6 Practical Time Management Tips for Court Reporters
Court reporters have to deal with numerous court transcripts and tight attorney deadlines every day. These strict deadlines demand effective time management practices, hence the need for time management tips for court reporters.
Court stenographers must know how to manage their time and organize work and personal life commitments to meet the demands of their job. Here are six practical time management tips for court reporters to help them effectively navigate the needs of their profession.
Plan Your Day
It's perhaps the oldest time management tip in the book, but it's still hugely effective. Taking an hour every morning to schedule the day's activities will help you delegate tasks according to their importance, avoid multitasking, limit procrastination, and optimize productivity.
For instance, if you know you work better in the morning, you can choose to work on court transcripts and any other work-related tasks at the start of your day while you focus on other activities later.
You can also delegate how you handle work commitments throughout the day. For example, you can edit your transcripts in the morning and proofread them later in the evening. It all depends on what you feel works for you.
Scheduling your day also means you'll deal less with stress because you can plan breaks into your schedule to enable you to freshen up. You could either use a notepad or take advantage of daily planner apps to plan your day.
This strategy is another age-old but efficient time management tip. You're not likely to get much work done if your workspace is filled with distractions, such as TV and your mobile phone.
You need to cut out as many distracting influences as possible for optimal productivity. For example, keep your phone away from your workspace. If you must keep your phone around while you work, freeze all social media and instant messaging applications.
Resist the urge to check every email or any other notification that pops up. Don't take every phone call unless it's work-related or highly urgent. You can always call back later, after all.
If you work from home, you may want to consider not having a TV in your home office. You should also seclude your office space from other parts of the house where the family can easily barge in.
Furthermore, you can let your kids and spouse know before you begin work that you'd like some privacy for some hours. That way, they'll know not to interfere with your office time.
While you're at the office building, you might want to limit the co-worker chit-chat when handling urgent tasks.
Use a Do Not Disturb Sign
Do not disturb signs at home or the office are the ultimate way to let your family and colleagues know that you want your privacy at a particular time. It's an effective technique to limit people-related distractions and focus solely on work.
If you're going to meet deadlines faster, a do not disturb sign to limit interruptions is non-negotiable.
Breaks might not seem like one of the best time management tips for court reporters, especially when they have deadlines to meet, but they are necessary. You cannot get much work done when you're tired. In fact, you work slower and are more likely to give in to distractions when you're stressed.
Overworking yourself can also lead to burnout, which could potentially affect your health and, eventually, your work-life. You need to stay fresh to do your best work, and timely and regular breaks are the best way to ensure that.
Schedule times during work tasks to rest and refresh your body and mind. You could decide to take a walk, sit outside the lawn (if you're working from home), grab a snack, take a nap, or even indulge in a little bit of social media.
However, it also helps to plan how long your breaks should last. You don't want to go from taking a break to avoiding work altogether.
You could decide to relax for an hour or two. Once you feel fresh and ready to go, get back to work immediately.
Break Large Tasks into Smaller Bits
One reason we procrastinate is that some tasks are just too large and daunting. So because we dread the time and mental and physical energy it'll take to complete them, we continue to push them forward.
But how about breaking these large tasks into smaller bits of work? For example, instead of transcribing, editing, and proofreading a court session in one morning, you could break the job into smaller chunks and spread them throughout your day.
You could decide to transcribe the proceedings in the morning, then edit and proofread later in the evening. Depending on what works for you, you could even choose to edit at noon and proofread after dinner.
The idea is to break up tasks to allow you to get them done on time without needless delays.
Find Your Comfort Zone
Regardless of how many time management strategies you employ, they won't amount to much if you're not comfortable while working.
That's why one of the most vital time management tips for court reporters is to organize the work environment and work time to be as comfortable as possible.
For example, you need to figure out when you work best and begin your court reporting duties around that time. If you're not sure of your most comfortable work time, you can monitor your work pattern and productivity over a couple of days.
Check out when you had the most work done and when your concentration levels began to lag. These details should give you an idea of when you work best.
The comfortability of your workspace should also be a priority. For instance, if you're working from home, you need to answer some crucial questions. Do you love working close to the outdoors, or do you prefer somewhere secluded?
If it's the former, you might want to consider setting up your office close to a glass door to give you a view of your backyard lawn. Regardless, the idea is to create enough comfort to make you more productive.
Court reporters often have to deal with an avalanche of tasks. These tasks can seem impossible to handle if they do not manage time effectively.
With practical and actionable time management strategies, court reporters can maximize their productivity and meet those daunting deadlines.
Our firm provides expert remote court reporting services, with particular emphasis on timely delivery of tasks. We also offer a wide range of legal support services for solo and medium-sized law firms. Contact us today to learn more about our services.