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Tickler Problem

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  • Tickler Problem

    I have tried to use a tickler as described in GTD in the past, but I have come across a problem that I have yet found addressed.

    Lets say I want to call a potential customer back in 2 weeks to follow-up on a conversation.... But, something comes up prior to that (customer calls me to say YES!!). How do i find the item thats in the tickler as i don't know what day I actually tickled it for (and i truly need this item as the customers quote information is on it)

    Any suggestions


  • #2
    Well, it can only be in one of 43 places. A customer calling with a surprise "YES" seems well worth the effort of searching for the item. More than likely you can narrow it down to a few days, anyway.

    No system is perfect, even GTD at it's purest form. You have to weigh the potential benefits with the potential problems. Is this something that is only likely to come up once a month? Big deal then.

    If you see it as happening more often then make a copy of the items where this is likely: one for the customer folder as reference, and one for the tickler file. Or, just put the original in reference and a note in the tickler file to "call ABC Corp. about XYZ quote".


    • #3
      This is an issue which arose with me as soon as I began implementing GTD, as I typically have 20-30 call-backs each week. I found the best method for me is to photocopy the call-back sheet & put one copy in the customer file & the original in my tickler file. I designate Tuesday of each week as my primary "call back" day, so when I put a call-back in my tickler file I take a peek at the calendar and place the call-back sheet in the Tuesday closest to 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or whatever time period agreed upon by the customer & me. (Some of my call backs can be anything from "next week" to a couple of months).

      This system works well enough, since if I receive an early surprise call from a customer I only have to look at 4 or so files (the upcoming 4 Tuesdays or the next 2-3 monthly folders).

      Also, if I find I'm going to be out of the office or on the road on a given Tuesday, I either take the call-back sheets with me & make the calls while traveling or re-file them in the next day I plan to be in the office.


      • #4
        Just realized I wasn't logged in when I submitted that last post.

        I wanted to add that the tickler file has become an indispensable tool for me. It's hard to describe how helpful it is in organizing work and keeping "HUH?" stacks off my desk. Next to empty in-boxes in email & voice mail, it's probably one of the most useful "runway" changes I've made.


        • #5
          The way I end up doing this is:
          - Communication log for each 'client', one line description of action/waiting for with due date
          - place a 3x5 card (or papers) in the tickler file.

          Now if the person calls prior to my reviewing the tickler, I pullup the commlog and have the details including the location of the tickler.


          • #6
            I do a similar thing - if it is something I have any possibility of needing prior to the date it pops up through the tickler, I put the item in a file and just put a note in the tickler.