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reporting

Lately I have been in report-land. Mostly it is heaven, sometimes it seems like hell but regardless it is all reports all the times. Some of these are one I read as a member of the board at the co-op. However, most of the land is made up of a single (but oh so beautiful) report I have been writing for work for way too long now.

Recently during my journey through report land I had an epiphany. Suddenly the world is not just the world but can be divided into two areas: process and content.

You can tell how much I am enjoying this adventure by how much that revelation awed me. Yes, we have already established that I am majorly geeky.

Yet despite this geekiness I have never divided the world this way and suddenly every thing seems so clear! In my report some bits are about the process - how we arrived at the data I am reporting on and other parts are content - the data itself. By clarifying the process before the content I am putting the content in context. Do you see what a marvelous tool this knowledge is?

It gets even better. By understanding the process of the entire report (why we gathered the data in the first place, where it is going, who is going to read it, what they are going to do with this information, why the company wants me to write it, etc) I have a much better idea what that content of the report actually needs to be! By understanding that larger view - getting that big picture from my manager - the report I am writing is put into context so I am easily able to discern what needs to be included and how it should be presented.

By understanding how process and content are intertwined and related I feel like I have a map to help me on my journey (which for a control freak like me makes the whole thing much more enjoyable). And to think I believed my traveling days were over...

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