Transcription Power Tool #3 : WorkRave Pacing Program

 

workrave_screenshot

WorkRave Work Pacing and Repetitive Strain Illness (RSI) Management Tool

 

Workrave ( http://www.workrave.org ) is an EXCELLENT, totally FREE and little open source freeware software application which provides some highly valuable computer work pacing features, as well as regularly timed short, and longer, work break reminders, along with some helpful exercises to do during those breaks to counteract the risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury). Workrave is available as a TOTALLY free download at :

 

http://www.workrave.org/download/

 

The program is easy to use, and works on Windows, Mac AND LINUX operating systems. Please feel free to go ahead and download, install, and play around with the program as soon as you can, to reap the benefits immediately. I ASSURE you that you will see a noticeable increase in your productivity just in your first few hours of integrating this excellent tool into your daily workflow.

 

For such an essentially simple program this tool provides some highly valuable time and effort management functions, so that your overall productivity will increase NOTICEABLY, while simultaneously decreasing the productivity obstacles presented by repetitive, monotonous bodily and mental activities which create stress – and even potential long term illness- if not managed  over extended periods of time. Although the standard definition of Repetitve Strain Illness focuses mainly on PHYSICALLY strainful, repetitive activity, any worker who heavily uses their computer for several hours per day in order to do important tasks knows that the MENTALLY strenuous and/or menial activities are EQUALLY taxing on the whole mind-body system – especially because the mind and body are so interconnected – and so for the purposes of this analysis as it relates primarily to computer teleworkers (and transcriptionists/proofeaders specifically), Repetitive Strain Injuries in this discussion will include mental activities as well physical ones.

 

For teleworkers, some significant physical repetitive strain producing activities include : eye strain resulting from staring at the computer screen for long periods of time, back pain resulting from sitting up for long periods, and joint pain commonly in the fingers, wrists, arms, neck and/or back areas, resulting primarily from long periods of stationary sitting, posture-maintaining, and typing and mouse activities. Some of the major mentally straining activities include: difficulty concentrating, anxiety resulting from mental exhaustion, noticeable decrease in cognitive ability, and hyper-aroused nervous system states (including moodiness, agitation, insomnia, etc.). These often result from enduring long periods of sustained, focused mental attention on more single, narrowed subject matter, fine textual details, and repetitive tasks. These mental ailments develop primarily due to a failure to take adequate rest breaks away from the computer to let the mind rest and recuperate. Just as a body builder experiences the maximum physical gains by integrating adequate rest periods into their training routine, so the teleworker gains similar benefits from achieving a proper balance of activity and rest.

 

Some of the more technical names for of the most common Repetitive Strain Injuries (RSI’s) include : Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Information Overload, Pressure/Stress Headaches, hyper-arousal induced insomnia, etc. More detailed information and examples of these conditions and their causes can be found here :

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetitive_strain_injury

 

And a more in-depth analysis of the occupational risk factors for teleworkers is well examined here :

 

Working From Home Can Sabotage Your Health

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/121097/20160104/working-from-home-can-sabotage-your-health-ways-telecommuting-can-make-you-ill.htm

 

Luckily, Workrave addresses many of the most significant telecommuter health issue by providing some valuable core features which are simple to execute, yet highly effective in helping to manage and minimize the manifestation and development of these Repetitive Strain Injuries. Plus, it does so in a way which, when properly used, is quite non-intrusive, and highly customizable based on the unique physical and mental needs of the individual worker.

 

The most useful features of the program can probably be best understood through actual case study examples of the typical daily workflow of the teleworker (in this case, the transcriber/proofreader). To best achieve this I will use my own, personal daily workflow as an example here, and show how the Workrave tool is integrated so easily and effectively with the most common workflow tasks of teleworkers (and even computer workers) in general.

 

Let’s say on a typical day I end up doing eight full hours of computer work on various tasks. Upon waking in the morning I usually start working on one of my private client transcription/proofreading projects. I will load my transcription software, continue from where I left off last on the transcription or proofread. I have found that working in 15 minutes chunks is ideal for the specific nature and needs of my body and mind. That is, I will usually transcribe or proofread for 15 minutes, and then either switch things up significantly to consuming some work-related (or non-work related) audio, video or textual resources (ex. YouTube videos, podcasts, web articles, etc.) If my energy levels are further down I can choose the third alternative option of completely disengaging from physical and mental work activity, and instead spend the next 15 minute chunk of time doing some menial daily chores (ex. cleaning, meditating, walking around the room or yard, etc.) So, the three 15 time slots include : 15 minutes of work-related computer work, 15 minutes of less  (or non) – computer related content consumption, or 15 minutes of physical activity which does not involved intense mental activity. The more you understand the ideal mixtures of task sessions which are unique to YOU, the sooner you can most appropriately customize the WorkRave program scheduling features to most effectively assist you in sticking to the specific organization of activity program you choose.

 

So, continuing to build upon the above example, I go into the WorkRave settings area and set the micro-break intervals to 15 minutes. This means that every 15 minutes a “break screen” pops up and stops any activity on the machine (ex. Keyboard and mouse input, etc.) I also program the DURATION of these microbreaks to be 30 seconds. In this way, after every 15 chuck of my work the program forces me to AT LEAST take 30 seconds to stop what I am doing, take a deep breath, rest, and clear my mind in order to best plan for the next 15 minutes activity chunk. After this first microbreak I move into the first alternative task (let’s say watching an interesting YouTube tutorial video on one of the new software programs I am learning and planning to integrate into my arsenal of work tools). The MORE INTERESTING you make this second task (specially relating the task to the first (and also) third task session), the more productivity benefits you will get from switching and pacing the tasks. IDEALLY, the most effective mix of tasks includes a logical component to this transition. For instance, if you are specifically focusing on improving your use of punctuation during your proofreading tasks then switching to watching an interesting YouTube video related to some aspect of proofreading will provide a nice repetition and reinforcement component to your activities (and self-training) schedule. The key is to try and consume resources which are interesting, motivating, and applicable as quickly as possible into your workflow. By doing this you are able to apply (and build) the knowledge and skills you are absorbing during the different task sessions, in real-time, and the continuous, tangible improvement in your productivity which results from this will further motivate you to pace and organize your efforts properly, using SEVERAL tools, including WorkRave.

