time went on, however, I found a new type of email that didn't really fit in those categories: things that are mine to do (I'm not @Waiting for someone else) and there is a next action on it (so it doesn't go in the project folders) but I can't do that action yet (so it doesn't go in @Action).

In short, I'm waiting not for a person, but for the time to be right, such as a meeting coming up this week that I'll need the directions to, or a webinar announcement with its login information. I was worried that if I put it in @Waiting, it would get lost.  Since it's time based, it should probably go on my Calendar, but the email contains more information than I want to copy to the Calendar.

So I added a folder named @Pending. Here are the "hard edges" rules I use to decide what goes where:

  • If the email is just a notice, I add it to the calendar and delete the notice.
  • If the email has significant details, I add it to the calendar and file under @Pending until the event occurs. Then I delete it (usually) or file it under the proper reference folder.

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