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How to review tickler file?

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  • How to review tickler file?

    When doing a weekly review, here are the questions I ask for each folder:
    • previous calendar data - any followup, remaining action items?
    • upcoming calendar - arrangements and preparation
    • review projects - make sure a kickstart action is there for each
    • review next actions - any reminders of further actions?
    • review "someday" list - anything that can become active? anything to delete?

    Notice that I don't have a "waiting for" bucket. Instead, I use scheduled tasks (aka tickler file) to remind me to follow up with people that I'm waiting for as well as hold tasks that start on a specific day and repeating tasks/projects.

    I've read that the questions to ask when reviewing the waiting for bucket are "anything that has been completed? Do I have reminders?". I don't think those can be applied to a tickler file.
    I've been doing GTD for over a year, and when reviewing my scheduled tasks, I usually just ask myself if any of them need updating, if they can be deleted or activated.

    I haven't seen anything specifically on how to review your tickler file. Do any of you have suggestions? What are the key questions I should be asking?

  • #2
    One thing I always check is if there is anything heavy coming up soon.

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    • #3
      My tickler file isn't part of my weekly review, unless I'm putting things in it. By its very nature, it will remind you of items on the day you have decided appropriate. For some items, I might decide to remind myself early so I can choose nearer the time how to prepare for it.

      I can imagine including my tickler in an annual review but I haven't felt the need to do that in the ~5 years I have been using GTD.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cilias View Post
        I haven't seen anything specifically on how to review your tickler file. Do any of you have suggestions? What are the key questions I should be asking?
        Here's what I do. Each person may have their own way of doing it.

        When I put a reminder into my tickle file, I ask myself "What do I need to do? When? And what words will most effectively remind and motivate me to do that?" For example I might put in a note "Send email to X to remind them about Y if it's still not done." or "Water plants". etc.

        Since the notes are well-designed when I put them in, then when I take them out it's obvious what I should do with them. I don't review the whole tickle file; I just take the things for today's date and do something with them. Some may no longer be necessary but I figure that out when I come to them.

        I apply to the tickle file the same rule that David Allen recommends for calendars: Don't put something in it just because you don't have time to do it today. I find this works really well -- it makes the tickle file much more doable.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by cilias View Post
          When doing a weekly review, here are the questions I ask for each folder:
          • previous calendar data - any followup, remaining action items?
          • upcoming calendar - arrangements and preparation
          • review projects - make sure a kickstart action is there for each
          • review next actions - any reminders of further actions?
          • review "someday" list - anything that can become active? anything to delete?

          Notice that I don't have a "waiting for" bucket. Instead, I use scheduled tasks (aka tickler file) to remind me to follow up with people that I'm waiting for as well as hold tasks that start on a specific day and repeating tasks/projects.

          I've read that the questions to ask when reviewing the waiting for bucket are "anything that has been completed? Do I have reminders?". I don't think those can be applied to a tickler file.
          I've been doing GTD for over a year, and when reviewing my scheduled tasks, I usually just ask myself if any of them need updating, if they can be deleted or activated.

          I haven't seen anything specifically on how to review your tickler file. Do any of you have suggestions? What are the key questions I should be asking?
          We offer a free article on how to use the Tickler File on our free articles site: http://www.davidco.com/free_articles/download

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by cilias View Post
            I haven't seen anything specifically on how to review your tickler file. Do any of you have suggestions? What are the key questions I should be asking?
            I use a digital tickler, and it gets my attention when needed so I don't think about it.

            Comment


            • #7
              It's an inbox for me

              I use my tickler file as an inbox - I'm just deciding ahead of time when I want to see some things.

              Every morning, the first thing I do is empty today's folder (and any others up to the next day I plan to be in the office) and put it on my desk for processing. The types of things in there:
              - directions to and agendas/support material for meetings for the day or next day if I will be leaving straight from home
              - things I want to be reminded of (e.g., I have a weekly list I move from Monday to Monday: a quick review determines if I need to put anything on my action lists or not)
              - things I haven't yet decided about and I'm deferring to later (e.g., seminar info)

              Note that there is nothing in my tickler to which I have a commitment that is not already elsewhere in my system (either in the calendar or on a NA list). Since I review my waiting_for list at least weekly, I don't have any tickler reminders for waiting_fors.

              I'll admit that I sometimes clear my desk into tomorrow's folder if I'm running out the door (like right now - gotta catch a bus). I like arriving to a clear desk and I know it will get processed first thing in the morning.

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