How to avoid a defer bomb?

I wonder how other people are dealing with defer bombs.

  • I don’t want to see action items / projects that I know I am not going to
  • To assure these don’t distract me I add defer dates to any item I decide not to do
  • There are two options:
  1. Either I plan the action for a specific day;
  2. Or I don’t know when I can do it and I defer it until a day that I want to consider the action again;

I have a lot of actions that can be categorized under 2. I find myself spending time on deferring tasks several times on a regular basis. Consequently, I find myself staring and spending time on long lists of action items that are remaining, which I neither consider efficient, not effective.

I have 30-40 projects and usually 2-3 larger things to take care of during the week, but the majority of my tasks are follow-up actions that can basically be done any time within one or two weeks. I am responsible for portfolio management at a large company and all projects have multiple people that I need to follow-up with, agree on schedules, deliverables, reporting, etc. I think I have it pretty much covered using OF3, but the defer bombs have always been an issue to me.

I am looking for a workflow that stops me from staring at long lists of remaining items and is more effective in avoiding the defer bomb where I end up with long lists on particular days.

How are you dealing with this?

I have “not right now” as a tag which is on hold. This is for things in category 2. I make a point of scanning it regularly to make sure I pull things out. But it does well for me. (I have a recurring action to check this tag actually!)

I have two Single Action Lists (SALs). One is Office Actions. This SAL has status set to active and review set to 1 day. I have another SAL called Office Someday with status set to on hold and review at every 3 days.

If I know a task is something I want to do now, I move it to Office Actions. If I know the task has a definite start date, I set the defer date. Set the defer date only if there is a clear start date.

If the task is something I want to do in the future but not this week, I’ll put it in Office Someday. This SAL is on hold status and will never have any actions available at all.

I wake up in the morning and see my Office Actions SAL every day. I mark as reviewed. Setting review cycle to 1 day forces me to review Office Actions every day. The Office Someday will only be reviewed every 3 days. If I see a task I want to work on, I move the task from Office Someday to Office Actions.

Some more thoughts here

Thanks for the reply. I have tried a Consider tag similar to your suggestion.
Somehow I still end up digging through long lists of things to consider.
The result is lack of focus, which to me is the whole point of using a system like OF.
These long lists of things to do are distracting to me.

Thanks for the reply. I have not extensively used the Review and Forecast yet.
My next experiment is to use your suggestion combined with the one from @rosemaryjayne.
I expect it is feasible for me to plan on a weekly basis.
I’ll review all projects and actions to consider on Friday’s end of day and plan the next week.