Saturday, May 1, 2010

Work Smarter

We court reporters spend a lot of time in front of our computers. We have specialized software that helps us be efficient. What many people don't do is learn how their software can make their lives easier.

Take advantage of training sessions. Most of our CAT (computer-aided transcription) programs have user groups that meet yearly, if not more frequently. Some groups meet in exotic locations (Las Vegas, NY, LA, etc) and make for a nice business trip/escape/networking opportunity as well as a training experience. If you can't make a big trip, join with a group of local reporters who also use your software and have a little meeting quarterly and share tips and tricks.

My software has its annual user group meeting in Las Vegas. We spend 2-1/2 days learning about how to make our lives easier, do tasks more quickly, learn new features. Our software developer takes our suggestions - and usually implements them into the next development version.

This year's trip paid for itself: I learned - really learned - how to make the transcript indexing portion of the software work for me. Instead of manually typing an index - on every transcript - I can literally hit a button and it is made for me. A little work up front - maybe an hour or so - to set up how it should look will save me hours for every transcript I ever produce in the future.

By working smarter, not harder, I have freed up just that much more time for a real life. And in the end, isn't that why we work, to enjoy our life?

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