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  • Tickler Files

    I get the 31 days 12 months = 43 folders.

    If I can't get everything done in the folder that day, does the stuff get moved to the next day?

    and what goes into the folders? action lists and projects?

    I guess my concern is over planning, too much to do in one day/week/month.

    That's what is happening now. I over goal.

    thanks

  • #2
    Using the Tickler Files

    I use my tickler file for physical items that should show up on a specific day.
    Just check the folder to a) be reminde,d and b) have the items that you need
    Examples:
    Dry cleaning ticket (when you first get the ticket, put it in the folder for the pickup day)
    Paper work, co-pay check, etc to take to a doctor's appointment
    Bill to mail on that day (decide in advance which day they should be mailed)

    Lists don't belong in your tickler file, unless you need the list to show up on a specific day. Example:
    You plan to pack for Monday's trip on Sunday, and have a packing list ready to go. Place the packing list in your Sunday folder.
    BTW, I use a wooden bill holder with 31 slots as my tickler.

    Comment


    • #3
      I use my tickler file as a dated inbox. Literally. I take stuff out of the tickler file for that day, put it in my inbox, and process as normal.

      The "stuff" is anything on which I wanted to defer a decision, or for which I wanted to be reminded at a given time. Theater tickets, travel itineraries, brochures for conferences I might attend, client followup reminders, etc.

      However, the tickler file is *not* an NA list, a calendar, or a project list. It works with those components of your system, it does not replace them.

      So your questions really don't make any sense for a tickler file as I understand it. If an item had to be done on any particular day, it should be on your calendar. If it didn't, it should be in your NA lists. Your NA and project lists should be readily accessible, not tucked away in a folder, and should generally not have specific dates assigned to the items.

      Hope this helps,

      Katherine

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      • #4
        Also, you should remember that a tickler file is not essential for implementing GTD.

        I don't use one, and I suspect that many others don't as well.

        Comment


        • #5
          I love the idea of the tickler file - I thought it was ingenious when I first read about it!

          However, although I'd love to, I've not set one up as I'd never have enough items in there to warrant its use.

          Instead, for any items that would go in a tickler file, I simply put a reminder on the calendar in Outlook and put the actual item in a single manila folder/wallet I set-up called "Future File" for all such items.

          A neat side effect of this, is that as I also set the calendar item/reminder to have a category of "Future File" too, if I view Outlooks calendar events by category, I get a complete list of what's in the actual manila "Future File" folder.

          Means if I'm looking for something and I'm not sure if it's in the Future File or in it's own A-Z Reference/Project file a quick search in Outlook soon tells me.

          The only things in it right now are some cards to give out at Christmas and some coupons for use only in December!

          The only things I put in it are items that are not particularly linked to a project or a reference file.

          In other words, for me, items such as train tickets and the like, tend to be part of a project and therefore go in the project folder instead.

          Bills etc go in their own reference folders, grouped by company name.

          So I tend not to have that many items that would go in there.

          Best regards,

          Andy.
          Last edited by AndyD; 09-04-2007, 12:36 PM. Reason: Typo & Clarity

          Comment


          • #6
            Finally using a Tickler File

            I finally set up my tickler file, and although I may be using it "wrong" I set it up to meet a concrete need I was having, that was holding me up in emptying my inbox, that was in turn, holding me up in doing a thorough weekly review. I put in a day, documents related to the work I plan to be working on. For example, if I'm planning to edit an article or read a student's paper, the article or students paper goes into the tickler for that day. If I don't end up getting to it and it is important, it gets moved to the next day. While these kinds of things might go into a reference file, I need them immediately available and in my face so to speak. They are the documents I'm currently engaged with, and I don't want to put them into a reference file or leave them in my inbox which is what I was doing. This has allowed me to clear my inbox daily (or almost daily) and if nothing else it has allowed me to get my inbox to 0 during the weekly review. My ticker file is on wheels, very convenient if I am moving where I'm sitting in my office. The document I'm supposed to be editing, grading, etc., is right there in front of me, and everything is in far better order than it was before I built the tickler file.

            Lynn

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            • #7
              Implementing a tickler file has been one of the more successful parts of my GTD setup.

              For me, it is the driver that essentially equals "process this item on a specific day". What "process" entails depends on the nature of the item, but it allows me to keep my action lists, well, more actionable.

              For example, there's no sense clogging up my @Telephone action list with a call that I don't need to make for 2 weeks. If the item's in my tickler file, I trust that I'll see it when I need to and I spend no time on the item before I can do something with it.

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              • #8
                > If I can't get everything done in the folder that day, does the stuff get moved to the next day?

                No, it just shows up like something new in your inbox. For each thing, you decide what needs doing. If it's a reminder to act (e.g., "book sale starts today") it might kick off action (e.g., "errands: drop by book store"). Another might be a waiting for reminder (e.g., "2 weeks since Bob promised report - done?"), which might kick off a follow-up contact.

                Generally, carrying forward like you suggest is a big red flag in my book. It's one of the fundamental philosophical differences between Allen's thinking (one master action list, and specific constrained use of the calendar), and the "schedule everything, but roll unfinished work forward" approach more popular in other systems, and in the past.

