ARTICLES • 02-11-2013

So how do we keep our own traffic lights working all the time, including our own "rush hours"? What does our "cross-road" look like? How do we implement some action circuit that brings pace and order to our system? What are the needed functionality and supporting elements?

Capturing the notion of action-circuit and corresponding functionality was a recent important step for most authors in this area of expertise, being David Allen's workflow management one of the most elegant, still inspiring many of today's finest models.

The logistics analogy

Imagine you are some kind of logistics operator. Your job is to receive packages and deliver them to their destination in a timely fashion. In the next picture, I'm representing in a very simplified way what could be the "circuit" involved.

1. In this analogy, the arriving packages represent each new input in your world: potential tasks. You have some IN-flow, i.e. the group of channels where packages keep arriving all the time.

2 - Each of them has to be analysed. Because most won't come in the format of an action-oriented request, you'll have to figure out what is it that you're supposed to do with them. Let's name this operation "to PROCESS".

3 - Because you may not be able or even want to execute the determined action right away, most likely you'll want to temporarily store them in some ordered way, maybe grouping them based upon urgency level or destination or other criteria - this is the platform we'll call "ACTION REPOSITORY". It's where you keep your action items ready to go.

4 - Finally you select which items go on the next truck. Trucks implement the "execution part". They are "Mr.Robot".

I've also included an "archive wharehouse", which stores packages that were just informative, and have no action-potencial - for example a "cc" email you received, that wasn't asking you to do anything. Some of those you decide to keep in some information repository, more or less sub-divided.

And that's it! This is enough to approach system's features.
Next we'll see which elements have to do what, so that all of this works in an efficient way.

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