GTD Tickler Index Card System

Hi, I have seen the light and had to share my delight with you all. Now I have not been underground for the past few years and have been aware of the "craze" of the index card system and of GTD... but I couldnt let the ole filofax go .. i felt like a meany. Anyway after alot of hours of reading several books from Covey and Allen I finally started to think about what would work for me.. because a filofax simply wasnt me. So after much thought I realized the VALUE of GTD planning and thought I would set up a Tickler - well 2- one with Index cards for daily tasks like shopping etc and a bigger A4 one with letters needing attention/action on the right days and boy .. does it work fab - I get up check the BIG tickler for letters/appointments/dates then I check mini-tickler for "buy cat food.." etc and it may not work for all but it sure as heck works for me - no more awful scribbly filofax with postits everywhere etc etc ... I feel abit silly for not catching on sooner but the luxury and simplicity of being able to take the card with me in my pocket (!!!) and the beauty of being able to jot more ideas/thoughts down like an inbox is priceless.. I feel truly liberated by this system and cannot recommend it enough! Sad I know but i HAD to share my feelings and thank DIY etc for the push lol :-)

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Something similar, but combined...

I use a similar system, but I've combined the physical ticklers into one file system by using hanging folders with pockets on the back side of the folder. That way I can drop full size pages into the full folder and index cards into the pockets (and they don't get lost).

It is indeed nice to be able to grab the index card and run with it. That's also why I use index cards for capture devices.

I also use a check/ticket rail to keep current cards just to the side of monitor until they're done or need to be filed away for later.

File within a file

Toss a 3x5 notecard into a file folder at your own peril. I've lost a few. Now I tape library pockets into all of my files for those notecards I don't want to lose, nor re-write.


The Tickler strikes

I don't use the term either but only because I've got a mischievous imagination that won't leave me alone.

I can't help it. When I see "The Tickler" the first thing that pops into my mind is the '60's 'Batman' tv show.

"Galloping GTD's Batman, I thought The Riddler was tricky!" Robin exclaimed as he and Batman sorted through the 101 clues left on index cards in the Mayor's office by the nefarious organisational mastermind ... The Tickler.

"Never fear, Boy Wonder, it appears that his nefarious plan has something to do with 31 folders." Batman said. "I wonder if that's a poker casino?"

[ Edit - Oops, sorry. That was a reply to Lex's post.]

LOL Katrina!

I love the commentary! :) "Holy 31 folders Batman!"

Hate the term

It's just me but I've always hated this term and am certain there's something less weird. Too... physical. How about 'reminders' ?

I used to do that


I used to do that--index cards in a box with 43 tabs, etc. My system was a la Sidetracked Home Executives, but it's the same underlying concept.

I got away from the tickler for a while, but I'm back. Now I've made one letter size from page protectors. I really like the transparency, the tabs, and the ability to put any size document into the pockets.

Binder of your choice, letter size. I made my own covers from some 12x12 black scrapbook covers (Hobby Lobby) cut down to 10x11.5, hole punched, and some 5/8" notebook rings (OfficeMax).
1 50-count box of economy or standard page protectors
2 25-count boxes of 1.5" stick-on tabs

I prefer a 7-up arrangement for my daily tabs so I can easily find the same DOW one week later. I have a 6-up arrangement for my monthly tabs.

Anyway, in the pockets I have the bills I need to pay, index cards with reminders like "in-laws visit, they're staying with us".. The whole thing is quite thin and nice, and very portable (unlike my old index card box).

You will end up with a few extra page protectors--you can use those for special projects or save them for another notebook.

Note to circa-fans: I tried to hole punch standard page protectors and it just wasn't working. I think I tried seven different ways to punch circa smurfs in the vinyl and it just didn't make me happy. Didn't want to spend a bundle on Rolla pockets or spend half a year taping transparencies together. Also, since these pockets don't have to move, come out, etc. and stuff goes inside the pockets rather than being bound in, it seemed like an economical and easy choice.

Now I have a zillion leftover notebook rings, but my kids like to play with them. :)


Finally admitted to myself my system wasn't working...

I finally bought a copy of Getting Things Done and started reading it last night. It's hard giving up the system I've had since the 80's, even though it's painfully clear (now that I've started examining it) that it hasn't been working for a while.

You are all inspiring me and giving me great ideas - thanks.


Hi liz_n_cats! I think the system is great and it has saved me so much anxiety and literally transformed the my life. Sounds dramatic I know but its true. Its always hard to admit that a system isnt workig for you esp if you have had it awhile - I mean we check it every day its our brain outside of our brain and it can be a lifesaver... so to realize that the it is not quite right and needs changing/adapting or (shock horror) abandoning is hard sometimes for sure. I had this problem with my filofax coz I loved it but it just wasnt helping me be productive...Anyways the book can be abit blaaaaahh at times I have heard but the mesage is clear - empty your head and process it stage by stage review and keep your brain clear for intuitive thinking like David says... good luck let me know how u get on :-) x

Still workig out the details

Thanks for all your encouragement. I finished the book - I have to admit it was deadly dull - I think the publishing company must have cut back on editors. However, the system seems like a really good idea. I'm still working out the details of my implementation, and it's a bit overwhelming. I have action lists for things to do in the near future, I have my 43 folders set up and have started filling them...I need to fine tune my review process. I'm still in a "Franklin-Covey mentality" and I want to put all my tasks for the day on my I'm still settling in.