                (Side note: I recall a few months ago a cryptic news item from David Allen about moving in the latter direction, with some caveats re: rolling forward, etc. Anyone heard more about that? Or is that part of the new book...? Inquiring Minds want To Know!)

                > and what goes into the folders? action lists and projects?

                There are a few classes of things - reminders, mainly. Examples:claim checks, deadlines, milestones, w/f, etc. (I'd like to see a tight, small list of categories if anyone has this...)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Here's what's written on various sheets of paper in my tickler:

                  Mail out Halloween party invitations
                  Review materials for class
                  Weekly Review (every Sunday)
                  Check and clean out spam folder (every 30 days)
                  Clean truck and check fluids, tire pressure, etc. (every other Sunday)
                  Re-read The Elements of Style (every year)

                  Every couple of days, I pull out the papers that are due, and toss them in my inbox. When I next process my inbox, I add appropriate items to my Actions lists, and any paper with a repeating date goes back in at the appropriate date.

                  For me, the tickler is a reminder for dated events. Nothing more.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My system is mostly electronic, but I've been maintaining the 43 folders for stuff like tickets to sporting events, car registration renewal forms from the state, etc.

                    What I've come to realize, though, is that I just don't have enough paper stuff in my world to support all 43 folders. As a result, I often neglect to check those folders on a daily basis. Forunately, this neglect doesn't cause any significant issues for me, because I usually back up the tickler item by putting a reminder on my calendar (apparently, I trust my calendar more than my tickler file).

                    The result is that I have several minutes of extra overhead during each weekly review just shuffling empty folders.

                    Starting next week, I'm going to dump the daily folders in favor of a 12 folder system in combination with tickler entries on my calendar. This may also turn out to be a time-waster, in which case I like AndyD's approach of using a single "Future" file.

                    In retrospect, I suppose I should have started with a single folder and then expanded as the need arose.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Most of the things in my tickler file are papers I will need on a particular for named events in my calendar e.g. meeting minutes, tickets for a concert.

                      I do use the monthly tickler folder for NAs that have to be done on a certain day, but at the beginning of the month when I am transferring the documents to the day folders, I put a dated NA in my context lists and set the alarm on my PDA for 8am, which is just before I leave for work. That seems to be the only way I can make sure I see it!

                      I don't actually use folders but transparent wallets in a ring-binder, so I can see the contents without actually opening individual folders, and they are much easier to flip through.

                      Ruth

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                      • #12
                        Calendar vs. Ticker

                        I do use the monthly tickler folder for NAs that have to be done on a certain day
                        So isn't this what a calendar is for? If not, what should I put on the calendar apart from things to do on a certain day?

                        This is more a question about me. The quote just triggered it off. Your system obviously works fine for you.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by blair_one View Post
                          So isn't this what a calendar is for? If not, what should I put on the calendar apart from things to do on a certain day?

                          This is more a question about me. The quote just triggered it off. Your system obviously works fine for you.
                          Good point. I don't use my calendar for NAs - I use it for what I consider the hard landscape stuff i.e. meetings and appointments (which take up about 80% of my working week). It's shared with my secretary and the administrators - and its main purpose is to tell me and them where I am supposed to be at any given time, and what available time I have for my secretary to arrange more meetings and appointments in. I do block out "meetings with myself" for specific tasks e.g. writing reports after my clinic (I'm a paediatrician)

                          Then I use the task list in Outlook with dates for either things that must be done on or by a certain day. I rarely have things that must be done ON a certain day other than meetings and appointments (maybe two or three a month). I use @agenda if I have an item that must be raised at a specific meeting.

                          Ruth
                          Ruth

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                          • #14
                            Firstly, I started a transparent pockets (we call them clear files) in a ring binder for a tickler. I used 1 clear file per month. I may go back to it as it'd have to use a whole drawer in our file cabinet but I wouldn't have very much to put in it. Thanks for reminding me of that idea.

                            Second, it sounds like you use a calendar like I do: for appointments. My feeling is that sometimes people get so vague and say 'hard landscape' when they mean meetings and appointments and things they know they have to do on that day.

                            I'm learning how to date next actions and then put them in my calendar when I know they are definitely due on the day they must be done by. Thanks for sharing how you do it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kewms View Post
                              So your questions really don't make any sense for a tickler file as I understand it. If an item had to be done on any particular day, it should be on your calendar. If it didn't, it should be in your NA lists. Your NA and project lists should be readily accessible, not tucked away in a folder, and should generally not have specific dates assigned to the items.
                              See, I'm using my "tickler file" a little differently.

                              Granted, I don't have a true "tickler file," I use Google Calendars, and I have one calendar called tickler file. This one does not display when I'm looking at my calendar page. I go to it every morning and dump the items in the tickler file for the day into their respective next action lists.

                              This has been a lifesaver at my job, because quite often, I have to e-mail people as to the status of XYZ items. I often have 100 - 150 of these unresolved at any given time, so I don't want them on my waiting for list, but I don't need to follow up on a specific day, so I don't want them on my calendar either. So every time I act on XYZ item or get a response, I move the item a week forward on my tickler file calendar, so I have a reminder to follow up with them again after a week has passed if my e-mail got no response.

                              Maybe I'm doing it wrong, I am still trying to work out all the kinks in my system.


                              Wayland

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