I am thrilled to be a part of The Frenzied SLPs, which is a group of talented SLP bloggers and TPT sellers who each month bring you a variety of suggestions on how to simplify the life of the frenzied SLPs. At the beginning of each year, many of us try to make a variety of resolutions on how to live better. These may involve changes in our personal lifestyles or changes in our work routines and schedules. This month I’d like to talk about investments, namely investments, which can make our work load more manageable.
If your schedule is anything like mine, then you are very heavily inundated with paperwork. Evaluation reports, progress summaries, session notes, lesson plans, presentations, articles, it all piles up until you absolutely dread looking at your planner since it highlights all the looming deadlines and not enough time to complete all the paperwork.
That is why recently I decided to invest in some dictation software. After a bit of research I settled on Dragon Naturally Speaking software, which I installed on my PC at work as well as on my Mac at home. For me it was an investment that definitely paid off within a very short period of time. Almost immediately I started noticing how much faster I was able to complete my reports, reply to emails, as well as write blog posts and articles. I also noticed how much easier revising and editing process was on my eyes.
So what has improved?
Well, I’ve definitely noticed a huge improvement in my productivity. Even though I wasn’t the slowest typist, dictating became a huge time saver, since now I am able to produce 3x as much written output in the same period of time.
I also noticed that the use of dictation software allowed me to better organize my thoughts out loud and significantly decrease oral revisions when dictating.
However while dictation software is an excellent investment it needs to be made wisely keeping a few things in mind.
For starters the cost of software may be problematic for some. While Nuance, which is the company that sells the software has a variety of decently priced packages, this software is still not cheap. Buying a wireless Bluetooth headset, a professional package, or the licensing software for several different computers, may further significantly increase the price.
Secondly you do need to train the software especially because we a speech pathologist use a lot of esoteric and specialized language to describe our clients’ assessment and treatment needs. The training period take anywhere from several days to several weeks depending on how quickly you’ll learn to navigate the in’s and out’s of all the commands.
Personally I find the Mac version not as user-friendly as the PC version despite the fact that it does not require the usage of a headset in contrast to the PC version.
However, all in all, for a busy professional inundated with paperwork, this investment truly is a valuable time saver that can significantly reduce the time spent on paperwork as well as the amount of strain and effort you put into report writing and editing.