Can't Keep up? Make a Waiting For List hero

Can't Keep up? Make a Waiting For List


You live in a world that depends on other people to get work done. On any day you could be waiting for a handful of people to take action on something before you can take the next step on a project. So how do you keep track of all those items?

In Getting Things Done (GTD), David Allen recommends creating a “waiting for” list that shows everything you are waiting for others to do. It’s recommended you date each item so that if you have to follow up with someone, you have a solid timeline.  Remember this list is for items that require your attention after you have completed your part. (Sometimes you delegate work and you don’t have to follow up.)

Last month I won free tickets to a play at a local theater in town. The theater said I would receive an email with instructions for ordering my tickets. The day I won the tickets, I put “email from Stages Theater about free tickets won at Creative Mornings” in my “waiting for” list. Notice how specific I got, which also included the date I won the tickets as a reference.

Almost a full month later I still had not received the email, so I went to the theater website and filled out a contact form requesting information for my free tickets. The next day I got an email with clear instructions and an apology from the theater because the person in charge of my tickets was on vacation.

If I had not put this item on my “waiting for” list, I might have forgotten about the show. Thanks to this helpful tool, I was able to see a great show because it wasn’t forgotten.

There are more important items that can go on your “waiting for” list than free tickets to a play. What if you’re waiting for a proposal to be written, an invoice to be paid, or a doctor’s report to come in? The “waiting for” list becomes a necessity in cases like these.

And most importantly, if you have multiple items pending at the same time, this tool is a worry-free alternative to ensure things aren’t missed.

To get started, get out a blank piece of paper, set a timer for ten minutes and write down everything you are waiting for from someone else. Feel free to move this list into your to-do app and make sure you visit this list at regularly scheduled intervals, or set reminders on your calendar for those time-sensitive items.

You will be amazed at how smart you look when you follow up with a cold lead, a delayed email, or a software update when the rest of the world around you lets these little things get missed in this busy world.

Do you have any stories about how your “waiting for” list saved you from trouble? Let me know in the comments.

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Your guide to creating a powerful and intuitive development workflow in the terminal.

The terminal is a powerful tool for developers, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This guide will help you create a powerful development environment in the terminal. Here are some of the things you'll learn.

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