Streamlining the Follow-up Process: How GTD Can Help You Keep Track
Delegating tasks is a crucial part of any leader’s job. It allows you to focus on more strategic activities and empowers your team to develop new skills and take ownership of their work. However, once you delegate a task, it can be hard to keep track of its progress and ensure that it’s completed on time. This is where a system like GTD (Getting Things Done) can come in handy.
Michael Hyatt, a productivity expert, offers an innovative solution to the problem of tracking delegated tasks in his blog Working Smart. His approach involves creating a special context in your email system called “Waiting For.” Here’s how it works:
1. Set up a free email address: First, you need to set up a separate email address that you’ll use only for tracking delegated tasks. Hyatt suggests using a free email service like Gmail for this purpose.
2. Forward the email to your main account: Next, set up an automatic forwarding rule that will forward any emails sent to the “Waiting For” address to your main email account, so you don’t have to check two different accounts.
3. Use the BCC field: Whenever you delegate a task, BCC your “Waiting For” email address so that you receive a copy of the email in your “Waiting For” folder.
4. Track progress: Once the task is complete or you receive a response from the person you delegated it to, move the email to the appropriate folder or archive it.
Hyatt’s approach has several advantages. It’s simple to set up and doesn’t require any special software or tools. It also enables you to track delegated tasks in real-time and avoids the need for time-consuming follow-up emails or phone calls.
However, there may be some downsides to this approach as well. For example, it may not work for organizations that have strict policies on forwarding emails or using external email services. Also, it may not be suitable for people who prefer to have all their emails in one place, rather than sorting them into different folders or accounts.
If you’re in a similar situation, there are other ways to implement the “Waiting For” concept using your existing email system. For example, you can create a shortcut key that moves emails to a “Waiting For” folder, as the author of this article did. Alternatively, you can use labels or tags to categorize emails based on their status.
For example, you can use a label like “WF” (short for “Waiting For”) to mark emails that you’re tracking. In Gmail, you can create a filter that automatically applies this label to any emails you send to yourself with “WF” in the subject line. You can also set up a filter to forward these emails to your main inbox, so you don’t have to check a separate account.
Using labels or tags has several benefits. It allows you to categorize emails based on their content, status, or priority, which can help you manage your inbox more effectively. You can also search for emails more easily by using the label or tag as a filter. This can save you time when you need to find specific emails or follow up on a particular task.
In conclusion, tracking delegated tasks can be a challenge, but it’s essential to ensure that your team is performing at its best. By using a system like GTD, “Waiting For,” or labels, you can streamline the follow-up process and stay on top of your tasks with ease. Choose the method that works best for your workflow and stick to it consistently. With a little effort, you’ll be able to delegate tasks with confidence and focus on what matters most in your job.