Speed and accuracy are the name of the game when it comes to perfecting the art of court reporting. While so many other skills are valuable to life as a court reporter, improving your ability to quickly and accurately transcribe will make you a more efficient and successful court reporter. And who doesn’t want to earn more opportunities to land lucrative assignments?

Quality over quantity

When sitting down to practice – and yes, you must practice, practice, practice – focus your efforts on ensuring you’re pursuing a quality practice session. If you find your mind wandering or are distracted by TV in the next room, find another time or place to practice. Putting in extra time just for the sake of putting in time will not help you yield the best results. It’s better to put in 30 minutes of focused time than 3 hours of half-hearted, interrupted practice.

Put it on the calendar

Hold yourself accountable by making a date with your machine. By putting time on the calendar just like you would for any other appointment, you’re committing yourself to improvement. You know when you’re best able to focus, so try to carve out time during those hours rather than letting it slip to late in the day when you’re tired and hungry.

Alternate what you practice

Set a goal for each practice session and alternate your area of focus. For example, one day work hard on speed drills while the next day do practice drills to work on accuracy. Eventually the two will come together, but it’s more productive to tackle one goal at a time.

Look at how far you’ve come

When you’re in the midst of trying to improve your skills, it can be easy to forget how far you’ve come. Take time on a regular basis to step back and review your progress. Chances are good you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come.

The best way to dominate when it comes to speed and accuracy is through practice, but it doesn’t have to be a chore when you break down your goals and set aside time for focused and productive sessions. With a little work and effort, you’ll be on your way to improved skills in no time.