Saturday, April 12, 2008

Deferring to a person from your contact list

See here.

Is this something that most people would use? I think strict GTD describes using Waiting For to indicate a delegated task. But it doesn't discuss keeping track of who you delegated to. One concern would be that you should use either 'Waiting For' or 'Deferred To [Person]' exclusively, but not both as that might get confusing. Or perhaps 'Deferred To...' implies a 'Waiting For' status. It wouldn't be too hard to make a list showing all deferred actions, perhaps grouped by who they're deferred to which would be a useful addition to the action dashboards.


Anonymous Steve Cook said...

"Deferred to person" means that you are resolving your task by delegating it to someone else. No follow up needed.

"Waiting for" implies some kind of follow up, perhaps a tickler, or check at review time. There are two kinds of waiting for: 1) person, and/or 2) event. Grouping these items by contact under Waiting for is superfluous. The waiting for person items need to be given the @calls context. Further grouping here may be useful, however.

1:19 AM PDT  
Blogger simon said...

This is an interesting discussion. I've been working under the assumption that there was little difference between 'waiting for' and 'delegated'. Do you think the fact that something is delegated means no need to follow up? I would guess that you might follow up delegated items to ensure their completion. I've been using 'future' to mean 'waiting for event' and 'waiting for' as the 'waiting for person' you describe. But I'm open to different interpretations.
'Future' is my invention actually, not a David Allen term. I needed it to describe an action that can't be completed right away, but might as well be stored as it is known to be coming up, usually dependant on the completion of other actions. Do you think I should be using Waiting For this purpose?

5:21 AM PDT  
Blogger TheBashar99 said...

Good discussion. I have a slightly different take than you do, Simon. I use "Future" actions almost exclusively for the steps in projects that are dependent on the current Next Actions of that project. This matches my recollections of David's GTD book.

As such, I'm always using the [P] to open the project _before_ I click the done checkbox on a Next Action so I can move one of the futures to a Next. In fact, it would be really handy if the project would automatically open if when completing a Next there were no more Next or Waiting's for that project.

Separately from these Future actions, I see "Waiting" items as things that are waiting on either another person (like delegated results) or some non-time based external event. Examples for me are I'm waiting for my boss to okay my vacation dates and I'm also waiting for when I get enough feedback to a usenet question.

As such, there is always a target of my waiting - the person I deferred to or the event I'm waiting for. By convention, my waiting for tiddlers are called "person/event; action" and then I manually remove the first section from the name when I move it to a Next Action.

It would be handy if there was a field for the target of the wait (that would go away on becoming a Next Action), but I would like it to not be too tightly bound to a contact. For me, it's a 50/50 split of waiting for people (contacts) or for some kind of event.

I've mentioned Future actions as being my dependent next actions and Waiting as non-time person/event waiting. For completeness I use ticklers for time-dependant Next Actions. Often these have two flavors. One flavor is do something on some specific date. These I wish I could somehow easily transform into a starred Next Action. The other flavor for me is "check some condition" alarms that are usually tied to one of my "Waiting" items.

So, that's my $0.02.

3:10 PM PDT  
Blogger Michael said...

I too would like a field for the target of a wait. Waiting For is fine once I've delegated, but I need reminding to delegate in the first place!

1:55 AM PDT  

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