What is a Tickler File?
It is a filing system used to file all of your upcoming tasks. This can include everything from watering the plants, paying the mortgage, and sending out birthday cards. There are tabs for each month in the year and each day of the month.
How does it work?
Simple really. You place each task, bill, or card into the day you want to complete it. It is probably easiest to understand if I just use an example:
So, let's say you buy a birthday card for a friend. Her Birthday is April 10th. You can place the birthday card in the April folder and forget about it! (For now!) On the first day of April, you will take the contents of the April file and file it in the 1-31 daily slots according to what day you want to complete the task. Now, back to that birthday card! If the birthday is the 10th and you want it to arrive on or before the day, I would suggest getting it in the mail at least four days in advance, or the 6th. So you would put the card in the 6th folder.
If a task is reoccurring I suggest using note cards and reusing them. For example watering the plants. If you water the plants every four days simply move the card from today and count ahead four days. When you get to that day, the note card will be there to remind you to add it to your daily list.
Each day, you can go to your tickler file and pull out the items in todays date to address. I suggest having a small notebook near by. Make yourself a task list for the day that includes everything in the file as well as leftover items from the day before. Rather than numbering them 1-10, number them by importance. #1 Urgent. #2 Preferred. #3 Wishful thinking. Then get going!
A sample day might be:
Thursday Saturday April 6, 2013
#1 Mail Melissa's Birthday Card
#1 Put out the garbage
#3 Store (Milk and Paper towels)
#2 Pay Phone bill online
#3 Organize Desk
#1 Return Books to Library
#2 Call agent about travel arrangements 608.555.5555
#1 Call Claire @ Life: Organized LLC to schedule my in home Assessment! 608.622.7678
#1 Dentist appointment 2:30
I underlined tasks that require travel outside the house to complete. I suggest mentally mapping your route to save time and fuel driving, and only making one trip if time permits. This seems like a simple step, but I am surprised at how often I hear people not doing this.
Finally, at the end of the day, if there are any tasks not completed, put them in tomorrow's file. And repeat. The process may sound cumbersome and at first you might forget to check the file daily, but over time it will become habit.
Suggestions for success:
- Keep your Tickler file in a convenient place (preferably where you open mail)
- Leave the top open so it is easy to access
- Have a recycle basket/shredder close by
- Keep basic supplies near (Paper, pen, checkbook, stamps)
- If anyone else will be using it, go over the process so every one understands
I will be holding a drawing at the following event for the filing system pictured above. I am also happy to answer questions about the Tickler File and other organizing projects you might have.
The drawing will be held after my presentation.
January 15, 2013 6:00pm
Join organizer Claire Matejka for a discussion:
What is clutter?
Where does clutter come from?
How can we make clutter go away?
Watertown Public Library
100 South Water Street
Watertown, WI 53094
Please call to RSVP 920-262-4090 ext. 25 Everyone is welcome!