My 43 Folder Tickler File
Posted by Alec The Geek on 28 October 2010
In the parlance of Getting Things Done, a Tickler File consists of a series of 43 file folders: 12 monthly and 31 daily folders. Items are filed in a folder corresponding to when the item will need to be handled, thus reminding or “tickling” the user about it. These items might be action reminders, bills, receipts, reports, letters, or any number of other things.
I’ve been wanting a 43-folder tickler file for some time, however hunting in the stationary stores was proving fruitless until I discovered that you can buy dividers printed with 1-31 and Jan-Dec. With a cheap A4 binder, some clear plastic pockets and a pad of PostIt notes I have what feels like a very practical tickler file.
Setup: (assume today is the 5/Oct and we will not be using the tickler for today’s items)
- Throw away the cover index sheets on both sets of dividers
- Take the month dividers and place Jan-Sept behind Oct-Dec (so they are in the sequence O-N-D-J-F-M-A-M-J-J-A-S)
- Place the month dividers in the folder
- Take the 1-31 dividers and remove 1-4.
- Place 5-31 in the binder, in front of October
- Place 1-4 between October and November. The dividers are now in the sequence 5-31-O-1-4-N-J-F-M-A-M-J-J-A-S
- Add the empty pockets
Daily use (using 6/Oct as an example):
- Open to today by placing finger on number 6 and opening. Now divider with 6 is on right hand side and back of the divider for 5 is on left. This is today’s space. Process an items that need to go into the action list, calendar etc.
- Now process in-boxes etc. Suppose we locate an item that requires action on 10/Oct: Write a PostIt note (add today’s date) and stick onto back of divider for 9/Oct so that when we open the 10th it will be seen. Is there a piece of paper instead? Use a clear pocket to place it in the correct location.
- Place ATM slips, Credit card slips etc into the pocket for the following Sunday weekly review
- Flip back to the 5th (so the 5th appears on the right, back of the 4th on the left). Process any items.
- Remove divider for 4th and place behind divider for 3rd. Place pocket in back of binder.
- Process as daily and additional review processing (for transaction slips, incubation decisions, project review etc)
- Add pocket and possibly a marker to date for next review ready to receive transaction slips and other material for weekly review
I assume processing for end of month is obvious?
This format is actually quite compact and can even be put in the suitcase when travelling
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