Update on Tickler File Idea


In my last post, I griped at the lack of good tools to help me remember vague but important recurring things. You know, those things that come around every year but still catch you by surprise. Things that make you ask, “Why is there such a big line-up at the Registrar’s Office right now?” or things to remember such as “Sometime in the early spring semester, send out a reminder email to faculty about…” We should remember these things, and I have staff and colleagues who DO remember these things, but I struggle with this stuff.

I asked for your input on your favourite tool to assist you with this. One response that made me smile and groan a little was, “I just remember this stuff.” Others responded with some apps or tools. I checked them all out and I can conclusively say that I’m not happy with any of them!

What I want is a tool that reminds me often and more urgently the closer I get to the “important recurring things”. But I have settled on the best available tool for me: the Task tool of Outlook. It offers the ability to schedule things, to set a reminder (sadly, only one), but also to flag things in different colours. Unfortunately, I have to train myself to pay attention to the Tasks and not simply rely on the reminder to pop up on my computer screen or iPhone.

As an office, we’ve also created a separate Outlook calendar that has all our important dates, but also has room for “Hey – remember that typically students start doing this in March.” And in our weekly meetings we ask for updates and things we need to be prepared for – everyone, whether they are a manager or not, is invited speak up and many do.

I’m still going to ask you – if you have a tool or an app that you can set multiple reminders for that get more strident the nearer you are to the deadline, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE tell me what it is!

But who am I kidding – I’ll still be the guy buying Christmas gifts on December 24th.


2 thoughts on “Update on Tickler File Idea

  1. I’m a fan of Trello, which works really well with the GTD system. You can use Zapier to have Trello talk to your calendar and also to have it integrate with many other web apps (Evernote, or Google Calendar for example). Trello Business has a feature where the reminders that you’ve ignored for a while will begin to age (they start to look tattered and ripped like an old note on your desk might get over time!). You might be able to set a zap via zapier that triggers an email or calendar reminder every x days that it is untouched…?

    Trello works really well for the GTD system. I’ve used Trello for a couple of years now, and as with any system, I’ve found that I need to follow the system in order for it to work. One thing that has worked really well for me is a tickler file system based on the GTD system or the 43 folders system. I can talk about this all day, but I’ll stop here. Happy to chat if you like! 🙂


    1. Thanks, Brittany. I have tried Trello, but I thought it was a collaboration tool, which I have other methods (like Slack) which work for me. I like the idea of the reminders starting to look tattered and ripped over time. I’ll check it out further. Thanks!


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