One trick that really helps me is keeping a list of how many consecutive weekly reviews I have done. I file that list in my Thursday tickler folder (marked with a post-it flag so I can always find it easily among all those numbers), and I get to add another one to the total each week. Since I started doing this, I have done 16 straight weekly reviews. For some reason, getting to add that next number to the list really motivates me.
I love this. Does any else have any cool, creative ways of using tickler files? I'm getting bored with just paying bills on time .
I use a physical tickler file - 31 daily folders and 12 monthly folders. My tickler file has become essential for maintaining some daily sanity. It reminds me when to check back on projects, plan for upcoming events, and just generally keep things moving along (as well as paying bills).
For me, the tickler file enables me to trust my system to bring things back to my attention at the appropriate time & in the appropriate context. When something goes into its proper place in the tickler file, I feel free to forget it.
I also use the tickler file for inspiration. When I read something inspirational that I want to see again, I just drop a copy of it in the tickler file at random. I do the same thing with a list of GTD quotes & thoughts gleaned from David's books, the CD, and quotes or ideas from this BB. It's nice when a quote or idea pops up - maybe something I had forgotten about or had moved away from in my implementation. It helps me to re-focus and remember that this is a system, not just a bunch of unrelated ideas.
My most complicated use of a Tickler file is for a repeated project at work. I have an approver that wants me to send her a list of all documents in a particular project, but only if there are at least five new completed documents for her to approve. A complicated request!
I have a piece of paper that outlines this process, with a sticky note. On that sticky note I write the date when I last sent the list, and the number of completed documents at that time. Every Friday, that piece of paper comes up, and I compare the current number of completed documents with the number on the sticky note. If there are more than five new completed documents, I send her the new list, remove the sticky note, and add a new one with the current date and total. Then the paper goes back into the Tickler file for next Friday.
I also use my Tickler file for recurring reminders. I have one that reminds me to change my passwords every three months.
My tickler file is a very big part of my GTD implementation. Here are a few of the other things I use it for:
I plan my menu and shopping list for the week on Saturday mornings during Car Talk. I put one issue of Fine Cooking magazine and recipes that I've clipped from the paper into the next Saturday folder. It helps me to keep trying new recipes and justifies having the magazine subscription. It doesn't help keep the weight down, however
I have a list of food rich in calcium that comes up every day to remind me to eat foods I should be eating.
I also keep an "active projects" folder in my tickler file which I review each day, at least briefly. Each project has a single sheet of paper where I can write down next actions, ideas, reminders, etc. that aren't ready to go into the Palm Pilot. Projects that need more backup have their own folders, but the "active project" folder basically works as my project list. It's finals week at the moment, so a lot of my projects are "on hold". I simply take the sheets for those projects and put them in the tickler file for the day after finals are over, knowing that they will be "reactivated" when I'm ready to get back to them. I could put the reactivation dates in the Palm Pilot, but this is a whole lot quicker.
One of my biggest goals over the next two years is to make sure I don't neglect my significant other during all the stress and distraction of being at school. We've been marrried for 14 years, so I have a fairly big stash of anniversary and birthday cards he has given me over the years. I put one of those into each Monday and Friday file so I start and end my week with a strong reminder of how important our relationship is.
Gameboy -- hope these give you some ideas for your own tickler.