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Is a tickler file really needed? Do you use one?

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  • #16
    Tickle me to death!

    I love my tickler file!
    I have the month system on the left of the two sided file drawer, and when I say "I don't have the money for the marketing plan right now, let me call you in Feb" I put the info, phone number/name in the Feb file.

    On the right side, is my current month and next month. During my weekly review (which I've only missed twice in 9 months!) I try to match my calendar, projects and tickler file. I see on my calendar that I have the most open time on Thursday, so I put the project file in the Thursday October 4 tickler file. On Thursday, when I arrive at work, I look in the tickler file, and a sense of peace fills the air. I realize that someone (me) in their most relaxed and sane part of the week (WR) decided that this was the best/only time to do this project or action. I feel very confident that this is my job today.

    End of business Thursday the 4, the #4 file goes to Nov (next month) and so on and so forth. This is serenity, this is my mind like water, this is my GTD.


    • #17
      what is the strict definition / use for a tickler file?


      • #18
        Consult The Book of Knowledge.

        Originally posted by macgrl View Post
        what is the strict definition / use for a tickler file?
        Here is an article in Wikipedia:


        • #19
          You can also find a free article from David Allen on how to setup a Tickler File for GTD here:


          • #20
            More thoughts about tickler files

            I think the tickler file appeals to me particularly because I've always LOVED getting mail. There's something magical about opening up a "missive" from someone who took the time to write their thoughts on a piece of paper, stick it in an envelope and lick a stamp...! So I get that same feeling when I check my tickler each morning, even though I'm the one who "mailed" everything to myself.

            It helps me let go, but it's because I trust it. The way I look at it, GTD has a bunch of possible tools that may or may not work for everyone. And it all comes down to (a) what do I trust enough that I'm not second-guessing it, and (b) what helps keep things off my mind & then brings them back into my awareness when I need/want to see them?

            It's great to see how everyone handles the same kinds of challenges, and how many ways there are to "GTD"!


            • #21
              Thanks Everyone!

              First I want to say thanks to everyone who helped and commented.

              Here is what I have been doing with my tickler system since I created this thread.

              I already had a physical tickler system setup so I was able to start quickly, and put it right beside my computer, where I would see it each day.

              And I created an @Tickler Folder on my laptop for any digital files/emails/info

              Then to make sure that I remembered any items that I dropped into either tickler system, I started using the Reminders app on my IPhone.

              So when I drop something into either my physical tickler system, or digital tickler system I set a reminder and alarm in the Reminders app.

              I set most reminders for 7am, or 9pm depending on when that day I want the alert to pop up on my IPhone.

              I am finding that this is allowing me to trust my tickler systems, and not worry if there is something forgotten in those folders or not.

              I was even considering dumping my digital tickler system into my dropbox folder that way it would sync automatically to my iphone but I think I like it the way it is for now.

              Again thanks everyone.


              • #22
                Addendum to my earlier post above:

                I've found myself in the past several months using another solution to "tickle" items. I found that as I got free of my coursework for my graduate program, I would forget where my days went and be very hard on myself even though in fact, I might have gotten quite a bit done that day. So I started keeping a daily logbook of my bigger completed NAs (i.e., not "water plants" but certainly "write method section of dissertation proposal"). I also use it to manage my use of the Pomodoro technique for some of my longer NAs--I mark my pomodoros in the book.

                Since I therefore now have a dated page for each day (I made my own notebook to see if this would work for me, but now that I've learned that it will, I bought a Moleskine Daily planner for 2013), I've found myself writing down future NAs in the log on the day they need to be done.

                It's working very well, so far. This is the thing I find most interesting and useful about GTD--you keep adapting it to suit however you're working currently.


                • #23
                  Technically I have one and have a reminder to check it on my daily morning reviews but rarely do I use it. With most things being digitalized these days (even things like concerrt tickets!) rarely do I find I need to use it.


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by jesig View Post
                    Since I therefore now have a dated page for each day ..., I've found myself writing down future NAs in the log on the day they need to be done.