An easy way to create an electronic Tickler file is by using Google Calendar, which can send you email, SMS, and “pop-up” reminders (which act as alerts when you sync with the iPhone Calendar), for any and all events you want.
But what about stuff that you don’t really want to see cluttering up your calendar? You just want to be reminded about it when you need to be reminded about it. The solution is simple. Just add another calendar (you can have as many as you want, I believe, but I wouldn’t think you’d need more than a few extra), and click on the name of it to hide all the events. You’ll see in the image here that I have two extra calendars called (very cleverly) “Invisible Reminders” and “Sweepstakes”. The first is for the kinds of reminders I described at the beginning of this paragraph, those things that should be heard, but not seen (or something like that). The other is reminders to enter daily contests to win prizes. I put the link to the web site as the “Where” of the event, and then get the reminders sent to me in the morning for mass processing. I schedule the events so that all the reminders are sitting there after I drop my wife off at work, and then I can just go through and click the links to open them all up in new tabs and then enter my email and submit. I haven’t actually won any yet, but at $10,000 per, it’s worth the 10 minutes or so in the morning for the chance that I might hit one some day.
Yes, I could just add one even called “Enter Sweepstakes” and keep all the URLs in there, but then I’d have to remember the different end dates for all of them (and there are usually about 5-6 going on at a time). When I have them each as individual events, I know that the ones to enter will be there in my Inbox, and my mind can stay at a low viscosity level.