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Five Dictation Apps to Boost Productivity

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

One of my favorite productivity hacks is using dictation apps. Dictating is an underrated tool for getting more done. It’s really helped me curb procrastination by making it easy for me to quickly send out text messages and emails. Video can also be a powerful productivity tool but there’s something to be said for straight up audio as well. 

When I started working from home, I needed to make some changes to my work style to get my home office up and running. Using dictation software was one of those little things that really connected with my productivity style. It helps me stay on track while I’m working remotely.

You can send messages so much faster by dictating them, and I find it easier to get my point across when I can just speak naturally. Same goes for leaving audio or video messages.

Plus, dictation apps let you stay focused on your main task while also taking care of little things that pop up. I love not having to go through the hassle of typing anything out — I just speak and send! (Sometimes I do have to change a word here or there if it’s not 100% accurate.)

I have an iPhone and a Mac, so I sometimes use the dictation features included with those devices. You can learn how to set up dictation on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac here

But if you don’t use Apple products or you want to try one of the great dictation apps out there, here’s a rundown of your options: 

Diction.io 

This is a perfect starting point for dictation if you want to try it out before committing to buying anything. Diction.io is completely free and web-based, and it uses Google Speech Recognition to translate your words to text. You can save your text as a file or copy and paste it into an email or text. You can get started with it here

Google Docs Dictation

This feature on Google Docs is another simple way to start dictating. It’s free and easy to use. You can copy and paste the text into an email or text message if you want to, or you can use this to brainstorm if you feel more creative when you’re speaking rather than typing. And if you’re already using Google Docs, this is a seamless addition that can help you jumpstart your productivity while writing. You can learn how to set it up here. 

Dragon Dictation

Dragon Dictation is a great option if you want a comprehensive option with a software component. It’s very accurate and allows you to perform a bunch of actions, including searching the web. You can integrate Dragon Dictation with your apps so that you can compose emails directly (no copy-paste needed!). It is one of the pricier options, though. Dragon Dictation has versions for Windows that start at $150, or a mobile app version that works with Apple or Android products that costs $150 for a yearly subscription. You can find out more about it here

Speechy

This app is available for iPhones and iPads, and it has a bunch of great features. You can easily share, translate, and edit the text. Plus, it records your original audio too. And doesn’t time out if you’re talking for a long period of time! There’s a free version and the premium one costs $9.99 to download. You can check it out here. 

Speechnotes

For Android users, Speechnotes is a simple, functional option. One useful feature is the punctuation keyboard, which allows you to press a button to insert punctuation instead of having to say “comma” and “period.” And it’s free! You can take a look here.

I hope these suggestions help you get started with dictation. It’s a little unconventional but it’s made a big difference for me.

Are there any dictation apps or websites you like to use? I’d love to hear about them.

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Video is a Productivity Game Changer

So many things have changed in the last few months.

When it comes to working from home, one of the biggest changes is video  — video meetings, video conferences, video check-ins. 

All this video means you need to adjust your productivity habits. Being productive and efficient over video is different from working with people face-to-face. 

I’ve been working from home for the past few years, so I’ve been conducting all my meetings via video for a while. Plus, I train people on how to do it better. And using video can actually make your life more efficient!

Video has the potential to help you connect meaningfully with your coworkers, friends, and family.

Seeing someone’s face creates a bond that just can’t happen over text or email. Plus, it’s so much harder to capture your tone when your audience can’t see your face. 

Whether it’s at work or in your personal life, video is a fantastic tool that can help you be more efficient and save time.

MEETINGS

In-person meetings can often be really inefficient. You have to wait for people to arrive and get settled. And the actual presentations can drag on and on!

But over video, things can be a lot more efficient if you do it correctly.

It’s harder to keep people’s attention over video, so you have to get right to the point. If you’ve found yourself drifting off during Zoom meetings, you’ve experienced video call fatigue. 

Video meetings have to be more succinct. 

You need to be intentional about keeping people interested in what you’re saying. Staring right into the camera, eliminating filler words, and adjusting your makeup are all great ways to elevate your video game. 

I also have some tricks to help you sound more natural over video — you can check those out here.

WORK 

Live video meetings aren’t the only way to incorporate video into your life. Video can also help you get more productive in other areas of your work. 

Recording videos to convey ideas or do tutorials is very time efficient and helps you connect with people.  

I love using Loom to explain my ideas. You can also record your screen at the same time as you’re recording yourself. According to Loom, you talk six times faster than you type. Just think of how much time you’ll save using video!

I also like to use Vidyard when I’m working with clients or want to get a message across more easily. I can shoot a video that will convey how I’m feeling and what I really think. It’s much more efficient than writing one more email!  I was a guest speaker on their virtual summit talking about ways to be more productive using video. 

PERSONAL LIFE

Video can also make your life more efficient in other ways. Leaving people video messages is a fun and effective way to stay in contact with friends and family.

