Planners and Ticklers | Giftie Etcetera: Planners and Ticklers

Friday, July 25, 2014

Planners and Ticklers

To be clear, today's blog is not about the Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.

Ticklers, for those of you with dirty minds, are 12 files (one for each month) and sometimes 31 files (one for each day in a particular month). Say I have a letter that needs to be mailed every January. I put it in the January file, and when January comes around, I check the file and mail the letter.

For those still thinking about Mr. Grey after that very un-sexy explanation of ticklers, well, there is no hope for you. :)

Yesterday, a friend asked me about my ticklers. (Again, perfectly APPROPRIATE question. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

(You can ask me questions and get into fun discussions with fans of my blog by joining the Facebook group Giftie Etcetera - Planners, Planning, and Organizing today. Don't worry - we keep posts family friendly.)

I don't really have tickler files.

And, yes, I am still a lawyer. And, yes, lawyers do love their ticklers. I never really understood the fascination, though.

If you keep a great calendar, you don't need to file stuff by date. And as a lawyer, especially, I wanted everything belonging to each client in their client file at all times. Plus, why maintain FILES and TICKLER FILES? I value simple solutions, so tickler files just don't work for me.

In the meantime, I do borrow lots of concepts from tickler files. For example, if I have an equal amount of time to work on a task, I work on the one due next first. And I always put everything coming up in one place. But, for me, that place is in my planner. Finally, I put things in my hold box in date order.

Here's how I deal with pieces of paper that do NOT fit in my planner, since I don't really use a tickler file. (Note: If paper fits in my planner, it just goes there.)

First, I have the tools for processing paper conveniently available.

I have a simple clipboard that opens up to a legal pad to use as my in-box and portable hold box. I added my own binder clips to use as a portable hold box. I'll show you exactly how I use those later. Of course, you could do a more professional or fancy clipboard, but mine only costs $3 on clearance and I work from home so appearance is unimportant (or I work in coffee shops - hence to easy to move clipboard instead of a normal in-box).

Next I have a magazine sorter. The back slot is the to-be-filed area and the front slot is my tickler/hold box.

Incoming mail, documents, and papers go on the outside of the clipboard. Note that I think an actual in-box is a better solution for most people. But I work remotely a lot, so this way I can bring stuff with me.

I go through each piece of paper one at a time.

I either:

-do the task;

-delegate the task (by putting it in my husband's in-box);

-delete the task (by tossing the paper); or

-hold the task (by marking a time to do it or check on it in my planner AND putting it in the appropriate file if it is for more than three months away, putting it my portable hold area if I plan to use the paper outside of the home, or putting it in my magazine box hold area if I will use it at home).

I try to only hold a task if I HAVE to, either because it involves so many steps that I just cannot do it now or because I CAN'T do it right now.

TIP: Put a sticky note in the upper right hand corner with the due date and name of the paper. That way, when your planner tells you to do the task, it's easy to find.

For example, I am making a craft project for my sister's baby (expected in November). I mark it in my calendar, then put it in the hold box.

TIP: Put them items in date order.

If something will be needed outside the home (like this report for school), it gets clipped inside of my clipboard.

Note: Many clipboards come with inside pockets so that you do not need to use your own clips.

Once my papers are processed, my desk closes up neatly.



Carnan said...

This is great. More comments on the Facebook page.

Rianne said...

Love the idea. something to try so i can keep my inbox of the desk