 

After the second 15 minute task, the next micro-break box pops up and I can then rest for 30 seconds while I also decide if it is most appropriate to switch back to the first (active project work) activity session, or if I feel that my body and mind are becoming more drained of energy and focus I can choose to switch to the third task session, which involves some physical activity without mental activity. In this case I may spend the third 15 minute activity session doing some silent meditation, or giving the kitchen or bathroom a routine 15 minute clean, I may prepare some food (which, in my specific case, general consists of a light, liquid and raw fruits and vegetables based diet. I could, for instance, brew a pot of one of my favorite, and most appropriate types of Chinese tea which I drink daily. While this is another subject worth elaborating on elsewhere (when I talk about proper nutrition for the teleworker), I find that taking a 15 minute break to drink a pot of high quality tea (specifically a black or Puerh category tea if I need more energy, and a green, white, or herbal tea in the evening when I am in the process of “coming down”) is a HUGE boon to my productivity AND the overall health of my body. Once the 15 minute tea drinking activity session finishes, the third micro-break box pops up on the screen. Actually, after the third session it is really best to schedule one of the longer breaks (which include the guided exercise activities). So, in this example I will program one of the long breaks every 45 minutes – that is, after I complete the full round of the three main 15 minute activity sessions.

 

Aside from time the interval (45 minutes in this case) between breaks you can also customize the DURATION of the longer breaks. Again, this proper duration will be unique to your body and mind. I find that after the three 15 minute microbreaks, a good 5 to 10 minute long break is appropriate to really properly recuperate from the past hour of heavy activity. For a few minutes at the beginning of the longer break the program provides you with some guided examples of some common, and effective, basic exercises that you can perform along with the program’s timer. These exercises are focuses on addressing the most common physical Repetitive Strain Injuries, and range from eye exercises to stretching exercises for various high use body parts. The nice thing is that you have the option to follow the exercises provided, and/or replace or add some of your own preferred exercises. I like to try to AT LEAST follow the provided exercises, and then in the remaining non-activity time, where the program stops providing exercises and simply let’s the break timer run, I add a few of my own good ones – mainly consisting of some powerful yoga and Chi Gong stretching, and movement exercises. I may also take some of this remaining time to cease all physical and mental activity by lying on my bed with eyes closed..

 

Once the longer break is completed you will usually feel well rested, and ready to run through the cycle again – depending, of course, on how many cycles you have already completed. With this specific routine you can get quite a lot of work done in an eight hour daily work session. The program also has a customizable “daily limit” timer. This box will pop up to remind you that you have reached your self-estimated overall time-work threshold for the day. If you have more accurately customized the time interval on this feature you may find this a refreshing notification and conclusion of your workday, and you will likely be happy to shut down your work activities and computer for the remainder of the day. However, if you decide (for a variety of possible reasons, including approaching deadlines, glut of work, compulsive tendencies, etc.) to do some additional work, you have the option to “cancel” this daily work reminder. If you do this, however, it IS recommended that in the additional work time you perform for the day you extend the frequency and duration of micro and longer breaks. As some friendly advice from someone who suffers from SEVERE insomnia, plus internet addiction, and other goodies – which is only exacerbated by the constant hyper-arousal induced by above the eight hour threshold of daily computer work, often even reaching up into the double-digits —) yikes – I can tell you from experience that as you endure more hours it become increasingly important to include a pacing mechanism which gradually slows down your physical and mental activity so that when you finally conclude the day’s work your body and mind will be in as an ideal of a state as possible to facilitate sleep and recovery. Ultimately, you want to customize your pacing schedule so that, with the help of the WorkRave program features, you are able to slowly wind down to a soft conclusion of activity which will make it easier for you body and mind to transition to the lower level of brainwave  activity to allow you to get the proper amount and quality of sleep required to maintain consistent productivity over days, weeks, and months. Pacing is a VITAL component to computer-based telework and non-telework. If you can achieve a high level of control over your energy exertion you will be able to maximize the overall results of your effort. If you CAN’T achieve this control then you will tend to experience a progressively increasing level of physical and mental exhaustion which can very likely develop into more serious,  longer term injuries over your extended work periods of days, weeks, months, and beyond.

 

Developing good pacing habits is therefore a vital component to telework, and one which ultimately translates into better health, higher productivity and income earning potential. People who are able to properly pace themselves are able to get more work done with less effort, and experience less health issues which have a tendency to have a detrimental effects on productivity in the short and the long term. This is why I STRONGLY suggest using a simple, yet powerful – and FREE – program like WorkRave as a fundamental tool in your teleworker tool kit.

 

One of the challenges people face when using a program like WorkRave is that you may sometimes find that both the micro and longer breaks feel like they are a bit intrusive, and distracting, to your efforts. However, I find that if in the times when I have those feelings it is very helpful to force myself to take the break, and then practice some meditation on those negative feelings which the rest break alerts trigger in me. I sit or lie down on my floor or the bed, and with my eyes closed allow the feelings to arise naturally and without trying to stop them. Then I examine and reflect on the feelings and sensations to try and figure out the deeper force driving them.. For instance, I ask myself WHY I feel frustrated by the break? Is it simply because I want to get more work done, but by doing so I would overextend myself? I ponder whether or not the break is actually HELPING to increase my productivity and comfort level, Even though at the time of the break I may have negative feelings what I have found is that, looking back in hindsight, it is most often the case that even though I had to endure some frustration due to the interruptive nature of the breaks, they did INDEED successfully serve the purpose of increasing my productivity. In addition, the program forces me, in a healthy way, to confront my own mental processed (and neuroses, or maybe more accurately, demons) which cause me to put up the resistance. A major benefit of this analysis  is that it helps you to begin to gain a better understanding of the destructive ways in which your impulses, compulsions, and counterproductive thought patterns contribute to improper pacing. So in the end this program also has the potential to help you change your pacing routine by changing the underlying destructive psychological mechanisms which have a tendency to force you to push body and mind beyond their limits, and ultimately sabotage your potential maximum productivity.

