Help! I found this article (I've pasted it in below) and thought it would be a good thing to implement, but the more I think about it, the more confused I get. Would it sidetrack my GTD system if I filed things in a desktop file holder rather than or in addition to listing them in a Next Action list? Would this be a way of organizing things if I don't have time to sit down and add them to my NA lists? I like the lists, and I think I'd need to put things on the list, as well as in the files, which would be a duplication of effort, wouldn't it? On the other hand, where would I keep these papers? Is this just a useful idea for someone who wouldn't get around to GTD (of course I see that it covers just a small subset of the GTD system)? But at the same time it seems like a good idea and I'd like to use it without losing the benefits of the GTD system.
I'm comfortable with not having a perfect, classic GTD system if a variation would work for me, but I just don't want to get myself off on a winding road to nowhere and waste time on something that would be basically inefficient. Plus I'm trying to stop obsessing about little details of implementation and just get to doing what I need to do. But all the same, I want to add in any little extras that would help me be more productive. So I have set up one of the Smead everyday files, and files for Open Invoices, Paid Invoices, and Deposits to be Made (for my business), and a file for my daughter and her issues, in a desktop file box. I am wondering if it would be a good thing to go on with this idea or if I should stop here. And should all these things be in reference files? It's so handy to have them on the desktop or credenza, within arm's reach. Would they or other files fit into the GTD system? But I like to have all of the material close at hand so I can deal with it each day (hopefully). Would they be subsets of the Inbox, to be processed during the Weekly Review or during a daily review (I like the thought of that!)? Or could you keep things there indefinitely until you deal with them? I guess the more I think about this, the more I appreciate that DA has really worked out a system that is a complete answer to what is bothering so many of us, whereas something like this is just a start. But all the same, the action file issue is one that has been bothering me, and I don't really see where it fits into the system.
I think there is one problem with the standard tickler file, which is that it is entirely date-oriented, and there are things that have nothing to do with dates, but need to be taken care of (which GTD deals with through the context lists). The value of this type of tickler file seems to be that it creates a tickler for the non-dated contexts. But isn't that taken care of with the NA lists? On the other hand, it seems good to have those papers close at hand and in the tickler file so I'll be reminded to deal with them.
It looks like an approximation to GTD but I wouldn't want to be going through a dozen files a day, pulling the papers out to see if I needed to do anything about them. The NA lists are so much better. (But for some of us with ADD anything is better than nothing!)
And what other categories would be good? And practical?
This article is from ADD Resources http://www.addresources.org/article_tickler_roehl.php
and they have a lot of helpful articles about efficiency and organizing.
How to Create a Customized Tickler File System
There are two components to a good tickler file system. Part of the system includes the dated accordion file. The other part consists of individual hanging folders labeled for your particular repetitive actions. If you aren't sure how to tailor this to your needs, just go through a recently-created pile of papers and mail—things that you didn't have any place to put but didn't want to forget about. You'll soon recognize what action files you need. Label each file with the verb that describes the action required of you. Here are some examples:
* Pay—a place to put invoices or bills until they are paid
* Receipts—a place to store your receipts until you submit them for reimbursement or enter them into your expense records.
* Discuss—a folder to put notes in for weekly meetings with the same person. If you meet with several people weekly, you may have individual folders with their names on them.
* Send—letters to write, returns
* Errands—a folder to hold shopping lists, claim receipts, etc.
* Call—a place to store phone messages until you have time to return calls.
* Data Entry—addresses, phone numbers, business cards to enter into address book and/or contact management system.
* Classes—class lists, classes you are considering to take.
* Calendars—calendars for classes, school schedules, etc.
* Offers—coupons, offers
* Organizing—a place to keep information about decluttering and organizing
* Future Years—once yearly papers, such as property taxes
Once you've created this tickler file system, the key is to do two things—put things in and take things out—DAILY! When the mail arrives, you have three choices—FILE it away for future reference, ACT on it now or later (if later, it goes in the tickler file), or TOSS it.
Identify a specific time each day to check your tickler file—either first thing in the morning, or the night before (for the next day). It takes about 21 days to form a new habit, so I suggest that you write into your calendar "CHECK TICKLER" for whatever time you choose to do this—for at least the next 21 days. At some point it will become second nature to you (like brushing your teeth!) and you won't need the reminder. If you do not keep a calendar, keep your tickler file in a place where you will see it...preferably where you open your mail.
The front part contains the accordion file with tabs for days of the current month, followed by tabs for months of the year. I have created a Future Years tab behind this (for papers to be handled in 2003 or beyond). The tabs behind that are labeled for specific repetitive action to be taken, as listed above (pay, read, discuss, etc.).
You can keep your tickler file system in your desk drawer or in a more visible desktop hanging file frame. I like the Oxford Decoflex file frame boxes (found in most office supply stores), which come in several sizes. Your tickler file system needs enough room so you do not have to wedge things in or struggle to take things out. Keep this in mind when purchasing a file frame box for your accordion file and customized hanging files.