Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Love My Tickler

It's not what you think....
I'm talking about a filing system...!!!

Tip Seven: Lots of people like the calendars built into their computers. I have not gotten used to that yet. I'm using a cruder system, but it is one that I works for me, at least so far. I set up a two tickler files. One is on my computer and the other is in my desk drawer. It is a essentially a reminder system with documentation attached.

The one in my computer system is part of my email program.
I set up a series of folders and sub-folders.

The main folder is called Tickler
The subfolders are labeled like this: &01Tickler, &02Tickler, etc. through 31, one for each day of the month. I also have 01January, 02February, one for each month. You have to label them like this because the & keeps the days together and because it is a symbol, the computer alphabetizes the symbols first. You have to use 01, 02, because otherwise the computer will line it up, 1, 10, 11, 12, etc., so presumably, you'd have January, October, November and December, before February, March and April.

When an email pertaining to something that must happen on a particular day, I simply drag it into the proper day's folder. If it is for a day in a future month, I will drag it into that month.
The last day of the month is key. That's the day that I have to open the next month's folder and distribute the material into days for the upcoming month. Also, obviously, if you are checking your email on June 10, and something comes in for July 6, you can drag it directly into the &06Tickler folder, since June 6 has already passed.

I have a similar set of files in my desk drawer. I also write personal notes and reminders on scrap paper and jam them in to a particular day. I can also write an email to myself and shift it into a day.

Newsrooms have long used tickler files, but usually editors maintained them, not regular peons such as myself. But David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" reminded me of the files and I decided to try them out.

I love my ticklers because papers no longer sit on my desk as a "reminder" for action. Of course, you can't be reminded when they are buried under loads of similar "reminders."

I have been training myself to look at the files regularly, particularly on Friday when I need to organize the next week's work. Give the ticklers a shot and let me know how it goes. I just like the idea of ticklers. Cheers me up when I'm organizing my desk.

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