There’s a lot of freedom and flexibility that comes with working at home. For anyone who has ever wanted a good work-life balance, the job of a medical transcriptionist can be ideal. There is plenty of work, you get paid on production, and you get to be your own boss. But at the same time, it is also up to you to make sure you get your work done on time by staying motivated throughout the day.
Since there are two sides to every coin, there are roadblocks that come with the freedom associated with working at home. Maybe there’s a good movie on TV or you want to work on stuff around the house. You need to develop a routine and discipline yourself, especially when you have plenty of things to distract you throughout the day. If you have kids at home, they can easily distract you from working. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or just an at-home medical transcriptionist, here is a look into the day in a life of an at-home medical transcriptionist with a few of the strategies they use to stay focused during the day.
An early start
Many at-home medical transcriptionists, especially those who are moms, prefer to get an early start to the day. This allows them to get a lot of work done while the kids are either asleep or at school. Plus, the mind is more alert and ready during the morning hours making it easier to get more work done. Medical transcriptionists who work as independent contractors usually have a 24-hour turnaround time, giving them more flexibility to when they can start working, whether it’s in the morning or at night after the kids are asleep.
Plan out the day
Staying disciplined and focused is the key to being a successful medical transcriptionist. Many stay-at-home MTs recommend creating a checklist of your daily tasks. This list isn’t just for work deadlines; it can include household chores, scheduled calls with clients, meal times and activities with the kids, and even errands. Planning ahead actually creates more time to get the important tasks done first, especially when it comes to work.
Anyone who’s spent time at home with children knows that even the best laid plans can often be derailed by unexpected surprises like sick babies, toddler temper tantrums, or a child who needs a snack or homework help. Rolling with the punches is just part of being a mom, but having your plans in place makes it easier to regroup and get back on track afterward. Consistently planning out your daily tasks can also make it easier to develop a routine, which gives children a framework of what to expect during the day, helping everyone do better.
When you’re planning out your day, make sure you also schedule time for breaks—even if it’s just a quick 5 minutes to pause, take a couple deep breaths, and regroup. Go outside, go on a walk, watch a funny video, or read a book. Giving yourself time to rejuvenate and relax your mind will make work much easier.
Another thing you may want to include in your daily plan is a little sweat time. Many people swear by taking 30 minutes to 1 hour for exercise, especially in the afternoon, to increase their productivity and improve their focus. Science has proven that quickening your heart rate and high-intensity exercise has a great impact on cognitive focus, allowing you to get more work done.
Find your peak productivity
Experienced MT moms say that after a while, they are able to find the times during the day they are most productive. Find what works best for you. One study showed that 36% of people said they were more productive between 9am and 11am, or during the pre-lunch hours. If you have to, hire a babysitter to come in during these hours so you can take full advantage of your focus and get your work done.
Don’t be the post-lunch work zombie
Food fuels us, but it can also make us groggy. The hours after lunch tend to be the hardest to stay focused. However, at-home moms have the advantage of being able to make a healthy lunch at home instead of going out and getting a greasy burger. Studies have also shown that going for a quick run or fitting in a quick workout before lunch can help improve your alertness in the afternoon. So if you have time, put the kids in the jogging stroller and get out! You should also reserve post-lunch hours for tasks like proofreading and making revisions or small formatting changes to the transcription. These tasks are easier to accomplish if you find yourself getting sleepy after lunch.
Wrap it up!
The last 30 minutes of your workday should consist of tidying up, seeing what tasks you have completed, re-evaluating any tasks you missed, and counting the lines you’ve transcribed. Most stay-at-home moms like to start and end their workdays at the same time, establishing that routine that helps everyone in the household know what to expect.
If you’re working as a medical transcriptionist, tell us about your go-to productivity strategies in the comments below. If you think the medical transcription and editing career could be for you, learn more about Career Step’s employer-trusted training now!