To be successful as a legal transcriptionist, we must manage our time wisely; a big part of that is managing interruptions.
Of course, we all expect that our day’s work will suffer from interruptions as contact with colleagues, clients, and others is absolutely necessary to continue the essential flow of information. But there are ways to be more efficient with our time. Interruptions come in forms too many to list exhaustively but here are some of the ways we handle our top four interruptions while working.
Telephone calls are ever-present and (usually) a necessary part of the day. However, when and how we field these calls is an important part of time management. For our scheduled calls, we pencil in how long we expect the call to take. Of course, this time can vary based on unique situations but if we have a time in mind before we make or take the call, it can really help us stay on track. If we receive an unscheduled call, we make a quick judgment about how long the conversation should be based on who is calling and why. We’re usually pretty close. Just being aware of the time can help us better keep track of it. Limiting the time spent on the phone is a conscious, ongoing effort and we must make that effort every time.
“Time is the school in which we learn, time is the fire in which we burn.” – Delmore Schwartz
E-mails may be a quick and easy way to communicate but they can be a time drain when you handle a few score a day. To keep ourselves from getting bogged down with excess e-mails, we have set up filters so that our emails are automatically sorted by file and priority. Also, we have a specific time during the day where we review and answer our e-mails within a prescribed time frame. This makes our time as efficient as possible and better streamlines our workflow.
We were all told as teenagers to devote a few minutes each day to cleaning our rooms. Those of us that took the advice saw a big payoff; cleaning up our desks gives the same rewards. At the end of each day without fail, we make a point to schedule at least ten minutes to reduce any clutter choking our productivity. One very good and simple rule we’ve picked up is to put things back where they were before we grabbed them. From the stapler to a client’s file, we know where everything is and can quickly put our hands on it without delay. We don’t waste time looking for job details that we received two days ago and our stress level will not rise in fruitless search. A simple filing system goes a long way towards staying organized and minimizing interruptions in the day.
Side talk can really drain time. It feels rude to tell coworkers we can’t visit so we would, of course, proceed to chat about the weather, the news, personal issues, gossip—all the while we’re thinking about the work that’s sitting on our desks not getting done. We came to a realization. The fact is, we’re working and so we decided long ago that it isn’t rude to tell someone (politely) to go away. It is necessary. We close our office door, put a sign up that we’re working and it works. We’re (usually) left in peace with no extended conversations that can eat away at production.
The Pay Off
The way we handle interruptions can make our break how much we can accomplish in our work day. Interruptions are certainly a part of working life but when we identify our biggest time drains and work more efficiently, we get more done in less time and with much less stress. We hope some of the ways we minimize interruptions in our work day help you out. The ability to get back in the groove after an interruption is a tough skill to master but we are rewarded when we make a conscious effort to return quickly to our transcription and save the emails, clutter and extended chats for later.
If you are an experienced and certified legal transcriptionist looking to work with a company that offers top page rates and the opportunity to collaborate with a group of like-minded professionals, we want to hear from you.
Two things that helped me big time was keeping my office free of clutter and investing in a second computer so I have a dedicated one just for work.
Great ideas, Alice. So glad you have a setup that works well for you!