The JCR Weekly turned to NCRA’s Technology Committee for solutions to today’s resolutions. The responses point out that one of the biggest parts of making a resolution become reality is to turn it into a goal and track it. Whether it’s a calendar to keep track of deadlines, setting appointments on the calendar to make a goal reality, or using an app to track progress, making it a part of everyday life is a good start. Here’s what members of the Technology Committee said they use or plan to use this year.
“I’m a big fan of iPhone Reminder and my iPhone calendar. I keep it on vibrate. I never miss a ‘thing to do’ because my events appear on my screen. I like it because, even when my iPhone is on the desk/table, when I glance down, I’ll see my event on my screen. I like it also because it doesn’t interrupt a session already in progress,” said Teresa Russ, CRI, a CART captioner based in Lynwood, Calif.
“I am a lover of Outlook calendar to keep me on track. I put all my appointments and deadlines in there, and each one has a reminder, whether 15 minutes or one day, to help keep me on track. If it’s not in my Outlook calendar, I likely will miss the event. Of course my email, calendar, and contacts are on my smartphone, synced, as well as on my Surface Pro 3 (which I use for reporting). The key for me is to have Outlook tools on all these devices,” said Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and principal of LNS Court Reporting based in Portland, Ore.
A calendar, whether paper or online, is a great way to track what needs to happen when, and it is important to block time for goals, whether it is to practice a skill like, improving steno speed or piano, or to do the work on a project, such as specific blocks of time for planning meals for the week or learning about wireless options.
“I am trying to go as light as possible with equipment,” said Nodland. “Lugging around all that equipment for 35 years has taken its toll on my shoulders; so if it’s smaller and lighter than something I already have, I’m more likely to purchase it.”
Nodland also explained: “My technology resolution is to optimize my tech tools. I had hung onto my stenowriter for too long and just upgraded. My steno outlines had too many steno strokes that were stacking, shadows, or missing letters. Trying to fine-tune the writer to fix those became problematic, so I got a new writer.”
Don’t overlook technology in meeting personal goals. Smartphones and other smart devices are great for tracking activity levels, eating habits, and other things – and since most people carry them wherever they go for both personal and professional use, smart devices are available wherever and whenever needed.
“I have become a big fan of the new iWatch,” said Christine Phipps, RPR, a freelancer and owner of Phipps Reporting based in North Palm Beach, Fla. “I train at the gym every day. I go into my activity app on my watch and set it to other for when I am lifting weights. Then I set it to other when I am doing Stairmaster or to elliptical if I am doing that. I can save this data at the end along with the analytics of my average heart rate — although I have found that I don’t think the calorie burner is completely accurate.”
Phipps continued: “Then when I am at the office, I literally could sit in front of my computer endless amounts of hours, so it buzzes on my wrist after an hour that it’s time to get up. All of this is tied into the health app on my iPhone, which is really a duplication of what’s on my watch. So now it’s tracking steps, plus what I did in the gym, etc. I also use an app called MyPlate where I log in food, so it tracks that I am taking in the right amount of protein versus carbs, fats, plus tracking the amount of water I drink.”
One final tip for those who are interested in revving up their realtime this year: Download the TRAIN app, which is available at NCRA.org/TRAIN. Created by NCRA Director Sue Terry, this app is free and only available through NCRA.org.