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How to manage actions as they come up?

I am reasonably happy with the notion of generating actions from incoming items or from projects but I am a bit confused about how I should deal stuff that appears during the day. For example, somebody might come into my office at work and say, "the printer is not working". Should I process that on the spot, decide that it is an action and write it into my @Work context? Or should I consider it as an input, write it on a bit of paper and throw it in my inbox? Ideally I would be happier with the latter, but how well that would work in practice depends on how often I review my inbox, versus the importance / priority of the potential tasks that the input represents.

To continue the example, if the seemingly innocuous printer problem is actually preventing the submission of a multi-million pound grant application, then it becomes far more important. But while that bit of paper is sitting in my inbox, I will not get around to processing it until the end of the day, or maybe the end of the week.

I guess I may be looking for too much intellegence in the system. Perhaps I should be able to know intuitively whether the inputs that arrive during the day are incredibly urgent? I could always ask the person how critical the problem is for them, but that feels very much like processing.

I would be interested to hear how other people handle this - the problem is actually more to do with being forced into a responsive, event driven mode of work rather than with GTD specifically.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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