If you don’t know, I see everything as living. The only difference between the animate and inanimate is the spectrum of experience. The inanimate experiences nothing, while animals experience reactions to stimuli and instincts, and humans experience stimuli and go one step further to interpret it. Because of this, I give you the LIVING DOCUMENT and how it can help you succeed.
THE LIVING DOCUMENT
The Living Document is a document that grows and evolves over time. With each new experience the document is updated to counterbalance new situations. Now a Living Document can grow from nothing in 3 different ways. One is to source your mind and create it out of your own experiences. This goes as far as creative writing to expert advice writing. Two, is to research and build it from your understanding of others experiences and can include citing books or Google searches. This includes research papers and other research-based texts. Third is to collaborate with others and grow dynamically from multiple sources rather than from only one. This includes peer reviewed journals, crowd-sourcing, and Google docs with multiple authors.
The beauty of the Living Document is its ability to evolve and stay current. With each new experience you gain a new gold nugget of knowledge that lets you do it that much better the next time. Incorporating this document into your life even allows you to have a reference guide. And even instills it into your memory by creating it, and even more so if you use it to teach others. If written well enough, the document can quickly be turned into an Infoproduct or blog post that you can share with your customers or community as great content. It might even make you a buck or two in the process.
But how do you make such a document?
First you start with the different ways to collect data to incorporate into your document. One is through field work and the other through the lab.
Field work is done in external environments with little research and occurs as you accomplish day-to-day tasks. In field work, you notice common problems that occur daily such as bottlenecks in processes and flaws in systems, methods, and formulas. In field work, you take notes on what is working effectively and not effectively. These notes are taken back to the lab/office and used to update the Living Document with the new tidbits of valuable information.
· Before – have an outline of what you’re going to accomplish and a few of the steps involved.
o Allows you have an idea of what needs to happen and leaves room for improvisation if necessary
· During – take notes of what actually happens, noting what works and what doesn’t.
o Use note-cards, laptops, or any other means to remember
· After – Review your outline of what was supposed to happen with what actually happened and find the missteps and triumphs in-between.
o Helps identify where issues are in the chain of your processes and systems
Lab Work is done in an internal environment and is research intensive. It is not the by-product of daily tasks, but is the daily task itself. This can involve interviews with industry experts, reading books, journals, and other periodicals, and in actuality can be considered anything that has been sourced from field work. From this, it is experimented upon to find the cause and affects with the different variables.
· Before – Beforehand, organize the materials you are going to research and the format you need to put them in
o This helps you categorize where to put useful information you want to reference and write about as you come upon it in your research
· During – take notes on what you read, watch, and hear, summarizing parts in your own words
o Standardize the information in your mind, mapping out the concept from start to finish to help grow your living document.
o Research in pockets to maximize your efficiency, as staring at the same information for 4 hours straight is susceptible to the law of diminishing returns.
· After – Edit the information to ensure only the most important information is gleaned from your research.
o Find gaps in your knowledge and your living document to discover what you need to learn next to help evolve and adapt it further.
In the END
Thus Field work and Lab work are hopelessly intertwined to help you build your living document. Field work is amorphous and you never truly know what experiences, variables, or results you might get. The Lab work is structured and it puts variables together away from other variables to find how they work together and a part.
Utilize them together to evolve your living document to the benefit of yourself and others.
For a detailed example of THE LIVING DOCUMENT then fill out the form below: