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newbie, tickler file question

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  • newbie, tickler file question

    Hi everyone, I'm new to the concept of GTD, just read the book, LOVE the 43folders.com wiki, and am really excited about getting this into my life.

    I have a question about the tickler file, which I realize David didn't invent, but since it's central to GTD I thought I'd post here: When do the papers in the coming months' folders get sorted into their respective days? Say for example I have a whole bunch of commitments that are due in more than a month's time: Say it's now the beginning of January, and my February folder is very full. Then as I get progressively closer to February, and keep adding the early days of the month to February, I have to laboriously sort through the whole February folder every day to figure out which reminders I can put in their respective day folders. Right? I haven't physically tried this out yet, but I'm just having a hard time imagining how it's going to work. Can anybody help me out?

  • #2
    Sort from the month to the day folders no later than the beginning of the month.

    In my case, I'll pull the items out of the next month's folder sometime around the 25th, put the whole stack in my inbox, and process as normal. Also, if I know the date for something I'll go ahead and put it in the day folder directly once that date in the current month has passed.

    (That is, today is December 12th. An item I receive today for any date up until January 11th could go directly into the day folder.)

    Hope this helps,

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Ticker helps

      When I file an item for a future month, I make a note of what day in the month it needs to be viewed, and attach a note to the item with that date. So, for instance, an item for next May,might have May 12th on face of it. So, by the time May comes, I might have 15 items all dated and in the May file; I then I take them out of the May file and put them in the 1-31 respectively, and they get tickled daily, during the month of May. I don't look at them before filing, as I have already made the decision on when I want to see that item again.

      The tickler is an awesome system. I am amazed at how many items are not needed by the time the tickler brings them to my attention again.

      Comment


      • #4
        I process the month folder no differently than a day folder.

        So, my folders look like this:

        ...
        28
        29
        30
        31
        January
        1
        2
        3
        ...

        On the 30th, I process the folder for the 30th. On the 31st, I process the folder for the 31st. On the 1st, I process the folders for January and the 1st.

        Of course, processing a month folder means slotting its papers in folders for appropriate days throughout the month. I usually just pick random days.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for your replies - I understand, I think... but it just seems kind of wasteful to have to process a whole month at a time, write Post-It notes and refile later, etc. If it's supposed to be a "physical equivalent of your calendar," as David says, why not have 365 folders?

          Comment


          • #6
            make it work for you

            I think the most critical thing is not what number of folders you have but what the rule is one follows for putting a physical item in a tickler versus a list in it versus putting the itme on a calendar with a corresponding file in your a file cabinThe exact form of your tickler needs to fit your needs for review and retrieval.

            I would like to hear about the rules people who love their ticklers are following.

            Here are some ways that people use ticklers that are a little different. I don't know the rules they follow but I have seen these in businesses where I have worked.

            December and August --busy months with a lot of single sheets of papers that had date specific required actions, had 4 folders for each of these months (one for each week).


            A day shift and night shift in one plant, therefore they had two folders per day for each respective shift manager.

            I knew a musician who used a roledex on a 385 day basis as a tickler to ensure that she practiced certain music on certain days and always had something new and fresh for her following.

            If you are in a business or have a life style where you can really put something in a folder that you will not want to see for a long time and you will only want it on a certain date, then 365 folders it would work great.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cherrymary View Post
              Thanks for your replies - I understand, I think... but it just seems kind of wasteful to have to process a whole month at a time, write Post-It notes and refile later, etc. If it's supposed to be a "physical equivalent of your calendar," as David says, why not have 365 folders?
              Because I don't necessarily know enough to pick a specific day six months in advance. I may not even care about the specific day six months in advance.

              For example, there's a conference that I attend almost every December. I know that I'll want to start looking at hotel and plane reservations sometime in October. So that can go in my tickler (for October). But I don't know what will be going on next October, so I don't know exactly when I'll have time to start planning. October 7? October 14? Or will I be in Belgium that week?

              By the time next October 1 comes around, I'll know and can pick a more precise date. Or I may have decided to ditch the conference entirely, so I can just toss the reminder at that time.

              Filing by month is also easier in the unlikely event that I need to retrieve something. Say a concert that I have tickets for is cancelled--the artist got sick and cancelled the tour--with a daily system, I might have filed the tickets under the date of the show, or maybe a few days in advance as a reminder. But with a monthly system, I know they are somewhere in the May folder.

              Katherine

              PS Also, 365 folders require eight times as much space, eight times as many folders, and eight times as much labeling. That's eight times the investment for marginal benefit.
              Last edited by kewms; 12-13-2007, 02:01 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the great replies, I'm going to give it a try and see what works for me.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Another Tickler Version

                  I found that most of my work has been "to be done as soon as possible", and relatively few things were actually day-specific items to tickle. With the full folder set up in a file drawer, I would forget to check my tickler... not good if I missed a day with something in it!

                  Instead, I found Monday-Friday folders that I love. I keep my weekly staff meeting folder stuck in the Monday folder to hold the agenda and support items as I collect them. I file other things to tickle in the appropriate day of the week.

                  It works for me. Even if I have something for a couple weeks out... a vehicle reservation form, agenda, and directions for a training two Wednesdays from now, for example... I just tickle it in Wednesday. I know where to find things that way (and if I don't, I only have 5 folders to flip through). Because I don't have that many items overall, it doesn't bother me to keep everything right there.

                  Also, I have a verticle wire rack that the folders stand up in nicely with my phone directory and other reference material - they don't clutter my desk, but they're visible so I check it daily.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Weekly tickler - great idea!

                    Originally posted by Julia View Post
                    Instead, I found Monday-Friday folders that I love. I keep my weekly staff meeting folder stuck in the Monday folder to hold the agenda and support items as I collect them. I file other things to tickle in the appropriate day of the week.
                    Weekly tickler - great idea!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cherrymary View Post
                      I have a question about the tickler file, which I realize David didn't invent, but since it's central to GTD I thought I'd post here: When do the papers in the coming months' folders get sorted into their respective days?
                      In my view, the physical tickler file is not central to GTD, but the use of some kind of reminder system is. Because so many of my tickler items come to me electronically, I just keep them as electronic. Dated items go on my calendar. This includes optional events and reminders of due dates (hard landscape). For stuff I want to start or at least move to a project or NA list, I use a tickler list (softer). With electronic, you do have 365 folders and more, rather than 43, and you don't have to sort at the beginning of the month. However, if most stuff comes at you as paper, I suspect a paper tickler file can be easier once you get the habit.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I found that a 43 folders concept didn't work for me & my wife. We discovered that we needed to see an overview of what was coming up, rather than only discovering something on the day.
                        So after a few experiments we came up with a large pin board, on which we have created labeled areas.
                        Basically a column for this week, labeled "This week", with rows for each day of the week.
                        A column for next week, labeled "Next Week" again with rows for each day of the week.
                        A third column with two rows, one labelled "Soon" (anything happening sometime in about the next two weeks after next week) and the other labeled "Later".
                        Then once a week (Sunday evening works best for us), it's my job to move everything from Next Week to This week, find anything on Soon with needs moving to Next Week and similarly moving anything from Later to Soon.

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