 

On a more practical level, one of the first things you can do if you find, through analysis, yourself feeling justifiably frustrated at the pacing of the breaks is to simply increase the time interval between them. You do this in the setting section of the program. Since everyone has unique physical and mental needs, once you figure out and customize your own proper individual pacing schedule you actually will be more welcoming of the breaks, accepting them as a necessary – albeit somewhat frustrating – tool, which helps you bypass your own self-destructive tendencies, and just start accepting that the breaks are indeed ultimately necessary for, and effective at, producing a significant increase to your productivity. Plus, the various metrics you can apply to judge this increase in productivity (for example, the number of total increase in transcription/proofreading output time ( based on a word count), an increase in income due to the increase in productivity), etc. will highly motivate you to appreciate and take full advantage of such a valuable tool as WorkRave. You will naturally accept the automated pacing schedule provided by the program.and gain maximum benefits from the breaks, and experience a general  diminishing need to cancel or postpone them. Once you reach this milestone, you KNOW that you are making real progress, and ultimately the improvement in pacing ability that you develop from regular use of this program will naturally transfer into the pacing of activities in other areas of your life (ex. Better organizing and pacing plans to achieve dietary goals, serious exercise routines, general career and life planning, etc. Ultimately, pacing is a valuable life skill to master.

 

Well, quite a lot has been said in this post about a nifty freeware program which may APPEAR on first glance to be quite simple and insignificant. However,us free-thinking, smart people know that the most profound,  influential – and often revolutionary – philosophers and innovators in history have expressed the common important opinion along the lines that the best ideas and inventions are those which are the simplest. Taking the wise words of one such great thinker, Albert Einstein, “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

So it is on this enlightening final note that will I put some closure on this rather comprehensive, and hopefully helpful, reviews of the WorkRave productivity enhancement application. It is my sincere hope that any reader of this post will experience the significant benefits of integrating this tool into their work routine, and as a result experience an increase in productivity, income – and most importantly – the most valuable gift of increased self-awareness.

 

If you do try out the program please feel free to send your comments (both positive and negative) so that all readers of this blog can benefit, as well as sharing this post with anyone who you believe will benefit from the information.

 

Happy Transcribing,

@TranscriptJunky

https://twitter.com/TranscriptJunky

 

 

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Free Transcript Project : #7

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Source video
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Title : “Evernote Tips : The 11 Amazing Features That Make Using Evernote So Freaking Awesome”

URL : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ce2_gWZHBIs

Organization         : “Evernote Scott” :
Web Site                 : http://www.scottbradley.name/
YouTube Channel : https://www.youtube.com/user/EvernoteScott 

Host                        : Scott Bradley
Contact                  :  contact@scottbradley.name

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Transcript
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Scott Bradley : Hello everybody. This is Scott Bradley from the web site scottbradley.name . In this video I’m going to share with you the ten features that make Evernote massively powerful as a tool to use in your daily life – either as an entrepreneur, or as a busy professional. If you haven’t already created your account I recommend that you do so. All you have to do is go to Evernote.com, and in the top right-hand corner go through the prompts to create your account with your username and what-not. I’m going to show you – this is the web-based version of the application – but as you know there is also a Mac [offline] based version of the application, and I will be showing you a couple of the features that you’re able to have in the [offline] application compared to the web application. So, I’m going to start with the web-app features and then I’m going to move right into the application features – and I do believe they have it for PC as well as Mac.

So, within Evernote, when you get your account the inside of Evernote is going to look like this. You’re  going to have a left-hand panel that is going to show “notebooks” and “tags”. You’re going to have this column here which will basically show the “notes” within each “notebook”. Then over here is basically where the “note” content is. So, if you’re new to Evernote you’re going to find out that the way that the content and the organization of the actual application is, you have your “notebooks” at the top, your “notes” within the “notebook” – you’ll be able to select – and then content within each “note” within each “notebook”. So, I know that may be a little confusing, but I want to make it clear for you by going through each of the features.

So, within Evernote – again, when you sign in, this is what it looks like. So the very first feature that I want to show you is that you can crete a series of notebooks – an unlimited amount of notebooks within Evernote – and I’m going to show you why that is valuable. So in here, to create a notebook, you’re going to come here and click this downward arrow and click “new notebook” – and we’re just going to call it “test”. Then, the best thing about creating notebooks, is that you can create “notes” within notebooks. So as you can see here in the top right-hand corner, you have a new note, and we’re just going to title it “test” and “a test” as the note content. Then you’re going to click “done”. Now as you can see here, within the “test” notebook there was a new “test” [note] that was created, and then you have the word “test” within the note content. The best thing about this is that you can go in here and actually add more text and click “done”, and you have your notes. So imagine in each notebook you can have an unlimited amount of notes that are in this notebook, in and of itself.

So, that moves me to the next feature I’m going to show – feature #2. Basically, I’m going to show you that you can [do] what’s called “stacking” notebooks. So, for instance, say you have a series of notebooks that you want to group under one specific category, you can do that in Evernote very, very easily. The way to do that – again, I’m just going to create a brand new notebook… “test 2”. So as you can see here I have “test” and “test 2” notebooks. What I want to do is, say for instance, both of these notebooks are different types of food, and I want to create a super-notebook and call that “food notes’, and this one would probably be “Japanese” and this one would be “Chinese”. I’m just using that as an example. You can use it the way you want, but I’m just showing you how to work it. So, what you do to create a stack is you click the notebook, and then you drag it on top of “test 2”, and then you let go of your mouse. Then you name your stack – we’re going to do “food types” and “save”. So as you can see here, it created a super-notebook and “sub-notebooks” under that super-notebook. And the thing is that you can make it go big, make it go small, and all that good stuff. It’s just a really, great feature that makes Evernote so awesome, because you can really organize lots of information. In all of the videos I create here on the YouTube channel you will see that this is really valuable. So, “stacks” is the second thing.

