There are two components to a good tickler file system. The front part includes a dated accordion file. The part behind that is customized to your needs and consists of individual hanging folders labeled for repetitive actions you take. 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 be able to identify what customized action files you need. Label each file with the verb that describes the action required by you. Here are some examples:
The front part contains the accordion file with tabs for days of the current month, followed by tabs for months of the year. I also recommend creating a Future Years tab behind this (for papers to be handled next year or beyond). The tabs behind that are labeled for specific repetitive action to be taken, as listed above (pay, discuss, etc.).
Once you've created your customized tickler file system, you must do two things—put things in and take things out—DAILY! When the mail arrives, you have three choices:
You can keep your tickler file system in your desk drawer or in a more visible desktop hanging file frame like the one pictured above. 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. I recommend one that is at least 8” deep.
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This article is by Kathy Paauw of Paauwerfully Organized. Kathy offers comprehensive resources devoted to helping busy professionals and small business owners de-clutter their schedules, spaces, and minds so they can focus on what's most important. Kathy is an organizing & productivity consultant, certified business & personal coach, and speaker. Contact her via . For free resources and valuable productivity tools visit http://www.orgcoach.net.
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