Workflow… Channel the river, even the flood.

In the first of this series, we explored the document intake process and, unfortunatley, left out email. The failure to include email directly reflects my personal approach to filing and tracking email, none that involves any ‘hands on’ work. All email gets filtered through Gmail and passed on to Mail.  Gmail is fully searchable and Mail is indexed by Spotlight, ’nuff said.

So, on to another step in the workflow.

A Sieve, A Filter, A Strainer… 

The second part of the workflow involves my favorite Mac app, Journler.  Reading through medicalrecords, web pages, doing legal and/or medical research, whatever, it all gets dumped into the bucket called Journler where it gets tagged as appropriate and necessary for later reference. Journler doesn’t get used as a ‘Trial Notebook’ (Circus Ponies Notebook gets that nod and more on that later). Journler doesn’t get the nod as a GTD or project management app. It simply acts as a place to drop all miscellaneous stuff, but stuff gets tagged in a way that when it comes time to put together a Trial Notebook, the filtering, tagging and searching power of Journler all get brought to bear in a way that makes the Trial Notebook a cinch. So, go read the prior Journler posts here and here to get a feel for how to implement Journler into your daily workflow, and then later appreciate the ability to sift, strain, sort and channel the endless river of information collected therein. The beauty of Journler and this method … the more you use it, the more useful it becomes. All that prior legal research becomes useable work product… Journler truly acts as knowledge management for everything. Oh, and check out Journler’s feature tips for a quick overview of what this little app can do beyond the mundane suggestions above and pay special attention to Journler’s dropbox, a nice little folder that lets you drop anything onto it and assign it tags as you work during the day… you know, so when you’re researching some arcane civil procedure question and come across that perfect case authority to support your damages argument on an entirely different file, you just drop the PDF in there without getting sidetracked, impossible as it may sound, from that thrilling civil procedure research.

4 thoughts on “Workflow… Channel the river, even the flood.

  1. Excellent. The more you write about Journler, the more excited I get. I can’t wait for the 2.6 version to come out. I want to find a way to make it work for our office (or just for me, if need be).

  2. Yeah… I make it work just for me, then the staff and my law partner believe me a genius for being able to pull out old info for new cases in heartbeat. Forgot to mention… If Journler ever died or a better product came along, all info would be accessible as it gets stored in a separate, non-proprietary folder format which is fully indexed by Spotlight.

  3. Have you tried DevonThink Pro Office?

    It’s a little more expensive, Journler became shareware ($34.95) instead of donationware, DTPO is $149.95 but it comes with OCR built in, to search scanned documents, and other features:

    For an office with tons of documents and the ability to search and sift through all of them DTPO is a good mac app. The next version looks to be even better.

    I recommend this because the developer for Journler is thinking about selling Journler to another developer. Who knows what direction Journler will take with someone else. By the way, I love Journler.

    Another app you might want to look at is Eaglefiler at

  4. Hey, thanks for the comments and suggestions.

    I shy away from DevonThink Pro because (1) it’s not exactly an intuitive piece of software; and, (2) it stores information in a proprietary database format which makes retrieval near impossible in the absence of the software itself. Journler stores everything in a Folder and plain text format which allows retrieval even in the absence of the software.

    I tried Eaglefiler a while ago and it crashed repeatedly and seemed ‘clunky.’ I read the forums at Journler and am well familiar with Phil Dow’s developer struggles. He really needs to either sell the software to a bigger player or get a solid management/development team on board with him…. So, here’s rooting for Journler to make the leap.

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