Categories | Best Practices of GTD | David Allen | Getting Started | Getting Things Done | Implementation
The Tickler File is one of the “incubation” systems David recommends in Getting Things Done (p. 173). It’s also where the phrase “43 folders” comes from, as it refers to the 12 monthly and 31 daily folders that make up a Tickler File system. What is a Tickler File? It’s a three-dimensional version of a Calendar that allows you to hold physical reminders of things that you want to see or remember–not now, but in the future.
A GTDer wrote to David to ask if there’s a “lite” version of a Tickler File system:
Q: I have set up a tickler file of the 43 described folders, but I find that I am not accessing the folders except every 7-10 days. Most of my folders sit empty because things do not cross my desk in the way a typical person might expect. I am a dentist, but take care of the majority of the administrative/ business type paperwork myself. Do you have any suggestions for an abbreviated version of this system or any thoughts on how to devise a “Lite” version? I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. I have already implemented so many of your other principles but find I am struggling with a way to make this one work for me.
David: A “lite” version would be 5 folders labeled “1″ thru “5″, representing the weeks of the month, plus the 12 monthly folders. Then open one folder on Monday morning (or the Friday before) for all the things that need to be dealt with that week. Even that, though, must be emptied regularly (put it on your Monday calendar as a repeating event/reminder) or you want trust it. If you can’t make the habit stick, give it up and/or give the job to an assistant, and hand things to them, with a post-it “give this back of me on May 2″ etc.