Are you drowing in piles of paper on your desk? It may be piles of documents that you do not need at the moment but can’tthrow away because you know that you will need it later; next week, next month or next year?
The solution to this is called “the tickler file”.
My tickler file has helped me to always have a desk empty of paper and at the same time have easy access to the documents that I need today. As it has done wonders for me, I recommend the tickler file as often as I can. Even so here.
The tickler file
The tickler file is 44 suspension file folders in a box. 31 of the folders are marked with the numbers 1 to 31. 12 of the folders are marked with the twelve months and one folder is marked “Next year”.
If I face the front of the box, the folder closest to me is marked with tomorrow’s date followed by folders representing the remaining dates of the month. The folders thereafter contain the following 11 months and after the folder December comes “Next year”.
Let me give you an example. Today, it is the 16th of September. In proper order the box contains the folders 17-31, October, 1-16, November, December, next year, and then January until September.
How to use your Tickler file
To clear my desk I have been storing away all the papers from the piles where they belong in the suspension file folders in the Tickler file box. The invitation to a seminar is placed at the date before the last day for signing up (since I want to decide later whether I am attending it or not). The agenda for the next board meeting is placed at the date the meeting will be held et c. In the folder “August” I have put the receipt for something I have bought, as the warranty runs out then, but not sooner.
Every morning I pick up the documents that are needed during the day from today’s file folder. Then I put the folder after yesterday’s folder, which now represents the same day number, but next month.
The material you need and still an empty desk
If you have the opportunity to try a tickler file, I recommend you to do so. It is an amazing feeling to have an empty desk and at the same time be certain that the material I will need tomorrow will “appear” automatically.
How does this work for you?