The third thing that I want to show you – and again, we’re going to go back to that one place with the note, and I’m going to “refresh” here. All right, so the next feature that I want to show you is what are called “tags”. So, depending on how your brain works – my brain works differently than yours, obviously – but the next thing I want to show you is what tags are, and why they are valuable. So, in the framework you have the “notebook”, you have the “note” within the notebook, and you have the content of the note within the notebook. What’s great is that the tags allow you to create one more type of filtering mechanism within your Evernote notebook in being effective in finding what you need, or using information in a strategic way to accomplish goals and results and all of that stuff. So, I’m going to show you how to do that within the web notebook – or the web-based application. So all you have to do is come up here and click “edit”. As you can see here there are “alt add” tags. So what you do is click on that, and what we’re going to do is “test tag”. Once you’re done with that, click “off”, press “done”, and as you can see here there’s a tag called “test tag”. Now, I’m going to refresh to show you why that’s valuable. If you notice in the left hand column – you know we have all of our notebooks up here – and in the bottom left-hand corner we have our “tags”. So say, for instance, you have hundreds of thousands of notes in here, and they’re all tagged appropriately and what-not. If you click up here on “All Notes” – which basically, again, shows you all of the notes you have – and this Evernote note is what shows up immediately when you first sign in. Actually, instead of 10 features I’m going to show you 11 features. I just now realized that I forgot one, so I’m going to explain what the “web clipper” is at the very end. Let me write that down here… okay. So, the best thing about tags is that if you select that the “All Notebook” notebook, and you press “test tag”, it will only pull up the notes that are tagged with that actual tag that you created. So, you can image – depending on how your brain works, and depending on the type of information and certain things that you’re integrating into your life – when using this application, you’ll be able to use tags effectively. Again, in all of these videos I am creating for you I will show you certain ways to leverage tags as you integrate Evernote into your life to be more effective as an entrepreneur or a busy professional.

All right. The next thing I want to show you which makes Evernote so awesome – as I am a massive proponent of Evernote – is the “search” feature. Again, this is another filtering mechanism to help you find the information you need in a quick, efficient way. So, I’m just going to show you how it works. Typically, when I do searches with in my Evernote, what I make sure I first do is click “All Notes” at the top, and as you see here there’s a search bar. So say, for instance, we want to find the note that says “test” in it, all that you have to do is go “test”, then “search”, and boom – there it is. So it pulls up notes within notebooks with the words that you’re searching for. And again, from a filtering mechanism like, “Oh, I know I wrote that down in Evernote, but I just don’t know where it is.” the search feature really helps you be effective in finding that information when you need it most. So that’s really good.

The next feature which I’m going to show you, which is feature number – let’s see… one… two… three… four… five… on our list – is the ability to share notes with people via a link. Whether you want to share it in Facebook, share in Twitter, share it in email – this is a really great feature that, depending on how you use it – or depending on how you want to use it – you do have this option. So, I’m just going to show you how to do that really quick. So, I’m going to go back to our “test one” notebook for this actual note, and I’m going to show you how to do it. It’s really, really simple. On the top right corner you’re going to see the “share” button with a downward arrow. Then there’s this menu that pops up. What you’re going to do is you’re going to click “link”, and it’s going to give you this link in this note URL. So, I’m going to do “COMMAND + C” on my Apple, or if you’re on a PC you want to do “CONTROL + C” to copy it, and then you’re going to close, and as you can see here this is now shared, and so if I open up a new window and press “CONTROL + V” – which copies it – this is an actual public-based note that I can share via email. If I want to throw it into Facebook, or I want to throw it into Twitter you do have that option – which is a really, really great feature within Evernote that allows you to use it in a myriad of ways dependent on what your needs are as a busy professional or an entrepreneur. So, I really like this feature. Now, if you wanted turn the sharing off of a specific note note, all you need to do is come up here, press “share” and then press “stop sharing” and boom, you’re done. So you can turn it on, you can turn it off – depending on what you need to do – it’s really effective. So I’m sure your brain is swirling with ideas right now, but I’m going to keep going.

So the next feature on our list [is] as you can share “notes”, you can also share “notebooks” – which is another great feature within Evernote if you’re doing projects with teams that are remote. Whether your friend is in New York and you have another friend in Vienna, and another friend in Texas and you’re in California, you can share notebooks and create an entire project and manage a lot of stuff within one notebook within Evernote, which again is a really valuable thing. So, I’m going to show you how to do that. Again, very similarly to sharing individual notes, you’re going to do the same exact thing. So just make sure that the notebook you want to share is highlighted. Then in the top right-hand corner you’re going to see the share button, and it says “share notebooks”. So you share the notebook, and then you basically select which one you want to start sharing and then it’s going to ask you, “What are the emails of the people you want to share this with?” Then it will send them the invited via email and then they can follow the process of accepting the shared notebook. Very, very cool feature if you are managing virtual teams, or your team is virtual. Whatever it is that you do it’s really effective. So, I really like that feature as well.

