4 Tips on Being More Productive as a General Transcriptionist

Guest post from Janet Shaughnessy at TranscribeAnywhere

I’m sure all of us are used to the busy-ness of everyday life. I know I am!

Sometimes, it can feel like time is running away from us, and we’re just holding on for dear life. Trust me, you’re not alone in feeling this way!

To help us all feel like we have a bit more control over our time, I’ve put together these four tips on being more productive as a general transcriptionist.

(And psssst! These tips are great for other areas of life, too!)

Tip #1: Make a List

Whether you’re making a weekly list or a daily list, it’s important to have something to look at in order to see all of the items crossed off of your list.

It sounds crazy, but it really can help you feel like you’ve accomplished more. Just seeing all of the things you’ve done in a day — even if it is just while you were working — can boost your self-esteem quite a bit!

That’s right: because you can physically see what you’ve done listed out right in front of you, you get a psychological boost. That’s the interconnected awesomeness of being human!

I recommend making your list at the end of every day so you’re ready to start the next day as soon as you get to your desk. You’ll sleep better, too, because you’ve mentally crossed those things off your never-ending “to-do” list.

Also, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, just take a piece of paper or open a blank document on your computer and write/type it all out onto that paper or Word document. Doing this actually helps me sleep better at night too!

Bonus Tip: If you want to try a new way to put your planner to better use, try bullet journaling. This website has a very quick and easy-to-follow instructional video for free. It can be easily utilized in any planner or notebook that you already have, and it’s easy to personalize.

Tip #2: Brush Up On Your Skills

Knowing your stuff saves loads of time and helps you with being more productive/efficient. It’s really as simple as that!

I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your punctuation rules! This is one of the gigantic missing pieces in many “other” transcription training programs out there — punctuation! Without it, there is no sentence flow. With bad punctuation, you can look like a moron. I don’t say that to be mean, either. It’s the hard truth. Proper punctuation makes you a more polished professional.

Don’t believe me? A single misplaced punctuation mark can cause a client to lose trust in your abilities as a transcriptionist. I’ve seen it happen to untrained folks time and time again.

Spelling can also be difficult because sometimes spellings that are acceptable are not necessarily the correct spelling. For example, many British-English words are similar to ours but add an extra letter or two. Often, many people don’t even notice the difference in the spelling, which can really mess you up when attempting to work with clients in other English-speaking countries. That’s a huge reason why all of my intensive course students work through practice dictations with accented English — knowing what to expect beforehand by practicing in a safe training ground makes working with these types of clients in the real world much easier.

You also need to know the rules of transcribing numbers. Transcribing numbers can be equally as difficult as punctuating correctly. Make sure that you know the rules of transcribing addresses, money, dates, measurements, highways, percentages, and time.

What About Grammar?

A lot of people confuse grammar with punctuation. Grammar is the structure of language. Because you’re transcribing what someone said, you can’t change the structure if it’s incorrect. Punctuation is what we use to clarify meaning, so it matters a heck of a lot more than grammar when it comes to transcription.

Tip #3: Utilize Shortcut Keys

Time is truly money in the world of transcription.

To work towards being more productive, utilize your shortcut keys! This excellent little helper has the potential to cut your typing time by at least a quarter (maybe more). The time spent mastering the use of shortcut keys will save you LOADS of time when transcribing later. We cover the use of shortcut keys in depth with both written and video instruction for our general transcription students. Microsoft Word also has some shortcut keys built into the program. A list of them can be found here.

Tip #4: Make Sure Your Computer Programs are Updated!

The first and most important rule about computer maintenance is to make sure that you restart your computer at least once a month to keep your computer faster and will help with being more productive.

Rebooting your computer allows Microsoft to clean up a bit. Microsoft often updates during the rebooting process.

Many times, these updates are to fix known bugs in Microsoft programs, so these updates are vital for your computer’s productivity — and yours, too!

Luckily, many programs update automatically for you. You can check to see if a program on your computer is updated by clicking on the setting option inside the program and looking for the version, and then you can do an internet search for the name of the most recent version of that particular program.