Back in 2007 I completed a 1 day Time Management course at the Australian Institute of Management (AIM). I took away a few valuable lessons from this course:
1) Stop procrastinating. Just do it, as my wife continually tells me.
2) Learnt to say no (with empathy), and stop taking on too much work.
3) Use voice recognition software for dictation. It’s more efficient and much faster than typing.
Points 1 and 2 are personality traits that I need to continually work on. However, I’d like to expand more on point 3.
I purchased a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 – Preferred Edition. After spending a couple of hours familiarising myself with the software, going through the tutorials and training it for my voice, I think this is a magical piece of software. Like anything, practice makes perfect. It takes a bit of getting used to. But by spending 30 minutes a day for 2 weeks, you’ll soon master it, and get used to all the voice commands.
One of the great options with this software is to be able to use a digital voice recorder to record either in .wma or .mp3 format for deferred transcription. This means that you can dictate to your voice recorder whilst in the car, on the bus, train, etc, and then play it back using Dragon Naturally Speaking to automatically type up your notes for you. How cool is that???
I ended up purchasing an Olympus WS-210S Digital Voice Recorder. It’s a very simple to use device. The built in microphone is very sensitive, and picks up even the quietest of voices.
The Olympus WS-210S uses the WMA format. No software is required on the PC. Just connect the WS-210S to a USB port and copy the WMA file across, just like a USB memory stick.
I used it a couple of months ago to record some design workshops I was running for a customer. Instead of being concerned about the need to capture and minute everything, I was able to relax more and focus on the task at hand, knowing that I could review the recording at a later time to transcribe any relevant information that I missed the first time around.
IMPORTANT: For legal reasons you must announce to everyone present that the session is being recorded.
When I’m working in my home city for long periods of time, I like to complete a short course or two from Central Tafe. Early in 2007 I was attending an Advanced C# programming course. In one of the classes, the conversation between the lecturer and a couple of the more advanced students got very deep. It started off as a very interesting discussion, but then they totally lost me. Maybe I just wasn’t geeky enough 🙂 . Looking back, it would of been great to have recorded this lecture, allowing me to play it back in my own time whilst being able to research the techniques they were discussing.
Whilst recording meetings and lectures cannot be played back as deferred transcription, they are examples of how the digital voice recorder can be used to ensure you capture all required and relevant information. Feedback so far suggests that it adds a professional touch too.
I certainly recommend purchasing these products from Dictate Australia. The customer service was outstanding. Thanks Dave.
I highly recommend these tools for all IT Consultants and Architects.