Now, another feature that makes Evernote so awesome is that, as you all know, we all have an email account. We all have an email client that we’re using, whether it’s Gmail or Macmail or Outlook or Hotmail, or whatever. One great, awesome thing about Evernote is that you can actually send stuff into Evernote via an email address. When you sign up for your Evernote account you’re going to sign in with two notebooks already created. You’re going to have an “All Notes”, which is standard – you can’t delete this notebook. You’re also going to have another notebook with a little star next to it. Now, I’ve renamed this notebook “Inbox”. I don’t exactly remember its title, but the fact that it has the star, that becomes what’s called your “default notebook”. [This] basically means that anything you send into Evernote is going to land within this notebook, which again is just the way Evernote works. I’m going to show you how to find that email address so you can start sending good stuff into your Evernote inbox. So, the way to do that is really simple. You come up into the top right-hand corner and you see your username. What you want to do is click that username, and you’re going to see “settings”. You want to click “settings”. And as you can see here, it says, “Email notes to :”, and it gives you this really strange, weird email address. So, basically the way that works is – I’m going to go to my email account here really quick. If I have a note that I want to send in, or I get an email from somebody that I want to send into my Evernote, all that I do is put up the message, or I press the “forward” button, and type that, and boom – that’s in my Evernote email. So anything that I get that I want to save, but I don’t necessarliy want to delete from my Evernote inbox, I can forward it on into the Evernote account, which you can imagine the organization you can create within that for stuff that you want to save but you don’t want to keep in your inbox because you want to keep your inbox clean. There are various uses for this. It’s really, really effective for organizaing and staying on top of your life to get more done in less time to be more productive and have greater peace of mind – which is reallymy reason for using Evernote in my life, along with a couple of other systems that I’ve set up for myself. I may get into those in later videos depending on how this content is received by you guys. So, again , email into Evernote is the feature that I just went over.

For the most part, the last feature that you can integrate into Evernote in the web-based version is the “web clipper”. What the web clipper is is a plug-in that you can put into your browser that allows you to save any types of pages that you come across online. So, I’m sure that – this is in Chrome – and I’m sure that once you install the web clipper – I personally don’t use it myself, if I need something I’ll take a screenshot of it and throw it into Evernote as an attachment. But, if you want to save web-based stuff, what you want to do is download the web clipper, and I’m sure the way that Chrome is set up it would probably show up in the top right-hand corner, and it will probably look like the elephant logo of the Evernote thing. So say you go to a web site, you like what you see, you press the Evernote web clipper, you title the note, you may tag the note if you want to, put a little bit more content, and then you press “send into my Evernote”. Then more likely than not it will come in to your default notebook, which then – once it is there – you cab figure out how you want to process it from that point, which is really, really great.

So with all that being said, this is the web-based version of the different features that make Evernote really popular, and what I really love to use it for. Now what I’m going to show you is when you decide to download the application either for Mac or PC, I’m going to show you a couple of more features that make Evernote powerful. So I highly recommend if you are able to [that you] download the application on your computer, because you get more functionality and more features that I’m going to go over. There are three features that make it even better, in my opinion. So, again I’ve created this blank notebook and here’s my Evernote, and I’m going to go into all of these other notebooks and how I use them in other videos, but for the sake of the example I want to show you the other valuable things that can be done in the actual application when you download it.

So there are three specific things. The very first thing is that when you edit notes you can add text, you can click off, and then you click it in and you can add text again. Now, I don’t know if that is really a feature, but you don’t always have to be pressing “edit -> done”. It just a convenience thing in and of itself.

But the first thing I want to show you for the first feature is that you can add in audio clips – which is awesome. So, if you can see here at the top of this bar – which is the editing bar – you’re able to have this little microphone. It says “record audio”. So if I wanted to record a short audio clip – like if I get an idea, or something I just want to throw in and put down – all I have to do is press this little audio thing, press the “record” button, and as you can see it’s recording my voice as I’m talking. You press “record”, and we’re just going to test it here. “Testing… testing… one…two…three”. Save it. Boom. Then there’s the audio for you to use, and as you can see here it shows that there’s an audio note within this. It’s awesome. So that’s the first feature I wanted to show you within the actual application.

The second feature is, say you go to a networking event and you get a slew of business cards. Then you come home, you pull out the ones that you want, you throw away the ones that you don’t. But you don’t want to just pull the ones that you want and throw them on the desk. You want to actually have them someplace that where you can find them easily. Another great thing is that if you look up here there’s something that kind of looks like the “Picasso” logo from Google, for their picture application – their web-based picture platform. So basically this says “Take a snapshot.” So, for instance, say you have those business cards and you have them in Evernote, and you want them to be searchable. You can click “snapshop” – and I have an Apple so I have a camera right on the top of my screen. So I can take a snapshot of that business card, and once that picture is in there then it even recognizes the text. So say, for instance, you knew that you met a “John” who was a graphic designer at an event, and you wanted to pull his information up and give him a call because you needed his services. You can go in, click “All Notebooks”, and then the search bar for me is up here. I can press the word John, and all the notes with the word “John” in it, as well as the pictures with the word “John” on it will be pulled up. So you can do that for pictures, you cac do that for information. Whatever it is that works for you, you can use it for that, which is really valuable.

Now the final feature that I want to show you is that you can actually also add attachments into Evernote, within each note. So as you can see here, there’s a little paperclip, which is “attach a file”. The best thing is that you can actually either click and “drag and drop” into these notes to drop your stuff, or you can use the Evernote “web clipper”. So if you have lots of different files for different clients you’re dealing with, or you just like to save pictures, and you want to create a notebook of pictures within your Evernote as a notebook. So, kind of, th structure you have of a “pictures” notebook, and then within each note you have a picture, and then within each note’s note you have content. You can also click “drag and drop”. For me – as a copywriter, a marketer, and an entrepreneur – I like to take pictures of ad copy and clip, drag, and drop and put it in my “swipe” file. I’m going to show you in one of later videos within this channel how I do that really effectively.

So this concludes the video of all the great, amazing features that makes Evernote completely and incredibly awesome for entrepreneurs, busy professionals, and people who love to be organized and love to be on top of the ball. In the other videos I’m going to go through some more amazing stuff. So be sure to check out my channel. This is Scott Bradley from http://www.scottbradley.name . I hope you got a lot of value out of this, and I look forward to hearing your feedback, so please do leave your comments below. All right, have agreat rest of your day and I’ll talk to you soon.

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Feel free to donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Day 13 : The Art and Science of Research in Transcription Work

computer and books for transcription research

Feel Free to Choose A Sub-Section of this Post
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1. Random Thoughts on Transcription and Non-Transcription Related Issues
2. Daily Progress – Research Findings, Tasks and Skills Development
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Random Thoughts on Transcription and Non-Transcription Related Issues

Research is a very important element of the transcription process. Concepts, terms, and words often arise in audio and video files which are within the realm of specialized knowledge and can often only be deciphered through adequate research tactics. In addition, accuracy (in the form of the highest percentage of properly deciphered words in the recording) is often vital in terms of keeping clients content and continuing to use your services, or in the realm of more serious transcription work (legal and medical) errors can have serious (sometimes fatal) consequences to those people and/or organizations who are the subject of the content.

