[w] = I’m waiting for you

Did you know that using a simple [w] in your emails can greatly improve the quality of your life? Read this step-by-step explanation for Microsoft Outlook to find out how this works exactly.

If you delegate, order, or ask anything by email, you can instruct Outlook to add that email to a Waiting For list, just by adding a simple [w] to the body of the email.

A [w] at the bottom of your email is so inconspicuous, that most people will not even notice it. However, it can be a powerful tool to keep your Waiting For list up to date and your mind at rest.
To enable this feature, we'll have to create a new WaitingFor-Email folder and add a rule.


1. Create a New WaitingFor-Email Folder


  1. Press Ctrl+Shift+E to create a new folder
  2. Specify "WaitingFor-Email" as name of the new folder
  3. Choose "Mail and Post Items" from the dropdown box
  4. Select the highest (root) folder in the folder hierarchy
  5. Press the OK button


2. Add a rule to copy outgoing emails with a [w] in the body to the new WaitingFor-Email folder

  1. From the main menu select: Tools | Rules and Alerts(If your Outlook is setup to connect with an Exchange-server, you may not be able to open this Rules and Alerts dialog, until you are connected to the Exchange-server.)
  2. Press the New Rule button
  3. Select the option "Check messages after sending"
  4. Press the Next button
  5. Select the item "with specific words in the body"
  6. Click with your mouse on the blue underlined text at the bottom: "specific words" to display the Search Text dialog:


  1. Type [w] in the upper edit box:



  • Press the Add button:
  • Press the OK button
  • Press the Next button


  • Select the item "move a copy to a specified folder":
  • Click with your mouse on the blue underlined text at the bottom: "specified" to display the Rules and Alerts folder find dialog.


  • Select the WaitingFor-Email folder, then press the OK button:
  • Press the Finish button to return to the Rules and Alerts dialog
  • Press the OK button to return to the main Outlook window


3. Test your new [w] rule

Now test your new [w] rule to see if it works.

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+M to create a new email
  • Compose and send a new email to yourself. Don't forget to add a [w] to the body of this email.


  • After sending this email, press Ctrl+Y and navigate to the WaitingFor-Email folder, then press the OK button:


  • If everything has been set up correctly, you should see a copy of the message that you sent, with the [w] in it:


It took a few steps to setup, but now you can add a [w] to any email you send and Outlook will automatically archive a copy for you in the WaitingFor-Email folder.
The one thing you now have to do is review the WaitingFor-Email folder every week (or more often if your situation calls for that) and check if there is any follow up you need to do.  Your subconscious mind can forget about these things, as they are safe in the folder.

It's easy to spread the news: just add the following text to your e-mails, instead of just a simple [w]:

[w] http://waiting-for.com

Adding the URL to this site enables the recipients of your message to look for themselves what the [w] is all about and gives them the recipe for a less stressful life, too!

You can use auto-completion software like the built-in Microsoft Word editor to make this as easy as possible.

The Waiting For list is one of the crucial concepts from the book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen. If you're in for more ideas about a less stressful, but very productive life: read that book.

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