Tickler Files

Tickler FilesEver used a Tickler File? A “what”? If you’re prone to organization and time management techniques and tools, a Tickler File is a wonderful way to keep you on task. I first tried it several years ago and personally lacked the discipline to go into the file each day. Instead, I found myself quickly jotting down a handwritten To-Do list and then jumping right into work.

However, some I know use the Tickler File and find it very effective. Some use it for meeting notes, reminders, lists, articles, creative source material for brainstorming, or training and learning tips. If that happens to be you, see the article that LifeHack posted recently.

A common practice with tickler files is throwing everything required for a particular day in one file, without any distinguishing labels or notes to differentiate what action is required for each item.

Usually it’s enough to see a bill and know you have to pay it; but what if the actions aren’t so clear?

When using a tickler file, you want to be able to quickly, for instance at the beginning of the day, open it up, action what’s in there and then get on with your day.

read more…

If you’re like me and tried it, but couldn’t keep it up, let me know what works for you. Comment here.


5 thoughts on “Tickler Files

  1. I recently read about a “tickler file” in David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Ironically, I haven’t gotten the book or the proceess done yet. Mostly because the next step requires me to block out two workdays for organizing my office.

    I don’t know if the tickler file will work for me. I have a tendancy toward “outta sight – outta mind.”

  2. Gee, Eric, I never thought in my wildest imagination that I’d be commenting about a Tickler file. Heres’s my personal experience:

    1. I tried it more than once.

    2. Like Dustin, I found that the Tickler file didn’t tickle me at all. It had the opposite effect: out of sight, out of mind.

    3. So I had to figure out what would work, since the electric company, mortgage company, bank, clients, and others all possessed the same insane habit of wanting their stuff by a certain time.

    4. So I ended up with a combination: I have recurring alarms set on my laptop indicating an appointment or bill to be paid. In the case of bills, they are in the tickler file at the appropriate date.

    Some of us need an “interruption” to grab our attention. The above combination works well for me.

  3. Same here — out of sight, out of mind. I must have adult onset A.D.D. When I had an assistant, I asked her to put the day’s file front and center on my desk, so I could not overlook it…and you know what, I found myself pushing it aside and coming back to it later in the day. Then I started putting reminders on my computer. When the reminder would “pop up”, I’d hit snooze for 30 minutes and finally end up adding it to my scribbled To-Do list. Eventually, it would get done — the next day! Oh well… I’m getting there.


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