Transcriptionists often specialize in specific areas of subject matter (whether it be the more formal legal and medical transcription, or all other sources of audio/video which deal with jargon-dense knowledge such as computer technology, business projects, adventure sports, eclectic hobbies, debates on current controversial issues, etc.). The ability to research quickly and effectively can help you land a transcription job, keep it, and benefit from the knowledge of the subject matter contained in the recordings.

The good news is that research (especially the type done by utilizing the plethora of powerful and quickly-accessible online resources and tools) is a skill which can be developed (to as advanced a level as you desire). Advanced research skill is a valuable asset which can be applied to many areas of your intellectual, social and occupational endeavors. It increases your speed and efficiency at transcribing, as you will be better able to decipher technical words spoken in the files. This, of course, leads to faster completion of projects and thus the ability to do more projects in less time and earn more income. Advanced research skills also enable you to dig deeper into a subject, while also being able to determine the quality of the source of information.

In addition, along with some additional powerful free software tools, such as the free Evernote organization application – for collecting, organizing and processing your research – you can develop more long-term research projects which may culminate in publication of your knowledge in the form of blogging, book and ebook writing, podcasting, etc.

There are a few levels of research which apply most directly to the actual transcription task which I will cover in this post. I have already written a comprehensive post about the free WordWeb program, and will also be writing additional future posts about specific software programs (such as Evernote) which will expand on the general research strategies and concepts examined here. I will link those new posts as they are published (which should be within just the next few weeks).

The first level (or step) in the transcription research process begins when you encounter words or terms in an audio/video file which are either indecipherable (due to various factors such as : poor audio quality, strong speaker accent, foreign dialect, etc.) or are highly technical/specific to the subject of the audio. To illustrate this in the more extreme form, the reason why medical transcription work requires years of formal training and experience is due to the enormous vocabulary of medical terminology you must possess in order to adequately transcribe the files commonly worked on. While as a general transcriptionist you are more free to simply decline to work on a file which is overloaded with jargon, there are often times when you actually DESIRE to work on such files because the subject is interesting, but you are intimidated due to your lack of adequate specialized vocabulary. In addition, since most files (especially ones you accept from the online boards) have a deadline within hours of acceptance, if your research skills are not up to par you won’t have the time to do the minimum research needed to complete the file on time. This is where the ability to conduct fast and efficient research becomes important. If you can quickly get up to an ADEQUATE level of vocabulary and/or knowledge related to the subject to get through the file via your speedy research skills, you will be able to accept the file, complete it, get paid for it, and perhaps work on additional files related to that specific subject. Many online transcription companies have regular clients who produce podcasts on specialized subjects. If you can get through one of the episodes, you can then find that podcast online, listen to some additional episodes to get a better feel for the style and content, and apply your research skills to expand your vocabulary on the subject. You will then be more able to take on the next episode of that podcast which becomes available through the transcription company job board. It’s usually a rewarding experience to work on multiple episodes of a production, in addition to the fact that your transcription speed becomes faster with each episode as you are more familiar with the people, terms, etc.

The first tool I utilize from my transcription arsenal is WordWeb. When I come upon a word which is indecipherable, or whose definition, spelling and/or pronunciation is unfamiliar I first hit [CTRL + (right click)] to pull up the word (and/or related or rough estimates of the word). I have discussed the features and uses of WordWeb in its own post, so please refer here for more detailed directions. However, from the perspective of research, WordWeb is your first-line weapon in dealing with new words, terms, concepts, and subjects which arise in your transcription adventures. For instance, if you are working on an audio file related to a new book which will be published in the near future, and in the audio file you are able to use one or more WordWeb features to decipher the name of the author (and hopefully also the name of the book and other books and info related to the book and/or author) you can then follow up with the next step/level in the research process – which is to use the various online research tools (ex. search engines (Google), Wikipedia, personal web and/or social media sites of the author, etc.) to dig deeper into the subject.

This second level of research is more complex and allows you to obtain a vast amount of information on the subject. An excellent book which examines the depths of the online research world is titled “The Extreme Searcher’s Internet Handbook: A Guide for the Serious Searcher” (sample copy) and I will be publishing a detailed review of this book in the near future. Although limiting your research techniques to the powerful services which are offered by Google (their search engine being just one of an array of helpful applications) you can fulfill most of your research needs, there is an extensive range of additional services and web applications which will enable you to take your research as far as you want to go with it.These include : web directories, portals, audio and video directories, academic research portals, and many others. I will elaborate on these in the future, but for now I can tell you, with confidence, that for essentially EVERY degree of research most transcriptionists (including those of use who engage in complementary pursuits, such as blogging) desire/need to do, most of it can be achieved using a handful of the basic (let’s call it “second level”) tools currently available and developed to a highly user-friendly level at this point.

