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The Tickler Action File

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The Tickler Action File
Tickler File

A common practice with tickler files is throwing everything required for a particular day in one file, without any distinguishing labels or notes to differentiate what action is required for each item.

Usually it’s enough to see a bill and know you have to pay it; but what if the actions aren’t so clear?

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When using a tickler file, you want to be able to quickly, for instance at the beginning of the day, open it up, action what’s in there and then get on with your day.

What labeling each item will do is make this process simpler because each item will instantly tell you what you must do with it; instead of umming and ahhing about what you need to do with it.

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The two ways to do this would be either creating new folders for each action – to pay, to read, send etc – or labeling everything that goes in each day.

I think labeling works best because you can instantly integrate that into your existing tickler file and add new actions on the fly.

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Karen Roehl at AddResources.org has some examples of what we’re talking about:

  • Pay—a place to put invoices or bills until they are paid
  • Read
  • 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
  • Calendars—calendars for classes, school schedules, etc.
  • I would even consider a color coding system if you have a few common actions you want to keep in order for each day.

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    How to Create a Customized Tickler File System – [AddResources]

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