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  • Tickler File

    In Getting Things Done, one of the suggested tools is a tickler file. For my purposes, it seems too unwielding and more hassle then it is worth. I get very few documents, such as upcoming meeting agendas, that would be needed on a specific future day. But I do need to track those few. Does anybody else use a tickler file as David has lain out? How have you implemented it? How have you implemented alternative ideas?

  • #2
    Using a tickler file

    My family and I have found the tickler file to be essential.
    I have one at work and one at home.
    The critical process is to check it every day.
    Occasionally I forget to 'pull' a day, and particularly at home this can cause problems.
    The tickler does not take much room; at work it fits in a single file folder, and at home we keep it in the front of a file box near the breakfast table.
    At home we refer to it as the morning mail delivery.
    My sons file reminders to themselves of things they need to bring to school with them on particular days.

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    • #3
      Tickler/Holding

      I diarize all of my Ticklers, so I don't need to go through the Tickler File during the Weekly Review. I have found 31/12 filing to be overkill when my Calendar tells me what I need to know - one "Holding" file is enough for me. I have tried several ways to condense the 31/12 system to something more than just one "Holding" file and nothing works for me. Therefore, the only 2 options I would consider would be the full 31/12 and one "Holding" file.

      Andrew

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      • #4
        I use a Tickler at both work and at home.

        However, I've recently made an effort to decide whether I really need the piece of physical paper I'm processing, or just the information embedded within it.

        For example, if you're using a Palm, you can copy the agenda for the meeting as an attached note in the calendar appt for the meeting.

        If you're using a paper planner, maybe you can jot that information on the entry in the calendar there or in the daily notes section for that day.

        If you really need to keep the paper, you might want to just paper clip it to the week or day page for the meeting.

        As DA says, a Tickler file is all or nothing. If you're not in the habit of checking it everyday (and if you don't put much in it, it's tough to maintain that habit) then you won't trust it and things will fall through the cracks.

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        • #5
          Tickler File Adaptation

          I utilize the "full version" (31/12) at work and a "condensed version" at home. My home file has all the monthly folders; only instead of dailies I set up 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-31.
          I have so few paper-ticklers @home that no matter how the days fall, I stay ahead by processing the next "set" of days each week-end when I review & upate my calendar/lists.

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          • #6
            I too use the tickler, but only the monthly files. I process very little hard copy, and so I simply review each month's folder at the beginning of the month.

            Gordon

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            • #7
              Minimal tickler file

              I use a minimal tickler file that is Mon, Tue, ... Fri, next week and next month. This is easy to process weekly

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              • #8
                tickler file

                I also have one at the office and one at home. I consider it essential. One of the key uses for me is repeating tasks. I make a quick notecard with the task (take out trash, enter monthly time tracking) and the repeat frequency (Tickle Mondays, Tickle on the 30th). The file gets checked every morning, and the card sits on my desk until it is done. I don't leave the office or go to bed until the task is done, and the card re-tickled. I never forget anymore.

                Another of my favorites is to make a folder for every regular, repeating meeting I have. I then put it in the tickler file for the next scheduled meeting day. As things pop up that I need to bring to the meeting, I just toss them in the folder. The morning of the meeting, my folder is out and ready to go. No more last minute hunting.

                About forgetting to check everyday: I made a little piece of cardboard that says "check tickler", and I put it in a place where I have to touch it in the morning (top of keyboard, on keys or wallet). When I see it, I automatically reach for today's tickler folder and empty it. Then I put the piece of cardboard in another place that I will have to touch before I leave (on top of briefcase, space where I lay my wallet). That way I have to move it out of the way and "reload" it for the next day.

                One last thing: re-read the PDF in the tips section of this Web site re: tickler files. There are lots of things besides meetings to stick in your folders. Best of luck.

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                • #9
                  I have a tickler file set up with microsoft outlook since I use it every day. I just toss things in appropriate folders (bills, to-read, etc) and then in my tickler entry write down where to find the item. Maybe it isn't the exact system but it works for me and every morning I can see what I am supposed to do.

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                  • #10
                    I have used tickler files for over 20 years and have found them to be the most efficient tool I know for getting paper out of my life and making sure it stares me in the face exactly on the day I need it.

                    I have found it particularly helpful in "batching" work. For example, in the December file there is a list of everyone to whom I send a birthday card each year, complete with address and birthday. When this pops up in December, I go to a discount card shop and buy for everyone on the list. At one sitting, I sign and seal the cards, address the envelopes, put return address stickers on all of the envelopes. On the spot where the stamp is going to go, I pencil the date the card needs to go in the mail. Then, I sort the whole stack into the appropriate tickler files and forget about borthday cards for a year. The cards appear when they need to go in the mail without my doing a thing.

                    The idea of one "holding" folder had been mentioned. I used that successfully in high school and undergraduate years in college. I would write the appropriate tickler date on a scrap of paper and paper clip it to any papers needed on that date. The papers were chronological, so the daily routine was to open the folder and look at what was on the very top.

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