The best way to explain this is probably to give you a nice little practical – but slightly fictitious – example, in order to not break any confidentiality agreements which transcriptionists are bound to. Since my main interest lies in podcasting and transcription I will create an example which will clearly explain the process and how easy it is to get from the point of discovering a new podcast production to researching that production to the point that you are well familiar with it and can take your research as far as you desire.
So, let’s say you are browsing the available job board of one of the online transcription companies, and you encounter a nice podcast file on a technological topic such as the cryptocurrency industry (ex. Bitcoin). You have a sample listen to the audio file and determine it is interesting and that you would like to transcribe  it. You accept the file and begin transcribing.
Now in this episode of the fictitiously-named podcast “The Cryptocurrency Revolution” the host interviews a prominent thought-leader and activist in the cryptocurrency world, such as Adam B. Levine. Now, as this is the first time you have heard of this person you start jotting down some notes as you (and/or after you) complete the transcript. Some of the most effective pieces of information to record are : the web site(s) and/or social media profiles of the guest, the names and details of their main work projects (especially podcasts and videos) and occupations, any personal details which especially resonate with you, any organizations and important people they are working with, etc. With just this kind of information – which is commonly made available in the general podcast format – you have enough data to do all the research you will need.
Once you have completed and submitted the transcription you can begin your follow up research on this newly discovered person. A good place to start is entering the person’s name in Google. This will give you a good general list of various resources (and types of resources) to get you started branching out. Since some people have fairly common names, it is often best to first check out their web site where they will have links to their specific (and official) social media profiles (as it is often difficult to pin someone down by manually entering their name in each social media search engine).
At this point I tend to follow through with the following general strategy. First, I create a new “notebook” in Evernote with this person’s name as the title. I then create a new “note” with a title such as “(Person’s Name) – resources)”. I add all of the data I have collected so far since doing the original transcription, including the URLs associated with the person – which is especially helpful since Evernote makes those links active in the notes and so you can click right through to them from within the note. I then begin working through the various resources in the Evernote file (and add additional notes to the file as things progress and I find more information and resources.
Basically, to get adequately up-to-speed with a person’s overall web presence, body of work, and initiating contact with them, I use a regular basic strategy. I begin checking out a few of their social media profiles. Their LinkedIn profile often provides the most valuable information about their professional and creative aspects of their life, as well as the most important contact information. I then follow up with their Facebook and Twitter profiles, which offer a more personal and casual information about the person and their interests. If I like the info I will “follow” their Facebook and Twitter profile in order to stay up to date on what they are doing as I continue researching them.
I then proceed to YouTube, which is the second (and usually final) major research tool needed to get enough information for follow up research into the future. I enter some of the keywords related to the person from the Evernote file. If this person is very active, the search query will return more than enough audio and/or video files to keep me busy for a while and get the adequate info on this person. The YouTube search is especially good for finding episodes of their actual podcast/videocast which I can then follow up on, evaluate and contact the person for potential transcription collaboration in the future.
So, with this relatively basic, but powerful, search strategy I am able to quickly (often in a matter of hours) find enough information about this person who I have newly discovered via a podcast transcription project which I was paid to do, to be able to become further familiar with them and eventually contact and collaborate with them in the future.
To be even more concrete, I used this very strategy to discover the excellent and prolific work of Adam B. Levine of the “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” network – www.letstalkbitcoin.com – and as a result of this discovery I have become an active contributor to his revolutionary open source community project, including some transcription work – one full transcript of which can be found here.
I will conclude the subject of transcription research her for now. More will be written on the subject – including related resources – as it becomes relevant into the future. For now, using the above research strategy should be MORE than enough for the research needs of most of the transcriptionists reading this.

Daily Progress – Research Findings, Tasks and Skills Development

In addition to integration the highly detailed basic research strategy into my daily routine, and consistently going through the daily research routine tasks mentioned in the last post, I have also been spending a bit more serious effort practicing on the one-minute transcription files along with reading through the style guide at TranscribeMe.

What I will say about these one-minute files is that usually offer a healthy bit of challenge to force me to improve both my transcription and research skills. One of the main benefits of the short files are that you can turn them over relatively quickly and so your time, energy and schedule are not tied down by longer files. You can jump in when you have a few minutes and complete a file and the move onto other important tasks.

The more challenging aspects of the system involve the fact that since the files are limited to one minute each, you generally don’t have much context with which to decipher words, terms, concepts, etc. which would be more easily done with longer files. On a positive note, this actually forces you to practice listening even more carefully, as well as developing and implementing quicker and more powerful research skills in order to find the bits of information you need to complete the file. Since there is also a shorter deadline on the file it is more important to increase your listening and research speed in this regard.

So, at this point I am finding it productive to spend a few weeks practicing on these one-minute files while I further concentrate on my research and blogging efforts (which consume a lot of time collectively). Working on the short TranscribeMe files allows me to get some good practice and make a little survival income while I continue building my empire.

As usual, this post is another post which is growing into a book and so I will conclude here. I am also busy working on several new “Free Transcript Project” files which will be rolling out (roughly one or two per week), which offers additional practice and content for this blog. In the next “daily diary” post we will further examine the nature of the online transcription industry companies and some of the cutting edge technology which is being applied to the transcription process.

Happy Transcribing!
freelance_transcriptionist@hotmail.com

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Feel free to donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog. Donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Transcription Powertool #1 : Wordweb Dictionary/Thesaurus

Wordweb Pro - English Dictionary Thesaurus screenshot

WordWeb Pro screenshot

I believe there is an old saying with something to the effect of  “the best things in life are simple”. Or is it “free”? Or both? A common example of such elegant simplicity is Einstein’s famous equation : E =mc2 (the “2” here is, of course, in superscript format). This simple equation has gone down in the history books as one of the most revolutionary creations of theoretical and applied physics which has had such a wide range of effects – from the development of nuclear weapons, to the concept of black holes, computers and other bizarre phenomenon in the universe.

As we move deeper into this new age of accelerating information creation and exchange it is only becoming ever more vital to find and apply SIMPLE tools and solutions to the numerous tasks and obstacles which we must deal with on an everyday basis. The good news is that as the amount of information increases SO TO does the power of computing, and so we find ourselves in a feedback situation in which the technology creates new problems, amplifies old problems, and provides the potential to also solve these issues.

So, you can imaging how pleased I was as a writer, researcher, transcriptionist/editor, web designer and offline/online marketer (that is, a person whose main work in life revolves around words), to come across a funky, yet amazingly powerful little program which is extremely simple to use, and aids you in dealing with most of the common, significant issues you face in relation to the creation, manipulation, and transmission of words in all of the various applications in which words are a vehicle of exchange.

