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Bills to pay : calendar or tickler or NA list?

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  • Bills to pay : calendar or tickler or NA list?

    Hello again,

    I'm gradually working through the book and sorting out my "stuff" and I can't find a ref in the book about time-sensitive things like bills-to-pay.

    A bill has to be paid by a certain date, so does it go on the calendar (to feel bad when I don't get round to it that day) or on a NA (might miss the date if other things appear more important, or pay it too early) ??

    What do you guys and gal do with bills that come in?

    Cheers,

    Andy

  • #2
    Routine projects

    Learned from someone else..

    I have routine projects for various timelines... daily, weekly, bi-weekly.

    Bills to pay is a bi-weekly routine item.. I just put the bill in the Bills-to-pay support folder.

    I have development projects for one time true projects, per se

    Comment


    • #3
      For one thing, most of my bills are paid automatically. Of what's left, I pay the Visa bill on the 20th and the mortgage on the 1st. So those get dropped into the Tickler.

      Here's the twist. I have long made a charitable donation when I pay the Visa bill. Now with my beloved Tickler, I can drop charity letters into the 20 folder. This also holds the list of who I've given to for the last year. So when I pull the folder, I go through the letters and pick one to make a donation to. The rest get tossed.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for the replies ...

        I pay the Visa bill on the 20th and the mortgage on the 1st
        Hmm - I bet you didn't look thro' all your tickler file to find that out - you probably remembered it

        What happens when you miss a day of looking at the tickler? And its the 1st or 20th? The bill won't get paid. In my old system, the bill was always there on my desk as a consant reminder, so maybe I should put it onto the NA list and get niggled by it every day?

        As I haven't fully implemented the system yet, I'm not really qualified to comment much - but - it does seem like slavery to me - every single day of the rest of your life you are going to have to look at the tickler folders and lists - just in case you miss something

        Or am I missing something

        Cheers,

        Andy

        Comment


        • #5
          I put the due dates of my bills in my calendar since they have to be done on a certain day. I check over my calendar for the upcoming week during my weekly review so I'm aware of what needs to be paid.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by andycragg
            As I haven't fully implemented the system yet, I'm not really qualified to comment much - but - it does seem like slavery to me - every single day of the rest of your life you are going to have to look at the tickler folders and lists - just in case you miss something

            Or am I missing something
            You're missing the alternative: every single day for the rest of your life worrying that you've forgotten something because you don't have a tickler to check or a list to put it on.

            Checking my tickler file every day takes less time than brushing my teeth, and the benefits are at least as dramatic.

            I actually use a different system for bills, though. I have a once a week reminder to "do money stuff," which includes paying bills, entering receipts and whatever else needs to be done. Stuff just goes into a standing file on my desk as it comes in, and stays there until my next reminder comes up.

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by andycragg
              What happens when you miss a day of looking at the tickler? And its the 1st or 20th? The bill won't get paid. In my old system, the bill was always there on my desk as a consant reminder, so maybe I should put it onto the NA list and get niggled by it every day?

              As I haven't fully implemented the system yet, I'm not really qualified to comment much - but - it does seem like slavery to me - every single day of the rest of your life you are going to have to look at the tickler folders and lists - just in case you miss something
              Right, if you use a tickler to remind you of important, time-sensitive tasks like paying bills, you gotta check it every day. But if you missed the 20th, hopefully you would check your tickler at least a few days later, so then at least the payment wouldn't be too late. Or you could put the bill into an earlier date in the tickler to give yourself a little cushion. But if you don't check the tickler at least semi-regularly, it's not going to be a helpful tool.

              On the other hand, isn't the bill's constant presence on your desk as a niggling reminder a form of slavery too? Do you really want to remind yourself of the bill many times before you actually need to pay it?

              Setting bills up on autopay is a great time-saver. I do it with every bill I can. The rest I pay online after the reminder appears on my NA list as described in this post. The only thing I must look at regularly is my NA list.

              Comment


              • #8
                Write check, drop in tickler.

                I use a trick I gleaned from the Getting Things Done Fast CDs:

                When I'm processing my in-box and find a bill to be paid, I write the check then and there, put a stamp on the envelope and get it all ready to mail. (Rarely takes more than 2 minutes to do this.)

