Valuable Productivity Tool Modified from the Past

BillMany of us are old enough to remember when many parts of today’s job were performed by others. I was tasked with developing, managing and presenting my content. I could dictate, into a Dictaphone  machine, and the secretary or typing pool would type it up for me. It was quite efficient in terms of use of my time, even though it often took several iterations to get it ready. I still used most of my time on one of my primary tasks of developing content.

As time went along we were given more tools to be more productive. I was given a typewriter and could type my own material to cut down on iterations. I found though, it didn’t work that way. Typing at 25 words a minute was still using more of my time away from my primary task by using my new productivity tool. This was eventually replaced by a word processor then a personal computer. These were much better tools, but I was still taking time away from primary tasks. Of course with the “more with less attitudes” the people for whom this was the primary task were released or redeployed. There was no going back. This carried on for many years. I spent more and more time doing tasks that detracted from my primary functions.

Now there are productivity tools that can help with that. I use Dragon Naturally Speaking on my PC and Dragon Dictate and Apple’s own speech recognition software on my Mac and, hopefully soon, on my IPad. I think Windows still has its included software for speech recognition as well. I still keyboard at about 25 words per minute but I talk at around 125 words per minute. As I talk, this software converts what I say into Word or Pages text documents. This is a five times gain in productivity to my keyboarding. The complaint I often hear is “yes, but it takes time to train the software to my voice.” Yes it does take an hour, but I will trade an hour for an ongoing productivity gain of five anytime.

This not gain only occurs while you are at your desk, but you can train the software to transcribe a recording as well. You can use a Bluetooth microphone to record your voice message on your phone or digital recorder while stuck in traffic and then bring it into your document when you get back to your desk; print it or mail it and you have now turned lost time into productive time. This is a huge benefit, much more production in less time.
Give the software a try and you may find yourself with a few extra hours in the week.

What other software is out there to help us save time? How can you use this software to save yourself time? What other time loss pit do you have that you wish you knew of software or techniques to turn from a loss to a gain? Please share these with a comment below.