I use David Allen’s approach outlined in his classic book Getting Things Done. Among his many excellent suggestions, one has been particularly helpful to me – and I think it will be for you also. He recommends we all keep a Waiting For list, on which we capture all the things we’re waiting for, e.g., a colleague who commits to getting a first draft of an important letter to me by May 15, an item that a friend promises to send me, a key part of a larger project that has to be completed by June 1 for the project to proceed, etc. It could even be a remainder that a vendor committed to mail something to me. As a CEO, once I began keeping track of things my staff promised me by a certain date – and I would contact them if they didn’t – my seven VPs’ responsiveness rose dramatically.
This one technique has made my life smoother and better. Try it.