The 1-31 Tickler System

Are you drowning in papers all over your desk that you need to take action on Now? Does this leave you feeling overwhelmed, stressed and frustrated? Good news! Here are two life savers that will keep your from drowning as soon as you implement them.

The first life saver is to the 1-31 System. Purchase 31 RED hanging folders, red because this is HOT stuff to do. Secondly purchase a set of 1-31 manila folders.

  1. The 1-31 folders represent each day of the month. You will want to put your 1-31 file folders in the most convenient and easily accessible file cabinet drawer.
  1. Each 1-31 file folder will be placed individually in a red hanging folder. When placing the folders in the drawer, put the current day as the first folder, so when you open your drawer you will be on the current day (i.e. if the date is the 23rd, when you open your drawer the first folder will be on the 23rd). At the end of the day when all the paperwork is done or transferred to another day, you will pick up the current day’s folder and the hanging folder and move them to the back of the drawer (now the 24th should be the first file).
  1. All the paperwork you need to do each day should be in your 1-31 folders.
  1. When you are going through your paperwork, take each piece of paper and decide when you will take action on that piece of paper. File the paper under the day you will take action.
  1. When you travel, you can put your travel itinerary under the day you are leaving. This will let you know at all times exactly where to find your travel itinerary. If you do not plan on looking in your 1-31 folder on the day you are leaving then put your boarding pass or travel itinerary in the day before you are leaving so you will have them ready to take with you.
  1. The 1-31 filing system is also great for your bills. With this system you can pay your bills twice a month. The bills due before the 15th but in the 1st, so you can pay them all on the 1st. All bills after the 15th put in the 15th file so you can pay them on this date. This is called doing your work in bundles of time. You will save time if you pay all your bills on the 1st and 15th (or whichever 2 days of the month you choose).

The second life saver is to prioritize your paper work that is in your daily folder. Example, if today is the 23rd, pull out the manila folder with the number 23 on it. Then quickly make three stacks. Stack A is for items that MUST be completed before you leave work today. Stack B is for items you will work on when you finish your A’s, if you have time and Stack C is for items you will work on when you get around to it.

Next, estimate how long it will take to complete the A’s, the B’s and the C’s. Then look at your today’s calendar and view how much time you have available to work on paperwork. Let’s say you’re A’s will take two hours, B’s will take one hour and the C’s will take thirty minutes. You have only two hours to work on paperwork. Most people would do the C’s, then the B’s because they feel they will be knocking out more work. The reality is the only thing that was important for today was the A’s. So only work on the A’s and before you even start, move the B’s and C’s to the next work day’s folder. Tomorrow you will prioritize the paper work again. C’s may become A’s and this is why it needs to be done daily.

By following this system you will be setting yourself up to win. You will be staying in a day tight compartment. Live in today and always focus on your highest priorities for today. Then enjoy for peace, happiness and feelings of accomplishment.

Make today GREAT! After all, “Life is time…Make it count”®