View Full Version : GTD for journalists
01-22-2007, 08:36 AM
I'm implementing the GTD system at home, and so far it's working really well.
But I'm coming a bit unstuck at work. As a journalist, I have to maintain a scrupulous notebook. That means a consecutive, chronological log of all my interviews. As it's in shorthand, that means it is a challenge to find anything again if I come back to it months later.
I want to institute some kind of index system on my work computer (Windows), preferably searchable by keyword, so I can find the page number and notebook number of every interview I've conducted on any topic.
Does anyone have any tips for how to do this?
The publishing company I work for is somewhat tight about downloading stuff onto work machines as well, so a web-based application would be perfect. But I'm basically willing to consider anything.
Do any other journalists post here? Have any fabulous tips for adapting GTD to this type of work?
01-22-2007, 08:53 AM
Just thinking about this one a bit, and depending on what you think might work for you, this is something that maybe doesn't need to be all that fancy.
By this, you could perhaps consider something as basic as a text file or a spreadsheet, both of which are probably either already on your computer, or you could find an online app (Google Docs & Spreadsheet, Zoho Office, etc), pretty easily.
When you process your notes, then you just make a notation in the file with a few keywords, and perhaps the page number and date, and then when you need to find something, you just do a quick "Find" and search for the keyword.
Now, I personally would probably use a spreadsheet, as it gives you a little more flexibility in finding information. You could re-order the information, by date, topic, etc, filter out for certain keywords and then have a single printable list of everything on a certain topic, etc. It's a little heavier weight than just a plain text file, but could give you more control over your information.
Hope this helps!
01-22-2007, 09:25 AM
I was a journalist before getting into the education field and I frequently think of how I would have done things differently if I'd been using GTD back then.
My suggestion for you actually comes from my experience as a grad student trying to keep track of the piles of journal articles I used in writing papers. Someone gave me a copy of EndNote. If I had a digital copy I linked directly to it. If it was a paper copy I just listed the binder or folder I had placed it in the location category. Citation managers let you search by key words, authors, subject, etc.
There is a page on Wikipedia that lists a lot of citation manager applications. Prices range from free to a few hundred dollars.
01-22-2007, 12:02 PM
Not exactly a solution to your indexing problem, but I'm a freelance journalist and GTD definitely saves my butt when I have a bunch of stuff happening all at the same time. I tend to do most of my interviews in front of my computer (notes being recorded to digital audio files on my PC and saved to a text file); when I do interviews in person, I record them (on a digital voice recorder that downloads to my PC) and create a text file to accompany them that cross-references the paper notes, when I save them. (Some publications I've worked with are satisfied with my saving the recording, and don't insist that I retain paper notes.)
01-22-2007, 05:08 PM
This link on reference filing using software should be helpful. Check out particularly the Excel solution, as well as the one listed by Kratz.