The Tickler File

14, Feb 2006

How many times each day do you spend writing yourself notes on pieces of paper and post-it notes, to remind yourself about a task that you must do? This action would be ideal if only you did not continue to miss doing or finding things.

The Tickler File — or some may know it as a BF or Bring Forward File is a handy tool that I recommend to almost all clients. It is a system that you can use to manage all those loose pieces of paper that do not belong to a specific project file. Usually these papers and tasks are specific to an upcoming event and must be deferred and ‘brought forward’ on a specific date. This system in essence, ‘tickles’ your memory.

It could be game tickets for a future date or a piece of information to take to an isolated event, like a consent form for your child’s next field trip.

Using a Tickler File allows you to file this information on the date that you require it, so that it is always in one place and never lost. Gone will be the days where you pin something on the cork board or leave something on the corner of your desk, only to have something else cover it and hide it from your searching eyes.

What you will need:

  • 43 file folders
  • 31 labelled 1 to 31
  • 12 labelled January to December

Folders labelled 1 to 31 represent one day for each day a month. Folders labelled January to December represent each month. There are also pre-bound tickler files that you can purchase. Contact me if you have trouble finding a supplier.

How this will look in a filing cabinet or desktop filing system is the current month (February) folder in front, followed by 1 to 31 and then March to January.

You will place all your loose pieces of paper in the appropriate day of the current month or in the monthly folders of subsequent months. At the end of each month, you will bring forward the next month’s folder and take out all papers in this monthly folder and file them into the appropriate daily folders.

The process shift that you will need to introduce into your routine is to look into your daily folders every day. In doing so, you will be reminded of all the papers and information that relate to your appointments for the current day.

Clearing your desk, counter, or cork board of all those stray pieces of one-of-a-kind papers and events will not only help reduce your clutter, but it will ease the stress of that ‘out of site, out of mind’ fear that we all have.


  1. Business cards every where. Use your tickle file for those as well. Frees up the desk for writing up orders!!!!

  2. Thanks for the feedback. Great to hear that the tickler file is keeping you on top of your game. It’s always good hearing that systems are being maintained and how it’s increasing your productivity!

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