Nik Wallenda once said, “I’ve trained all my life not to be distracted by distractions.” Who knew that a man world-renowned for his high wire performances, without a safety net, and the first person to walk a tightrope stretched directly over an overactive Niagara Falls would have so much in common with court reporters?
Consider the daily expectations on a court reporter. We work in high-stakes, constantly shifting, and complicated environments; we carry our equipment with us and set up a traveling office wherever we are assigned; and we often perform the bulk of our work out of our office. And don’t forget the ever-present emphasis on perfection, as well as those looming deadlines. It’s a lot.
But we are tightrope walkers trained well to do the unimaginable, often without a safety net. Here are a few of our favorite tips on doing the job, while never allowing distractions to do theirs:
- Behind every successful court reporter is a substantial amount of coffee. Yes, we love our caffeine! But if you find your attention span is frantically overactive, you may want to switch to Green Tea, which contains l’theanine. It’s a chemical that releases caffeine more slowly into your body, giving you a longer and steadier benefit.
- Switch off your cell phone. There are a hundred different trackers and apps that will alert you to how much you’re using your phone for unnecessary reasons, like Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, but we all know how much time and focus you’re wasting while liking and re-Tweeting and hearting: way too much! If searching for the most hilarious cat memes or even online shopping is your thing, close down all the open windows while you work; those sale alerts can be terribly addictive and time-stealing.
- Mind your own business. Were you a nosy little kid? We were, too. There wasn’t a conversation on which we couldn’t wait to eavesdrop! But as court reporters, our focus is our superpower. There’s no reason to weaken our listening skills by concentrating on side chats that don’t affect our work or the case at hand.
- Multitasking is not your friend. Some believe it wastes more time due to the constant switching back and forth between tasks. Even Marilyn Vos Savant, the person with the highest IQ ever recorded, believes that multitasking arises out of distraction itself. As court reporters, we’re pulled in at least three directions at any given moment, but it’s crucial to our productivity to focus on one task until it’s completed.
- We’re staying on this multitasking topic because it’s crucial to your success as a court reporter. Did you know that multitasking can make you 40% less efficient and lower your IQ by 15 points? It can. But there’s a new handheld gadget called Zekpro’s 360-degree spinner that promises to decrease anxiety, boredom, and distractibility. We can’t wait to try it out.
Now, we’d love to hear from you. Tell us your best tricks to staying focused in this constantly changing career of ours, from the courtroom to your office. For more information on how you can conquer the demands of court reporting, please get in touch with us. We’re always happy to work with other reporters to advance our own success and yours!