Workplace Hack: The Waiting-For List

One of the most important things you can do to boost your productivity is learn to delegate effectively. If you don’t have time to do something, and it needs doing, get someone else to do it. But how do you keep track of tasks that you’ve delegated?

While most of us keep a to-do list to help us remember everything we need to get done, have you ever considered using a ‘waiting-for’ list, to help you remember the things you’re waiting for other people to do?

The waiting-for list is an important feature of the Getting Things Done productivity system. Whether you use GTD or not, the waiting-for list is a great way to help you keep on top of your work.

A Year Of Productivity blogger, Chris Bailey, is a big advocate of the waiting-for list…

“I see the Waiting For list as the to-do list’s sexy, secret lover. Sexy, because it works so well; secret, because no one knows about it or uses it; and lover, because the two lists work so well together. The Waiting For list lets you stay on top of your work, and it will make you infinitely more productive.”

To follow this workplace hack, keep a waiting-for list along with your to-do list, and note down everything you’re waiting for. Whether you’re waiting for someone to reply to an email or phone call, waiting for a colleague to proofread a report or waiting for a delivery, write it down on your list.

Once you’ve started keeping your list, you need to make time to review it daily, or weekly, so you can chase up whatever you’re waiting for.

Have you tried a waiting-for list? Share your experiences in the comments below.


This hack is part of a series of weekly workplace hacks that teaches you about collaboration, productivity and time saving tips. Published every Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Alyssa L. Miller via Compfight cc