This is going to be a bit of a rehash of the overview. Sorry about that. The simple fact of the matter is that the Processing phase is typically the shortest phase, simply because it’s a planning and organizing of all the work you did in the Discovery and Recording phase. It really shouldn’t be that long or take that much work if your Recording phase is that successful.
Because you’re laying down the final layer of the project’s launchpad, as it were, the Processing phase relies heavily on information management, organization, and curation. You’re organizing information into related clusters in such a way that you will be able to find and use that information again. If it’s a project, then maybe you’re adding related bookmarks and notes into a system that will let you link or tag them so you will know what project they belong to, and how they fit into that project by means of keywords. If it’s skill development, then maybe you’re organizing everything into folders named for the skill you’re working on. There are actually a lot of ways you can put this information together so it will be useful and accessible during the project.
As you’re building these information clusters, you’re still using questions to help sort out everything:
- Do I remember why I saved this? (You’d be surprised how often the answer to this question is, “No.” If you can’t come up with a relevant reason quickly, move the resource to your swipe file and move on. That way, if you do suddenly remember why you have it, you still have access to it.)
- How is this information going to help me? (Start planning out the project and marking where that specific resource is expected to be used.)
If you can answer the first but not the second, move the resource to your swipe file. Be ruthless about it. This isn’t a phase for, “But it’s shiny!” It’s time for giving you a solid base to start from as you begin your project. And that’s really what the Processing phase is for at its core: for building a plan and a solid set of resources to help your project be successful.