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implementing GTD "Waiting For"


This is both a suggestion from me for those struggling how to implement GTD Waiting For in Todoist, and also a poll to see how others are doing it. I recently moved to Todoist, as the Outlook and Gmail plugins really drew me in (and slick Android app).

I basically am able to us Todoist as a GTD system, but Waiting for is tricky, as you don't typically want them showing up in searches. So to start I have a label "waiting-for", and it's in red so it stands out clearly. Then I have labels of people, -<person>, I use the "-" so I can easily filter when adding thru the keyboard. Also, I typically with add some text in the task title like, "(wf: Sue to call be back) complete TPD reports". That way, I get a little bit of text describing what exactly I'm waiting for For longer transactions, where a task moves from e to someone else (aka, phone tag situations), I will use multiple notes to track progress, this is nice since the notes are date/timestamped.

Now, when a task becomes delgated or waiting, I label them as such, and then usually put a due date for some days (weeks depending...) in the future when it will pop-up on the Today filter.

However, the main problem arises when you view your Projects, and the waiting-for tasks are all mixed in. Yes, you can filter on something like !@waiting-for, but until Todoist implements saved searches/filters, it's tedious to have to keep remembering to add a !@waiting-for in the search.

So for now, I will typically make the waiting-for tasks a Priority 4, since which makes them drop to the bottom of my Project views. I'm not worried about missing them, since based on the due date set, they'll surface when needed to the the Today view. But putting a Priority 4 on them moves them out of the way when I pick tasks to work on from projects, since I do usually sort by Priority.

Anyway, this is how I do it, I'm curious how others implement a Waiting For mode in Todoist. Granted that when Saved Filters come to the web/desktop versions, this all might be mute ;-)


All responses

Andrew K. Stein  premium
Replied on Dec 28, 2013 - 19:25 UTC

Not sure this is helpful, but I just have a separate "Waiting For" project list at the bottom of my projects. It has a couple items in it. Granted it still comes up in searches, but not too many, since it's so empty.

I track 95% of my Waiting For items through my email clients - Outlook at work (in a folder), Gmail for personal (as a label) -- since pretty much everything I'm actually waiting for is captured in an email. (And if it's not, I usually end up emailing the person to check in on it, at which point it moves to email.)

And then I try to review my Waiting For folders/labels once a week or so to see if I should be checking in on anything.

The other thing I've started doing is using Todoist @labels for "agenda" items, so that something I need to ask my boss gets the label @annes-attention; then when I talk with her next, I can bring it all up. This is a type of "waiting for" item, I guess.

I hope this is helpful.

Rob Labatt  premium
Replied on Oct 09, 2015 - 18:19 UTC

Perhaps a solution could be that if you click on a task circle once it indicates "in process" with a half colored circle. Clicking again closes out the task.
I would love this as I have folders where I put items that are assigned to different teams. I'd love to be able to put an un-started item in the folder (empty circle), when they are known to be working on the item I click once for 'in process' (half filled circle). Click again to indicate the item is completed.
One can then filter for the semi-circle 'working on it' items to see what is happening.
Make sense?

Rick Carter  premium
Replied on Oct 09, 2015 - 18:26 UTC

What Rob said... I came from using Franklin Planners (the actual paper binders) and then Franklin Planner Software (previously known as "Ascend") until every new version made the product worse (I was using FPS v7.3.6 from 2000-2013, then went on a hunt for a replacement and found Todoist). But I did like the open-circle (unfortunately, that's what all Todoist tasks look like now). In the paper notes, you'd put the open-circle with initials next to it of the person/thing you were waiting for. Now to emulate that, at the start of the task I just use square brackets, like [John Doe] or [mailed certificate] . But I like some of the label ideas discussed here, and might consider the P4 idea as well.

Scott Lawrence  premium
Replied on Oct 09, 2015 - 20:46 UTC

Yeah I've gone with a label system. It changes from time to time but my current setup looks like this:

Scott Lawrence  premium
Replied on Oct 09, 2015 - 20:47 UTC

Funny, looking at the image after posting it made me realize I'd mistyped Deployment as Deploymnet :) Fixed.