I am quite desperate for a way to manage and analyse qualitative data.
My main job task at work is managing quantitative data. If it’s a number we can plug into a spreadsheet, I know how to collect it. There is plenty of room for improvement and, to be honest, I am cursing the fact that I didn’t pay more attention in my Access class in grad school. But generally speaking, I have a good handle on the types of quantitative data we collect, the flaws and the needed improvements to our processes and to our datasets, and the ways we can use that data to tell our story to whoever asks.
But we have access to all sorts of qualitative data as well. For example:
- Reports from foreign service officers;
- Cables from posts;
- Reports submitted to an internal reporting system;
- Posts in the community forum on our website;
- Posts in our Facebook group;
- Newsletters and other activity reports that are either sent to us directly or shared via our email lists.
All of this is spread out over a variety of disconnected locations. We have troves of information stashed in mattresses all over our house and seemingly no good way to tie it all together.
So that is my holy quest: to research and compile ideas for managing qualitative data and figure out how best to implement those ideas. I am told that it better not just result in a word cloud.
If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I shouldn’t write mission statements or apologies or anything when I inevitably try to revive my blog. I’ve got almost 20 years of broken promises cluttering up my website.
I am aware that I am 44 words into my first blog post in just over six months and I am already drowning in self-loathing. It’s a thing that I do.
The thing is, this week is LIS Mental Health Week, and that is what inspired me to pick up the blog up again. I am working on managing my anxiety, so I would like to share a checklist that I devised to help me out.
- Determine and prioritize goals
- Block out time in a calendar to work on tasks
- Make a daily mood check to assess how I am feeling
- Write a daily diary entries or other forms of writing (blog posts, poems, etc.)
- Do something enjoyable
- Beware of the drink when stressed or depressed
- No devices at bedtime
- Deep breathing when struggling to fall asleep
- Doodle more
- Separate what you can control from what you cannot control
It’s not perfect and I am not perfect at sticking to it. (Boy, do I ignore that “no devices at bedtime” suggestion.) But frequently re-reading the list has been helping me get through my daily grind.
I have also taken to heart something I read by Tammi Kollinger on the Bullet Journal blog: “Humans are messy and make mistakes.” In my mind, it is a corollary of the Cult of Done Manifesto. I should tape it to the wall and re-read it every time my creative destruction tendencies creep up again.