The program is called Wordweb, a comprehensive, multipurpose English language dictionary and thesaurus application whose features range from one-click look up of words, synonym and antonym word web, audio word pronunciation (in numerous accents), extendable dictionaries and so much more. As space in this post is limited, and since the Wordweb web site describes all of the features in detail, and since the software is free, quick to install and use, etc. I think the best thing to do is advise you refer to their site for more information. I also suggest you take a minute to download the free version of program (the licensing agreement basically states that if you are not wealthy enough to afford more than one round-trip international plane flight per year then you are free to use the full features of the software). I used the free version of the program for five years, until recently when I decided that I wanted access to some of the more advanced features which come with the registered Wordweb Pro version. I will say that this was one of the best $19.00 I’ve spent on business tools in a while). As with most other software programs (especially freeware) I recommend using the free version for a while to get a feel for it, experiment with the features as you read through the help tutorials and do apply the application to your word work. I assure you that this program will make immediate and significant improvements in your entire work process, and thus free up some of your energy to focus on the more creative aspects of your job.

The most practical and frequently-used feature of Wordweb is the one click “word look-up” function which works in essentially ANY program – both offline and online – that displays words. Some examples include : word processors, transcription software, web sites user interfaces of most programs, etc. Basically, any word can be looked up in the Wordweb dictionary by simply clicking [CTRL + right click], and then displayed with as many definitions are in the database (and you can extend the database with various dictionary upgrades) and numerous other helpful information for dealing with the word (ex. list of synonyms, audio pronunciation from within the program by simply clicking a speaker icon, links to the word in various online dictionaries and other sources, and many more very useful processes dealing with the meaning and use of words in their wide range of applications.

To illustrate the immediate usefulness of the program – if you have installed it and have it running – go ahead and take a second to [CTRL + (right click)] any word in this post and then click around from the definition page to explore the various additional information which is provided by the program related to that word. Since the function of this blog is to introduce budding transcriptionists to the skills and tools of the trade, I will detail some of the features which will be most helpful and quickly applicable, and then let you play around with it as you explore the web site, tutorials, and other resources to become more proficient in using the application. Once you see how easy it is to use, and how helpful in minimizing the effort of the most routine tasks you perform everyday as a wordsmith, I can guarantee you you will be hooked.

One of the most basic uses of the program in the transcription process is the ability to spell check words with one click and from right inside the transcription program (such as ExpressScribe). The program has good quality artificial intelligence programmed into it which allows you to type in a rough estimate of and/or [CTRL + (right click)] the word you need to spell check and the program will display a list of numerous words which are either the exact word correctly spelled (along with the definition and other info) or the closest estimates of the word you are looking for. For instance, if you [CTRL + (right click)] the word “mispelled” (go ahead, [CTRL + (right click) it!) the program will display “try misspelled” with a link to the correct definition,  along with a list of numerous other rough matched of the misspelled word, which you can single click on to go to the definition page for that word. In addition, when the definition page comes up for the word the word itself is selected, and so you can simply hit [CTRL-C] to copy the properly spelled word and paste it right into the transcription text in your transcription software by pressing [CTRL + V]. Going even further into the functions, you have the option (through various tabs within the definition display page) to click through to synonyms and antonyms of the word (and other related categories) and then [CTRL-C] any of those and paste them [CTRL + V] right into the transcription text. So, the program is essentially a “quick-click” thesaurus, spell check, and linguistic database of sorts. All of these features are smoothly integrated into every step of your word workflow and are implemented in one or two clicks (for most operations).

These few basic features of the program are well worth the ZERO dollars you pay for the (freeware version of the) program and you can start using them immediately to increase the efficiency of your writing, editing and transcription work.

Another nice feature is the built-in audio pronunciation, which can come in handy when you are having trouble deciphering a word used by a speaker in the audio file you are transcribing. You will be surprised how many words we believe we know the correct pronunciation for, which turn out to have a dramatically different actual sound (including syllabic accent, intonation, etc.) especially when you account for the various accents of the language which the word is spoken in. For instance, quite a number of English words are barely recognizable when you compare the pronunciation between American English, British English, Australian English, etc. Not to mention the even more numerous tertiary English dialects (ex. Filipino-English, Chinese-English, Indian-English, etc.). The audio pronunciation database can also be upgraded to increase the number of audio pronunciations available and to add additional accent and specialized databases. It’s very helpful to have the proper pronunciation of a new word you have encountered so that you learn the correct pronunciation from the very beginning, instead of learning an improper sounding from the start and then having to unlearn your mistake. This is an important concept in the study of language (linguistics – especially the subtopic of second language acquisition (SLA) – of which a massive amount of research has been done in academia and the field). The reality is that it is much easier to struggle a little to learn the word (and pronunciation) correctly upon first exposure, than it is to go because and undo the improper definition/pronunciation after it has been reinforced over time through use. Try typing a rough estimate pronunciation of an unknown word from an audio file and you may very likely be surprised to find the correct word show up in the “related words” list. You can then verify further if it is the correct word or not by clicking the speaker icon and have the program pronounce the related word (or words).

If you are to settle for the integration and application of just these four core features of the program (ex. dictionary, thesaurus, spell check, and audio pronunciation) you will see a dramatic improvement in the speed and accuracy of your word work, especially if you apply that work to your tasks of writing, editing and/or transcribing. You will experience a dramatic increase in the speed in which you discover and correct spelling mistakes in your text, the efficiency of deciphering words through the context provided by the thesaurus features, as well as the efficiency of deciphering unclear words in an audio file through the same contextual features in combination with the audio pronunciation feature which provides multiple accents – an important feature for transcriptionists who often work on files containing speech by speakers of different accents from around the world. This is only becoming more important and useful as computing technology makes cross-translation of language faster and more automated, and as the force of globalization increases the amount of audio and text data to be translated and transcribed by teleworkers of various accents working online. In addition, since saving time equates to getting more work done and thus earning more money, this program is an important tool to add to your transcription (and general word-work) toolbox.

So go ahead and play around with Wordweb, and if it is helpful leave a comment describing how you have used and benefited from it.

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Feel free to donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.

Donate some Bitcoin to support the research and writing effort of this blog.