                Then I count ten days back from the date the payment has to be received by the payee, and drop it into the tickler file for that date. Credit card payment has to get there by the 21st? Drop it in the tickler for the 11th.

                The 11th comes around, I find the envelope in the tickler file, and off it goes. As for the rare occasion that I skip checking the tickler for a day, well 8 or 9 days is still plenty of time for the payment to get were it's going.

                This has been an enormous change for me -- I used to have one big "bills to pay" folder, and that was a nightmare. Then I started putting the unpaid bills in the tickler file, but that led me to avoid looking at the tickler file because of all the un-done working and thinking I knew was lurking in there. Now all the working and thinking about bills is done up front, so it's a pleasure to use the tickler system.
                Last edited by Tetsujin; 11-07-2005, 04:09 PM.

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                • #9
                  For me, the most effective method has been to put them in my tickler file. But (and this is a big but), you have to have built the habit of checking your tickler file daily.

                  I'll usually drop them in 5 days before they are due.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by andycragg
                    I bet you didn't look thro' all your tickler file to find that out - you probably remembered it
                    Yep! Those have been my bill-paying days long before I discovered GTD.
                    Originally posted by andycragg
                    What happens when you miss a day of looking at the tickler? And its the 1st or 20th? The bill won't get paid.
                    If you miss a day checking your tickler, you pull all the folders until you're caught up. Also those days give me plenty of leeway; if I pay a bill a day or two later, it still gets there in time.
                    Originally posted by andycragg
                    [It seems] like slavery to me - every single day of the rest of your life you are going to have to look at the tickler folders and lists - just in case you miss something

                    Or am I missing something
                    It's all in how you look at it. Remember, every day for the rest of your life, you will do things. Some you want to do, some you have to do. GTD is just a way to manage your comitments. And it's totally up to you how you implement it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tetsujin
                      When I'm processing my in-box and find a bill to be paid, I write the check then and there, put a stamp on the envelope and get it all ready to mail. (Rarely takes more than 2 minutes to do this.)

                      Then I ...drop it into the tickler file...[the day rolls around], I find the envelope in the tickler file, and off it goes.
                      What a great idea! Thanks!

                      Originally posted by Tetsujin
                      This has been an enormous change for me -- I used to have one big "bills to pay" folder, and that was a nightmare.
                      Me, too. Plus a folder to keep the charity letters. What a pain. The tickler is much better.

                      By the way, I get the impression that I like my tickler more than most people. Dropping things in gets them off my mind enough that I have no idea what will come up. For example, we usually buy bus passes toward the end of the month. So I drop it into the "1" folder--and totally forget it's there. So when I pull it, there's my pass! Neat! It's like getting little presents sometimes.

                      Others have suggested things like dropping in funny pictures or inspiring quotes to give you something to look forward to. Does anyone else "bribe" themselves to stay interested in the tickler?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Good ideas, thanks

                        Well that all sounds good, I'll put my bills into the Tickler, paid and stamped!

                        I feel better about this now - I guess the GTD system is a tool to be used rather than A Way Of Life - or is it ?

                        Thanks for the replies, this is the most helpful forum I've visited for many years - so expect some more rantings from me until I learn !

                        Cheers,

                        Andy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tetsujin

                          When I'm processing my in-box and find a bill to be paid, I write the check then and there, put a stamp on the envelope and get it all ready to mail. (Rarely takes more than 2 minutes to do this.)

                          Then I count ten days back from the date the payment has to be received by the payee, and drop it into the tickler file for that date. Credit card payment has to get there by the 21st? Drop it in the tickler for the 11th.
                          If the bill is ready to be mailed, why put it in the tickler? Why not just mail it? Do you have some doubt about whether or not you're really going to pay it?

                          JDC

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by andycragg

                            I guess the GTD system is a tool to be used rather than A Way Of Life - or is it ?
                            Could be either. Take your pick.

                            I took a look at your web site. Nice work.

                            JDC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JDC
                              If the bill is ready to be mailed, why put it in the tickler? Why not just mail it? Do you have some doubt about whether or not you're really going to pay it?

                              JDC
                              Managing cash flow can be a challenge for some individuals and for many businesses. Paying bills earlier than required often is not possible because sufficient deposits have not been made to the bank account.

                              Mailing checks to oneself in the future is a sound method for managing cash flow.

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