A civic-minded citizen seeking the singularity

An entry

My Data Workflow

Series: On Work
Date: 2014-10-21
Status: release
Tags: organization workflow quantifiedself
This Entry is part of the Series On Work.

In a typical day, I deal with a lot of information. I love information. I like to think I thrive in information rich environments.

But, there is a cost to information. Processing information produces its own byproducts: mental fatigue and overhead, paper waste, sketches and notes that are well-intentioned, but are never incorporated or applied tangibly to an issue or product solution.

I find myself thinking often about my own workflow. How do I process information? What is the natural arc from idea to reality? Where do sketches fit in? And, similar to any systemic analysis - where is the valuable work being done?

Well, that's a lot to solve at once, so here, I'm just beginning to elaborate and articulate the issues I face on a daily basis, dealing with lots of information.

Use Cases

Where do I collect data?

Often, I take pictures with my Phone camera. Where do the photos go from there?

Well, they could just sit, unprocessed on my phone. And about 400 pictures in, I'd get memory warnings that my storage was full. Not acceptable, so I do something with the Photos I take on my phone.

  1. When I take pictures with my phone camera, they save to Photos on my phone, and syncs with ~/Dropbox/Camera Uploads. This syncing only happens when I'm connected to wi-fi, to save mobile bandwidth.
  • after my phone pictures sync to Dropbox
  • I delete the photos from my phone
  • I move the photos from Dropbox to a Storage drive /-to-sort folder
  • Review /-to-sort on a regular basis and organize photos in folders.
    • into for blog
    • into a Trello Card
    • into photos
    • by year
    • by year and event

Different Types of Files

Every directory in a folder tree is either:

  • Pass-through
  • Destination

Pass-through folders are non-terminating. Files should be actively moving through the folder based on some meta-activity - whether that's me moving them, or a script or application manipulating the files. Examples of pass-through folders include: sorting, filtering: eg: incoming photos, working files, drafts.

Destination folders are terminating in nature. Files end up there and should really move. They're just there. They accumulate, or live, or just are. Destination folders are for reference and live in the folder. Example Destination folders include: reference files, completed projects system binaries --- things that don't change and sources of truth.

Non-Terminating States

Things here need to be processed.

  • /Dropbox/Development/writing/for blog,
  • /DATA/library/data
  • /DATA/library/development

Terminating States

Things here do not need to be processed. They are available for reference.

  • /DATA/library/audio
  • /DATA/library/audiobooks
  • /DATA/library/documents
  • /DATA/library/images
  • /DATA/library/videos

My File Directory

Camera Uploads
    file drawer


One terminating state for my workflow is blog. Once items are here, it is my responsibility to link to them within a blog post here, on this platform.

/images/blog gets synced out via Dropbox, and becomes available to the web.

Code Tools

Tools I use to write software products.

  • Atom
  • Bash
  • Ruby
  • Sketch
  • Unity
  • Google Apps
  • AWS