Here are two inescapable truths about the world for work. First of all, our work is dependent and intertwined with that of our colleagues. Whether you work in a large organization or as a freelancer we are constantly sending messages out to others that require a response in order to advance our projects. The second inescapable truth is that a certain percentage of our colleagues will fail to respond to those messages. Therefore, it is important to have a system in place to keep track of all the messages that are sent out so that they can be followed up on when needed.
The simplest way to do this is through a “Waiting For” folder. A “Waiting For” folder is a depository for copies of any message which requires a response. Most of the time, our colleagues respond quickly. However, the “Waiting For” folder pays dividends for those times when a response is lagging. A best practice is to check the “Waiting For” folder at least once a week. While browsing through the contents make an executive decision on each message: Do you follow up to encourage action or let it lie fallow for another week?
The “Waiting For” folder is essential to ensure that important delegated tasks do not fall through the cracks. Make one for paper workflow and one in your email and then see it deliver peace of mind.