Tickler File Workflow


I started using everdo recently after switching to an Ubuntu machine. After searching for couple of days I am finally happy with Everdo that has a native desktop application for Linux, thanks for doing it.

I was wondering if there is a feature in Everdo to do things like tickler files? As I understand the concepts correctly, “inbox” is the things that need organizing like in “Getting Things Done” book. And you triage tasks in the “Inbox”, and there are multiple ways to triage, either you give a certain priority and a due date (Next section in everdo), reassign (i.e. Waiting area), put in Someday/Maybe list, file as a note, or you can put it in a tickler file to get reminded later, but don’t worry about it until the date in the tickler

What is the Tickler File equivalent in Everdo? I have been using it before, and that’s one of the magical things that I like from the GTD book :slight_smile:


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For actions (or actionable info) that I need to appear on a specific date, I use Scheduled.

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If I remember from the book correctly, a tickler file is a paper system that allows you to “forget” about some item for a while until a certain day comes and you re-visit it.

Because we use software instead of paper, we don’t need such elaborate setup :slight_smile: Instead we simply schedule an item for a specific date. When that day comes, the item will be added to the “Next” and “Focus” lists, where it will catch your attention. You can then either act on it, or re-schedule it again.

A few examples of scheduling:

  • If you’d like to defer an item until tomorrow, simply drag it from “Inbox” or any other list to “Scheduled” in the navigation pane
  • If you’d like to defer until a specific date in the future, you can open the item, press “Scheduled”>“Set Start Date”, pick a date and save.

You can also do scheduling/deferring with keyboard commands:

  • press “:” to enter command mode
  • enter :s +7 or :s 7 to schedule in 7 days
  • enter :s dec 15 to schedule on specific date
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This is very helpful guys.

After I know it, it makes complete sense. Also I love vim style commands! I didn’t know about them.

One more question. Why does everything automatic becomes focused? I don’t understand the point of Focus action. Isn’t Next today’s todo list, if so, what is Focus?


Focus is not a standard GTD concept. I see it as a way to “pick” something that I choose to focus on for the day, after reviewing the Next list - it may be quite large if you have many projects. Also it serves as a place where all scheduled and due items appear automatically to draw your attention when needed. You can then process them and remove Focus if appropriate.

So every day I review the focus list first, to make sure I’m aware of due dates and sheduled for today items. Then I review Next to pick the work for today.

Great, thanks for the tip. I’ll give it a try :slight_smile:

The problem I see with using Scheduled in lieu of a tickler file is that a tickler item is not necessarily something that is actionable. It is something that is unprocessed. You would put it in the tickler file when processing the inbox because at the time you are not sure if it is actionable, and maybe at a future date you can determine if it is and want to be reminded of it. Putting it on the Scheduled list moves it to the Next actions list when it should go to the Inbox. You don’t really want non-actionable items on your Next actions list.

I’ve been getting around this by putting tickler items on the Someday list, setting a due date, and adding a Tickler tag to it. Then when they come due, I’ll remember to check Focus to look for all the items that have the Tickler tag, move them to the Inbox, remove the due date and the tag.

What would be nice is a separate Tickler list for this purpose where . Alternatively, there could be a rule that if a Someday item has a due date, it gets moved to the Inbox when it’s due with the due date removed. And there wouldn’t be a need to put it on the Focus list since it is in the Inbox and you don’t know if you really want to focus on it either.

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Yep the origin concept of tickler was meant to support a “Not ready to decide, yet.” process.
Therefore schedule and tickler conceptually fit different use cases.

A “real” tickler function would be nice and could work like this: Hide the item from the inbox until a defined future date. Then puts it back to the inbox with a star at that date.
The star is necessary to separate it from the other items in the inbox.

Additionaly a focus list that is grouped by item type is ultra necessary already to see what’s coming from where. Mixing starred projects next to starred waiting for, inbox items, notes and what not randomly, just makes no sense. But that’s a feature we already are eagerly waiting for.

A little OT: maybe every item type should be schedulable by default? Even someday, notes and others?