GTD "Waiting for"

Hi to all, i need some suggestion about how implement “waiting for” in a GTD way.


Here are two links to get you started:

Everyone has their own ‘trick’ for making Waiting For (or agendas/people contexts) work for them. For me, having a daily check of an ‘on hold’ Waiting for list is critical - otherwise it just becomes a black hole.

I have found putting the person’s name right at the start of the action very helpful as my eye picks it up quickly rather than having to scan for the name after the ‘Waiting for’ bit - it can also be found quickly with a search. The ‘Waiting For’ text is superflous - I seldom use it, preferring to craft the action title to be more meaningful

So I might have:

  • PhilR - chase the xyz contract variations (due 13 July)
  • An Orange Cat - has (s)he posted back on the Omni forums on what worked for her/him with waiting fors?
  • Amazon - has the router arrived yet (due 7 July)

In the case of the PhilR one, I would set the defer date to 10th July - this would give me the opportunity to give Phil a gentle nudge ‘Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the xyz contract on Monday’ should it be needed.

The due date for the delegated task is in the action so I can see it at a glance. Generally I don’t use OF due dates (and if I do, they are set a week before the ‘true’ deadline). There is lots of stuff here and on the old (much more active in their day, but thankfully archived so still available) forums on why Due Dates are a BAD idea. But I digress…

The other advantage of putting peoples names at the start is that it means that you can often have a single agenda context for a client (or department) rather than having an several agenda lists (one for each person at a client/department) each with only one or two items in it. Just ignore the things for Joe Blogs when you are speaking to PhilR

With all these things, working out what works for you and your particular brain chemistry is what matters. Try a method for a couple of weeks, if it works, keep it, if it doesn’t make a change and test that out. Iteration is the key (provided it doesn’t degenerate into playing with the system rather than getting stuff done)


In addittion to @PhilRob suggestion of putting the person’s name at front of the task I use to put also in brackets the date when the action has been delivered or assigned. That gives to me a clear view of which ones need a follow-up.