You knit while you watch TV, listen to books on tape while you drive to work, and catch up on emails while you wait in your doctor’s office. You’re never “doing something,” you’re doing several things—you’re probably even making lists in your sleep.
Multitasking Can Be a Blessing and a Curse for Court Reporters
One of the benefits of multitasking is that you are never idle. Even if you are doing fun activities like checking Facebook or reading, you are doing them along with doing something that benefits your work. You have often received praise from attorneys for getting things done ahead of schedule, or for your willingness to take on extra work despite a loaded schedule. However, even the most dedicated D.C. court reporter cannot live on compliments alone. Here are a few downsides of being constantly on-the-job:
- Unrealistic timelines. Multitaskers are more likely to promise completion of work early, or in a timeframe that can only be accomplished by sacrificing all other commitments (including eating and sleeping). When you estimate your transcription deadline, be professional but realistic, and understand that not everyone judges you by the same harsh standard you judge yourself.
- Last-minute changes. It’s easy to do other work three weeks before an important transcript is due, but when it gets down to two or three days before the deadline, your limitations will begin to show. You may have to email other clients and rearrange future deadlines to stay ahead of your work, and may even feel disappointed with yourself for “failing” to be perfect.
- No free time. Since you are always occupied by several tasks at once, you very rarely get the chance to “do nothing.” However, because you are always performing work in some way, you are never completely relaxed, leading to muscle pains, headaches, and even insomnia. In effect, not taking any time off can negatively impact your heath, making it likely you will be forced to take time off when you suffer an illness you can’t ignore.
Getting Back on Track After Falling Behind
The first step toward recovering from a period of high stress is to recognize that you are only human. It may take a few weeks, but catching up with your workload can be an invaluable tool in helping you structure your future jobs. A good court reporter knows his strengths, but also compensates for his faults rather than ignoring them.