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RTM tickler

aajax says:
A tickler file is for stuff you want to be reminded of on some future date or in some future month. It may be an item that does not absolutely have to be done on a particular day, but you want to be reminded to revisit the item in the future.

I looked at the possibility of using due dates and RTM smart lists for this, but I don't like putting due dates on items that I simply want to be reminded of; as per GTD and other such philosophies, I like to reserve the use of due dates for firmer commitments.

I finally settled on this alternative: I set up a tickler system using just tags. I created 41 tags consisting of the numbers 01 through 31 and the 12 months, Jan- Dec. (You can do this in one go by creating a temporary dummy task and then typing the 41 tags separated by commas as tags for the task).

When I place an item in RTM for future consideration, I add a tag for the date (if it is within the next month), or for the month (if it is a future month), or both. Each day I click on the tag for that day's date in the task cloud. At the beginning of a month I click on the month tag. If you don't use the task cloud, you can also do a search for tag:7, for example.

The first task to get a tickler tag should be "Check this month's tickle" and tag it "01". It will be there the first of every month for you when you pull up items tagged "01", to remind you to pull up the items for the month. Review the new month's items, and retag or assign a due date as appropriate.



Posted at 3:47pm on July 6, 2009
lynda.kellam says:
This is pretty brilliant. I stopped using the physical tickler file a while ago because so much of my work is online/computers. Great adaptation of the tickler file to the digital world!
Posted 8 years ago
gtheilman says:
Looking through the forum, I've seen several workarounds for ticklers. That sounds like a clever idea and it's working out well for you.

What I'd really like to see built-into the software is a separate "Tickler" entry for the task. As you mentioned, "due dates" should reflect when the task is really due. But if it's not due for six months, I'd like to put in a separate "tickler" date (perhaps, 4 months from now) when I will be reminded about the task.

Posted 8 years ago
mehardin says:
Do this search:

(tag:zzz and dueAfter:now) or (tag:z1d and dueAfter:"1 day of now") or (tag:z2d and dueAfter:"2 days of now") or (tag:z3d and dueAfter:"3 days of now") or (tag:z4d and dueAfter:"4 days of now") or (tag:z5d and dueAfter:"5 days of now") or (tag:z6d and dueAfter:"6 days of now") or (tag:z1w and dueAfter:"1 week of now") or (tag:z2w and dueAfter:"2 weeks of now") or (tag:z3w and dueAfter:"3 weeks of now) or (tag:z1m and dueAfter:"1 month of now") or (tag z2m and dueAfter:"2 months of now") or (tag:z3m and dueAfter:"3 months of now") or (tag:z4m and dueAfter:"4 months of now") or (tag:z5m and dueAfter:"5 months of now") or (tag:z6m and dueAfter:"6 months of now") or (tag:z7m and dueAfter:"7 months of now") or (tag:z8m and dueAfter:"8 months of now") or (tag:z9m and dueAfter:"9 months of now") or (tag:z10m and dueAfter:"10 months of now") or (tag:z11m and dueAfter:"11 months of now") or (tag:z1y and dueAfter:"1 year of now")

Save it as a smart list named zzz.

Add "NOT list:zzz" to the search criteria for your other smart lists.
tag items with z1d to be tickled a day before they are due, z2d for two days before they are due, z1w for a weeks before they are due, or in your example, z2m to be tickled 2 months before it's due.

I do z2d for getting a haircut, a task that repeats every 4 weeks after completion. I don't want to have it cluttering my personal smart list for 4 weeks, so this way it just shows up a couple of days before it's due. I've been using this method since it was featured on the blog a couple of months ago and love it.

It would be nice if "start dates" or "tickler dates" were built into the software, but this is an excellent workaround.
Posted 8 years ago
jsellen says:
I have been openly clamoring for a second date field, for 'start dates' or 'tickler dates' for literally years.

However, I use something that I find much easier than suggested, to use the due date that is there. This works if you use smartlists for your important items.

My 'next action' list(s) are smartlist constructed like this:
((tag:@call and tag:na) or (tag:@call and tag:tickler and dueBefore:now))

Therefore, If I want to call to schedule an appointment 2 weeks from now, I tag it @call, tickler, and set a due date of 2 weeks. In two weeks it pops into my 'next action' list automagically. It is true that the actual tag of the item never changes to 'na' from 'tickler', but it's on the right list at the right time, so it's a small price to pay.

By using a smartlist rather than the default
Posted 8 years ago
aajax says:
mehardin - I was aware of your excellent smart list, but as I pointed out, my approach was designed for those like me, who are bothered by due dates attached to items that do not or should not have a due date.
Posted 8 years ago
mehardin says:
I knew you were. That's why I didn't reply directly to you. I should have been clearer. I was replying to gtheilman who said, "What I'd really like to see built-into the software is a separate "Tickler" entry for the task. As you mentioned, "due dates" should reflect when the task is really due. But if it's not due for six months, I'd like to put in a separate "tickler" date (perhaps, 4 months from now) when I will be reminded about the task. "

He may have been aware of the smart list too. But someone reading over his shoulder may have thought, "Yeah, I'd like that feature too." I have found this list does just what he asked for.
Posted 8 years ago
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