In my last post, I set up a new updated system for handling all the mounds and mounds of paper that is coming into our house. The key to making this system work for me is committing to processing all the papers in my inbox on a regular basis. Once a week is what works best for me…specifically Wednesday mornings.
Every Wednesday morning, I take my downstairs inbox and my upstairs inbox to my desk and process each paper. The rule is I have to make a decision for each paper….I am not allowed to put it back in my inbox. For each piece of paper, I ask myself, what is the next action that needs to happen and when? I then sort accordingly:
To File: These papers just need filed away in the appropriate folder, for later reference, i.e. insurance papers.
Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I immediately file this pile away in my filing cabinet.
To Do Now: This would include anything I needed to take action on in the next week, i.e. bills, RSVPs.
Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I add these tasks to my day planner and file the paper in my To Do folder in my Tickler File Box (more on this below).
To Do Later: This contains anything that needs action – but not necessarily in the next week, i.e. a catalog that contains something I want to buy, vacation information.
Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I move these papers to the appropriate month’s folder in my Tickler File Box (more on this below)
Pending: Anything in which I am awaiting a response on, i.e. receipt for a catalog order purchase that hasn’t arrived yet.
Action Taken: After sorting all papers in my inbox, I move this pile to the Pending File in my Tickler File Box.
Tickler File Box
Normally a Tickler File system would look something like this…
It would include a file for each month and then include a file for each day of the month. This works great for some people but I always forget to pull my file folder in the morning and I also like to use my day planner to plan further in advance. My Tickler File Box has a file folder for each month of the year along with a TO DO and PENDING file. I like to use these folders from Current and a file box like this from Amazon.
When I am filing away my To Do Later pile, I move the paper to the appropriate month’s folder. For example, vacation fliers…We are planning on taking the girls to Disney World next March but I know I need to start planning this trip about 6 months in advance so I would put these vacation fliers in the September folder. Another example, we have to pay home owner’s association fees where we live every quarter. I know that my next payment is due May 1st so I put my payment book in the May folder. Once I pay these fees in May, I will move it to the August folder so it will be ready to go next quarter.
To keep up with the to do’s in my monthly folders, I pull out the next month’s folder the last week of the current month and move all these tasks to my day planner and move the papers to my TO DO file. So, around the 26th of March I will pull out my April folder and move my task over to my planner…this helps me avoid missing any deadlines.
Anybody else have success using a Tickler File Box?
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Jodi Clardy, Certified Family Manager Coach & Professional Organizer
Creator of “Clarify, Simplify…..Achieve!tm” the Simplified Life System
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