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Posts from February 2011

Structuring Work: The Root, Where it all Begins

Friday, Feb. 11th, 2011 1:02p.m.

In my last post, I explained the value of a directory structure: consistent file management structures a disciplined workflow that increases productivity. The magnitude of its importance was a revelation that occurred largely after graduate school as the result of starting a new job.

When I moved to start my new job, I needed to move my files to my new computer. In transferring my files, I realized that my work that followed my well-defined workflow transfered easily, while the work that didn't follow the workflow did not.

The contrast between the ease with which I started the well-structured work and difficulty getting up to speed on disorganized pieces threw in sharp relief the importance of maintaining a workflow structured by a consistent file management system. For those well-organized projects the only difference being on my new computer was that I began work from a different "root directory".

  tags: advice, data-management, research-process, workflow category: Structuring Work

Structuring Work

Friday, Feb. 4th, 2011 10:04a.m.

When I say that one of the most important things that I did in graduate school was set up a directory structure and workflow for my files, I am not kidding. Reading theory, learning statistical methods, and writing literature reviews were all important. However, just as important -- though not nearly as sexy -- is setting up a file structure and working directory.

Despite how trivial it sounds, maintaining a well-designed directory structure not only provides a framework for files, it structures productive work.

Given how important it was for me, I will attempt to explain the directory structure that I developed. Let me begin by saying that I am not an expert at developing directory structures. There are experts in these matters. Though I had an interest in becoming an expert at file management, I was too busy trying to become an expert in what I was actually studying to have the time. I will lay out in an ongoing series of posts the basic intuition behind my posts, what has seemed to work (and not) with this system, and improvements I would like to make. I would, of course, be interested in feedback and or comparisons to what others do.

  tags: advice, data-management, research-process, workflow category: Structuring Work

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