View Full Version : Next Actions vs @Tickler
04-07-2005, 05:38 AM
I have been working with GTD for a couple months and I am having a hard time determining when to put an action is Next action or Tickler file. It seems from what I have read that people use the tickler in many ways. I understand that if there is a concert and you have not made a decision about if you can go or want to go, then put in tickler to remind you to make a decision about buying the tickets. But, some use this for daily/weekly routines, like review a report each Friday. But to me review the report is a next action with a due date, every Friday. So, I just wanted to get some input from others to find out how you decide if an action goes in next action or tickler. Thanks
04-07-2005, 07:31 AM
Whatever works for you...
I use my tickler as, among other things, temporary filing for pending projects. So I might have a Next Action to, say, pay my income tax, but also put the physical tax file in my tickler for the appropriate date.
Or I might have my weekly review scheduled in my calendar, but put reminders of specific items to review in my tickler for that day.
Or I might throw something in my tickler because it requires further thought to be a true Next Action, but I don't have the time or inclination to do the thinking right now. An example of this might be a brochure related to a vacation I'm planning, or a flier for a seminar I might want to take.
04-07-2005, 10:13 AM
A next action is something you have the option of doing as soon as you're in the context to do it. If reviewing the report can be done any day through Friday, then putting it on the action list and/or the calendar makes sense. If you won't get the report to review until Friday, I'd recommend leaving it off the action list and putting in on your calendar as a day-specific item. Putting it in the tickler file works as well, but I like the added rigor of setting all hard landscape tasks on the calendar to reinforce that it has to be done that day, not later.
There are three types of things that go in my tickler file:
1. Things to be decided on, when I'm not prepared to make a decision and want to postpone it. The key here is that for these items, the NA is literally to make the decision, there is no further research involved. This probably constitutes the smallest number of items in my tickler file.
2. Support items that are date-sensitive, with no other logical place to store them. Concert tickets, for example, would go in the folder for the concert date.
3. Actions that are not truly NAs, but are still date sensitive. For example, after a regular meeting every Monday night, I make notes on Tuesday about who attended. The reminder for this is in my tickler file for next Tuesday. I cannot do this before Tuesday - this is why it goes in my tickler file. I don't want to even think about it until Tuesday.
The last of these represents by far the largest number of things in my tickler file.
But, some use this for daily/weekly routines, like review a report each Friday. But to me review the report is a next action with a due date, every Friday.
In this scenario, the reminder to review the report would only go in my tickler file if I had to do it Friday and couldn't do it before then.
So, I just wanted to get some input from others to find out how you decide if an action goes in next action or tickler.
Here's the distinction for me: Is this something I can act on now? If yes, it goes in the NA list. If no, I need to figure out why I can't act on it right now. If it is simply a matter of time, I put it in the tickler file. Make sense?
04-07-2005, 10:41 PM
Does anyone take their tickler file on the road or is it a dump it in my briefcase before I leave type deal??
04-08-2005, 12:23 AM
Other threads have discussed options. The shorter the trip, the less you would want to bring.
I have a tickler accordion file that could go on longer trips; some folks have tickler books that are a bit more compact. Taking the whole tickler means less removal and reinsertion. It also makes the tickler available for inserting new pieces of paper, like receipts for doing expenses when you get back or travel tickets or airport parking claim stubs. For shorter trips you may as well take the tickler items from the days that are covered by the trip plus a day or two anyway, unless the days where they were inserted weren't that meaningful.
Obviously with a Palm or a laptop, computer ticklers are not usually an issue.