For those who have been to my workshops, the “tickler file” seems to be the tool that catches on universally. Today, I thought I would give you an idea what I kinds of things “pop up” on a Saturday morning in my tickler file. So, here they are:

  • Envelopes which contained the Christmas cards we received this week. After opening the cards which came each day, I threw the envelopes into Saturday’s file. This morning, I took the whole set and marked them all off on the electronic Christmas card list as being received. Handling the job once per week takes far less total time that handling the job daily. Throwing them in Saturday’s file allows them to collect so that I can handle the whole batch at once.
  • Application to present at next year’s National Middle School Association Conference. The deadline for the longer all-day and half-day workshops is December 28. I figured today would be a good day to hash out the verbiage for the proposals.
  • Birthday card to a friend. The cards were bought last December along with the cards for everyone else on my list. Putting them in the tickler file for the date they need to go in the mail means I will never miss a birthday.
  • Gift cards. The gift cards we have received yet not completed used are together in today’s file. My wife and I quickly look at them and decide which ones we might like to use during the next week. The rest get re-filed for next Saturday. Today, we were planning a shopping trip which would take us right past a Book-A-Million. I am getting my wife Steve Doocy’s Tales from the Dad Side, so I pulled out the Book-A-Million gift card and put in the credit card wallet which I carry everywhere. (It’s outfitted with my driver’s license, two major credit cards, health insurance card, a few business cards, and a memo pad. Currency is in a money clip and I carry no wallet. I gave up sitting on that thing almost 10 years ago.)
  • A coupon for a free video. It expires at the end of the month. Today is a good time to drop by the video store and enjoy one “on the house.”
  • Tutorial on Photo Story. I was planning to create a Photo Story this week now that school is out for the holidays. Throwing the tutorial in the Saturday folder serves as a reminder to refresh my skills before creating the project. If you are not familiar with this program, click here to see a Photo Story that my colleague and friend Pattie Thomas and I created for our system’s District Accreditation a year ago.
  • Tutorial on Camtasia Studio. I still consider myself a novice at this very powerful program and wanted to make some improvements.

For me, the tickler file folder at home for any given Saturday tends to have more items than the other days. Since I have more discretionary time at home on Saturday, I like to use that as a place for similar items to “pile up.” Bills to pay or the Christmas card envelopes serve as examples. Items I want to simply examine periodically, or for some other reason have no real date attached, are other good candidates for Saturday’s folder.

For 30 years, tickler files have kept my desk clear of paper and have ensured that paperwork appears exactly when I need it.