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Mid-Year Reflections

The Good

Front Office Staff

So far, I am loving my system this year. There are a lot of great things about it, and the office staff has done a really good job of scanning the documents that come to me, before giving them to me. They are the front line for me, and if they scan everything that comes in, it makes it very easy to be paperless.

Time Based Hazel Rules

I've created a rule that causes files to not move until they have a data saved to them (more info here). I've also created a rule that moves files out of our scanned files folder after 5 minutes of not being used. Originally, it was set for one minute, but that was too fast for the office staff to move things on their own. Clean Out Rule

Hazel

I love how we keep track of our student folders. Being able to go to a folder and have everything related to a student that required minimal effort on my part is really awesome. I am also sharing a lot of information with a lot of other teachers, and so everything about certain kids is contained in a special file for that student. Also, I used Hazel to identify which kids are frequent fliers by coloring that student's folder red if they have more than 10 items in their file. Three to ten documents in a folder means the folder is colored yellow, and one or two files in a folder colors the folder green. It is pretty cool to look at the students' folder with 170 kids in there and see that we have 8 that take a lot of our time.

Slick

This system is slick. The following things are done for me every time they are scanned:

  • Behavior Trackers are renamed and organized by name, then shared with the six people on our behavior team through Dropbox.
  • Witness statements are renamed as a todo item that I need to look at each day (I think I am going to add a "Reveal file in Finder" action to my Hazel rule on this so they show up on my computer each day.)
  • Office Referrals are organized by month and teacher last name.
  • Lunch detention slips are organized by date so we can see how many we have each month. October was a good month. Only 8 in the whole month!

So far, this has been a really slick implementation. Things have gone smoothly.

The Bad

There is only one bad thing. My mobile notification system has been broken by Mountain Lion and Notification Center. I am not sure exactly what happened, and I haven't spent the time to go check it out. It turns out that notifications on my phone were not as awesome after a couple months. If I could get notifications through Dropbox so it would actually open up the file that was modified, that would be amazing. But, going through Boxcar meant that I had to open up Dropbox and navigate there.

The Ugly

I see the ugly as working, but not being ideal solutions. These are good to keep track of as they allow me to see where I can improve the process.

Using Multiple Computers

For example, I am using an older computer to scan everything. The OCR takes a while sometimes. Also, that computer has a dropbox account that only has 2.5GB of storage, a free account. Typically, that would not be a big deal, but part of my workflow is transferring around video files, which take up a lot more space than other files. So, I often have to clean out that dropbox account. I think I have it down so most things are done with Hazel, now. I sure love Hazel.

Clean Out Rule

See above. This is not an ideal solution. I would like the computer and Hazel rules to recognize when I want files, and when files would go to someone else. There are actually a lot of rules that I have set up to get docs where they need to go. However, I have set them

Top Geek

One of the flaws with using Hazel and other geeky products is that I am the geekiest one in the office. That means that I am usually the one who is paying attention to the little things like Dropbox storage space (referral link, if you don't use it already). I pay attention to those things and that makes it easy for me to know what is going on, but part of me wonders

Hazel

Since I am not the best in the world at Hazel, I am getting some occasional copies of files that are scanned in each day, and I don't know where they are coming from. It doesn't happen every day, so I am not sure what is going on.