The internet is truly an essential tool. However, getting any job done does not depend entirely on such tool. The user will always have his/her fair share as a solution. The internet can be the greatest boon or the worst nightmare. It can impressively simplify your work or suck all your precious time. It can make a medical transcriptionist left empty, frustrated and with heaps of depressing procrastinated tasks in queue. The recipe for using the internet wisely, which you’ll be finding out, takes a little discipline and undivided attention.
Beware of Social Media Hogs.
Undoubtedly the strongest distraction on the web is social media. It is highly tempting and convincing to check your Facebook feed for just “a minute”, but that one short minute ends up stretched to 15-20 minutes watching cute babies eating lemons before you finally realized that it would be a good idea to get back to the project on hand. Remember that social media sites are designed to be highly engaging, entertaining and aimed to make it hard for its user to leave. Set specific time limits for your social media usage. It would be ideal to never check them during work, but if you cannot reign yourself in, set an alarm and log off the site as soon as the alarm rings. If you find this hard to implement then maybe consider uninstalling social media apps from your smartphone and use them only via the browser on your computer.
Notifications are a big culprit of unproductivity. Individually a single notification might not hurt much, but when you are constantly bombarded by several from WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail throughout the day, notifications can take their silent toll. Research in the field of Interruption Science reveals that it takes workers an average 15 minutes to return to their task at hand after responding to a notification. Researchers even noted that people tend to forget what they were working on before the notification pinged them. It disrupts the “flow”. Ouch! Notifications do cost a lot. Handle notifications by cultivating a practice of responding to them only when you are on a break. Turn push notifications off and check them manually. Also, keep your phone in “silent” mode.
Follow a Schedule.
General or medical transcription jobs can sometime be overwhelming. A person’s brain cannot maintain high level of focus for extended periods of time. Hence a common productivity mantra is to work in short bursts of intense focus and this applies to working online as well. A famous technique that gets thrown around a lot is the ‘pomodoro technique’. Essentially it asks you to work with full focus for every 23-25 minutes followed by a short break lasting 5 minutes. After you have finished four such cycles of intense focus and relaxation, you can reward yourself with an hour long break. When taking a break do something that is completely unrelated to what you’re working on. Following an earlier point, you can check your notifications, do some yogic breathing, play the guitar, listen to a song, etc and then get back to work. Choose to do stuff that activate the other hemisphere of your brain while taking a break. If your work demands using the creative hemisphere, then during your break, take on something logical to tickle your right hemisphere and vice-versa.
Make working easier.
Studies have shown that shifting to a bigger screen or even adding multiple screens to your workplace boosts productivity by reducing the time spent in shifting between windows and applications. If you work on a laptop, get a mouse. Even the most advanced track pads cannot match the efficiency of the humble computer mouse. Learn and implement keyboard shortcuts for popular software like browsers, text editors and mail clients.
Be aware of dangerous pseudo work.
The pseudo-worker looks like someone who is working hard and spending long hours working but because of the lack of focus and concentration, he doesn’t accomplish much. If you have been complaining for the lack of time, then consider checking if you are pseudo working. Being aware that you are cheating yourself when you could be doing better is sufficient to get you on your toes and perform productively. Learn to meditate and practice some yoga daily. You’ll find yourself with razor sharp concentration, a common by-product of meditation.
Yes, you read that right. The logic behind this counter-intuitive piece of advice is that, if you have less time to complete a work, you are more likely to get it done quickly. For instance, challenge yourself to complete something that would normally take you an hour in 45 minutes. Consider adding hobbies and activities to your life and pack your schedule with activities like volunteering, learning a new skill, etc. Just to give you an example, it will take longer to complete a presentation if you’ve got nothing else lined up for the day. But if your to-do lists is beckoning you to finish animating your presentation, blog about your new recipe and also teach a yoga class, then you will inevitably end up finishing your presentation quickly and often with the same level of quality. An added bonus with this will be the strong feeling of accomplishment and fulfilment with which you will hit the bed every night.
In simple words, the human brain, sadly, is not designed to multi-task. Despite all the hype and praise multi-tasking receives, research clearly shows otherwise. Plenty of reliable studies and experiments have shown that constantly switching from one task to another hurts the brain, makes it harder to filter out unnecessary information, leads to impaired judgment for decision making and puts people at an increased risk of committing mistakes. Rather, consider working in short burst of high focus. That way, tasks get done quickly allowing you to get through the day with increased productivity.
Well, those are the 7 simple and immediately implementable pieces of advice you can use to boost your productivity for your general and/or medical transcription endeavor online. Get on and give them a shot. With the increased free time as a possible result, do come back and share your story!