To-Do Lists on Steroids: When a Tickler File Might be Better Than Your Best Friend's To-Do List App

A to do list app is probably the simplest and most common form of a task management system. There are literally hundreds of apps and tools out there from simple text editors to feature-loaded collaboration tools. So, when should a simple to do list be your tool of choice and when is a tickler file a better alternative?  

Why Use a To-Do List

A to-do list is an effective tool to keep track of your most tedious tasks. The reasons to use a to-do list are as follows:

  • It enables an organized procedure of tackling any and every task with precision.
  • A To-do list app is an external memory that aids in keeping track of all tasks demanding your attention.
  • To-do list apps help eliminate distractions and improve productivity towards meeting goals and objectives.
  • To-do lists clarify the goals and impart motivation to accomplish tasks.

It is stressing to maintain work responsibilities and personal obligations simultaneously. A to-do list app might come to your aid in such critical times. Set your priorities straight and have a clear idea of the goals you want to meet.

When to Use a To-Do List

When you find yourself in situations where you are missing out on deadlines, being burdened with excessive work, and forgetting on important tasks – that’s your call to start maintaining a to-do list. Electronic approaches allow the to-do list app to synchronize with emails and contacts for efficient collaboration. The best feature of an electronic to-do list app is that it easily updates tasks.

The Limits of Common List Apps

To-do lists should be believable and manageable. That means, if you have more than two dozen tasks on your list a more sophisticated setup might be more helpful. If the number of items piles up too much, the list becomes more of a burden than a help.

You also need to be highly specific with the tasks that you add to the to-do list and make sure to line them up against deadlines. Keeping an overview of what has high priority can be a challenge.

Why Use a Ttickler File as Your To-Do list App?

If you feel overwhelmed by the sheer mass of tasks on your lists or would like to have some planning ability without overdoing it, a tickler file might support your daily routines. (Learn how it works here.)

The biggest benefit of an electronic tickler file is that you only have to deal with tasks listed for the day. Everything else is hidden. The system of 31 daily and 12 monthly lists allows you to set reminders for tasks for up to a year in advance. A tickler file may contain literally anything ranging from deadlines, events, charts, lesson plans, meetings, conferences, birthdays, bills. Prioritize the tasks, schedule them accordingly, create an array of files to store the information and reminders, and get started on working.

It is ideal to make it a habit to use a tickler file for smooth flow of your work. Keep a check on the contents of the folders taking one day at a time. Act on the tasks that need immediate assistance to clear out the folders. An electronic tickler system helps you to prioritize files by day, month or year.

To Do ListTickler File
ContentCan handle a limited number of manageable tasks Can contain a much larger number of tasks through without loosing focus.
Stores several to-do lists.
BenefitReminds of task, super simple. Avoids confusion by hiding future tasks and focusing on the present
ObjectFocuses on managing existing tasks. Focuses on managing pending, existing, and future tasks.
PurposeRemembering daily chores. An efficient reminder system for handling all kinds of tasks and related documents.

So What?

Both to-do lists apps and tickler files apps are valuable tools to manage time and handle tasks effectively. These tools help you remember deadlines and keep a track over important tasks and documents accordingly. This ensures a smooth flow of work and quality results in return. A tickler file can – in essence – be seen as a structured to do list. If you are challenged by the a high number of tasks in your lists, by a lack of focus or are looking for a simple way to plan ahead, a tickler file could help you more than a standard to do list app.