You admit it: you have a hard time putting down work that’s only half-done. You get so focused, so caught up in the day’s transcriptions, that the sun has gone down without your noticing it more than once.
You would never sacrifice the quality of your work, but there must be a way to maintain your professionalism and be able to take the occasional day off. Is being tired and overworked just the price you pay for being the best in the business, or is there a way for court reporters to have a satisfying work-life balance?
Three Tips That Can Help Court Reporters Find Optimal Work-Life Balance
The term “work-life” balance can be somewhat misleading. After all, the time you spend on your career and your home life is rarely a 50-50 split. Fortunately, court reporters can reduce the stress in their lives even if their work is 70 or 80 percent of their lives using the following methods:
- Stop obsessing. Court reporting depends on absolute accuracy, so it’s understandable that you obsess over the details of ever transcript you type. There’s nothing wrong with perfectionism—until it makes you second- or even third-guess every detail on your agenda. Ask yourself: has reading a transcript for a sixth time ever produced a different result than reading it “only” five? Hyper-criticism of your own work is like a dog chasing its tail: pointless and time-consuming—and the time you save can be better spent on other tasks.
- Take care of your body. You may have put off eating, sleeping, and even trips to the bathroom in the name of getting your work in on time; however, your body probably had a way of letting you know that this was unacceptable. Every body has its breaking point, and if you spend hours ignoring low-blood-sugar symptoms and a growling stomach, your body will be forced to ramp up its objections to make you take notice. If you attempt to ignore your body’s needs—including rest and exercise—you are only encouraging total breakdown in the future. Make sure you build time for exercise into your schedule (even a short walk in the morning and evening will help your concentration and sleeping habits), and set a timer to make sure you eat regularly during long periods of transcription.
- Punch out. When you leave work, make sure you actually leave your work. Whether you’re going home to your family, a night out with friends, or a well-deserved evening alone, its important that you separate your home life from the office. This means not only leaving paperwork behind, but also avoiding letting your mind stray back to case details while having conversations or performing other downtime activities. Your downtime is just as important as worktime, so give each one 100 percent of your effort.