I’m really excited to introduce you to my special guest today. Mahesh Kumar of the Transcription Certification Institute. He knows the ins and outs of transcribing and he’s here to share eleven tips and five tools to make you more productive when transcribing. Get ready to take some serious notes. Take it away Mahesh…
In transcription, the standard practice is to get paid by the hour, not an hour of your work but by an hour of audio. So, the faster you transcribe, the better money you make.
Most people tend to think it’s all about typing speed: it’s just one factor. Besides the ability to type fast, you need to be accurate too. The following tips will tell you how to increase your productivity. It also recommends some tools to measure your performance.
11 Productive Approaches for Transcriptionists to Getting Better Results
#1 Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
When we work at home, we tend to be informal in our body language and slouch on our chair. This puts pressure on our spine and leads to backaches. If the height does not match the workstation, it puts a strain on your wrist too. Your choice of a chair should take care of your sitting posture. You can invest either in an ergonomic chair or chair ball or any trendy furniture that is good for your posture. When you are comfortable, you instinctively are more focused and this makes you productive.
#2 Allocate a Separate Workplace
One of our tips to transcribers is that you need to keep yourself professional despite the fact that you are working from home. The professionalism should take over when you are working because you are careful and tend to make fewer mistakes. Since a home is a place of comfort and chores (read distraction) you need to get away from all this while you work. It’s advisable to seclude yourself to a room to avoid any form of disturbance or distraction.
#3 Reduce Distractions
How easy is it to get up for a glass of water or coffee and end up cleaning the kitchen instead? Most work from home professionals are guilty of this. To reduce distractions, keep everything that you may need while doing transcription work within your reach. Items such as your mobile phone, eyeglasses, or reference books should be easily accessible. Don’t forget to keep a bottle of water at your desk.
#4 Keep a Dictionary for Instant Referencing
Make it a point to install soft copies of a dictionary for instant referencing with just a few clicks of the mouse. If you are comfortable with a hard copy you can keep one, but referencing from a soft copy is faster.
#5 Use Google for Research
It’s highly recommended to set Google as the homepage on your computer, simply because it’s the ultimate referencing source.
#6 Use Keyboard Shortcuts
The essence of transcription ergonomics is to use the mouse less while increasing the use of the keyboard. Each mouse click costs you 1.04 seconds in speed or more (Source). To access a menu, you have to make a minimum of 3 clicks. Try practicing the Microsoft Word shortcuts if you happen to use the MS Word processor.
#7 Use Word Expander Programs
Using word expanders can increase productivity and speed up your work. You just need to feed the standard sentences into the word expanders. These can then be retrieved with just a few strokes on the keyboard. This is very useful when transcribing legal, medical, insurance related or focus group related audios. You can start with MS Word’s autocorrect feature and keep expanding your list.
#8 Type Easier with Mechanical Keyboard
It is advisable to use a mechanical keyboard rather than a membrane keyboard, as you are likely to find typing easier with it.
#9 Use Techniques to Cope with Tough Words
You should try tips and techniques for filling in the blanks if you don’t get a certain word on the first go, rather than getting stuck and then panicking. Use Google to find a solution. In transcription, accuracy matters. When you press your panic button, you become discomposed and start making errors. You can always come back to the word later. Don’t make it break your flow. All transcriptionists know the value of money lost when stuck with a word. One technique that can help you in the long run is to read a lot about the subject that you transcribe often.
#10 Practice Makes Perfect
Try to practice transcribing tough audio files, and if you are new to transcription, practice typing as much as possible. Tough audios pay more by the hour.
#11 Determine Your Goals on Daily Basis
Set daily targets like transcribing ten-minute audio files in 55 minutes, 45 minutes, 42 minutes and so on.
5 Productivity Tools That Makes Work from Home Easier
It’s one of the most efficient and handy tools to save notes, set reminders, organize photos and upload attachments, all synced across different desktop and mobile devices.
While working from home, you may sometimes feel lonely and bored. At such times, the best remedy is to go out elsewhere that refreshes your mind. For such situations, the Work+ app will help you locate nearby places based on criteria like Wi-Fi, Coffee, peace etc. So you can accomplish your tasks within a certain time frame in a new setting.
It’s a productivity tool that sits on your Mac or PC’s status bar. It tracks your activity on the computer during the allotted time frame. This basically helps workers to analyze and maximize their outputs.
Pomodoro Technique to Raise Your Output
It’s normal for a person to get bored from a long schedule of work. Pomodoro technique is an extremely powerful technique to break down your work into intervals separated by short breaks. For example, 30-minute work periods with 5-minute breaks. This helps you raise your output and productivity as you are working to “beat the clock”.
There is an absolutely free chrome extension that helps you restrict the amount of time you are allowed to spend on time-wasting sites like Facebook. You can customize it according to your preferences such as which sites to block, how long to block them, etc.
Use these tips to improve your productivity and earn more per hour of audio.
About Mahesh Kumar
Mahesh is the spokesperson of Transcription Certification Institute, a Buffalo, NY based educational institution that provides comprehensive certification and training courses for general transcription. With the courses created by industry professionals, you can become a certified general transcriptionist and start earning from the comfort of your home.