I like to use Marco Polo, which is an app that lets you record video messages.

You can send short, sweet messages that have a bigger impact on people than a text message or an email. It works great to say happy birthday from afar. 

I hope these tricks help you incorporate video in new ways. It’s a great way to get more productive that many people overlook — but it’s even more important now in the age of remote work and virtual connection. 

Behind the Scenes of My LinkedIn Learning Shoot

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

I was supposed to be in LA shooting my two LinkedIn Learning courses based on my books Listful Thinking and Listful Living

But because of Covid-19, I obviously couldn’t get on a plane and travel.

Instead, LinkedIn sent me all the equipment to shoot the courses in my apartment. My husband Jay helped me set up the lights and camera, and he even ran the teleprompter! 

This was an unexpected situation, but we made it work. Here’s some behind-the-scenes insights. 

We used our living room as the studio for the three days of the shoot. We set up the lighting that LinkedIn sent so that the video quality looked good. Their amazing team walked us through the setup step by step! 

I also followed my own advice and did my own camera-ready makeup. Thanks to some tips from my friend and former colleague at Fox New Channel, Iren Halperin, I was able to create a professional look from home. Normally I would have had professional hair and makeup so I had to improvise! 

Since I shot the courses from home, I had to make my apartment feel just as professional as a studio.

Even though I was recording just steps away from my kitchen, I tricked my brain into feeling like I was in a real studio by getting ready the same way I would have if I was in LA. Hair, makeup, clothes — the whole deal. 

If you’ve been working from home, you’re probably tempted to wear your PJ pants while you’re on video calls. I know – they’re comfy!

But whether you’re recording a course or having a meeting, getting fully dressed will help put you in the right mood for being productive and professional. 

I’m so excited to share these courses with you in the next couple of months. You can follow me on LinkedIn for updates. 

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Four Ways to Focus on Your Goals During Lockdown

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Do you feel overwhelmed by all the “helpful” content all over social media and the internet? I know I do. Everyone is sharing information on the positive things we can do during quarantine. 

From baking bread to learning new yoga routines, it seems like tips for being more productive and learning new skills are everywhere you look. 

Lots of people are feeling the urge to use this time to do something new and productive. But sometimes it just feels like there’s too many options. The pressure of all those things to do can be really stressful!

And you definitely don’t need more stress in your life — especially not during a pandemic. From adjusting to working from home to figuring out how to maintain healthy relationships with roommates or family members, everyone is figuring out how to stay sane and productive. 

That’s why it’s especially important to be mindful about what kinds of content you’re engaging with right now. 

I filmed a video with my four tips for clearing the clutter and making time for what you really want to do.

Make a list of the things you wanted to do before quarantine. 

If all this content is causing you stress, think about whether you’d have wanted to try these hobbies and tips before lockdown. If the answer is no, try to remember what you always wished you had time to do. Give yourself some a few minutes to brainstorm, and then see which of those goals is still viable with the restrictions of the pandemic. From there, you can decide which couple of things you want to try first. This isn’t just something that will help you during this time of crisis — it’ll be crucial as you design your post-pandemic life.

Find themes. 

Once you have a list of things you’d like to try, think about what themes show up. Are multiple items on your list related to getting involved in your community? Do you want to work on mindfulness? Are you hoping to be a more adventurous cook? Identifying these categories is a helpful trick for seeing which pandemic trends actually align with your existing interests. 

This is something I talk about in Listful Living. If you’re feeling overextended or burned out, it’s time to start thinking about which commitments and activities fit with your priorities. And what was a priority pre-pandemic might not be anymore. 

Cut down on screen time.

If you’re in the habit of spending your free time scrolling through social media, you’re probably seeing all kinds of ideas on how to introduce more positivity and productivity into your quarantine routine. All those options might make you feel pretty anxious. 

If this sounds like you, maybe it’s time to cap your screen time. When you find yourself mindlessly reaching for your phone, think about whether you’d feel better using the time to work on one of the projects you’ve already written down. Seeing lots of new ideas can distract you from what you already know you want to do. If you need help thinking of ideas, give yourself a set amount of time to search the internet for inspiration.

Keep track of the content you connect with. 

Lots of the positive content that’s out there can be helpful — but only if you have a way to interact with it that doesn’t cause more stress. If you do see something online that you think sounds interesting, keep a list of ideas. That way, you can keep track of things without feeling like you need to do it all right now. Maybe you saw a productivity hack that would make sense for you in a few weeks. Maybe a friend told you about a yoga routine she loves, but you’re just not feeling up to it right now.

Whether it’s a notebook or an app, keeping a running brainstorming list of all the best tips and ideas you come across will help you unload and focus on what you want to be doing right now. It’s key to think about what you need in your life today, not a week from now. If there’s an idea you love but aren’t ready to try, put it on hold until it makes sense for you and your life. 

Everyone is experiencing the pandemic differently, so what’s helpful for other people right now might not fit with your needs. Acknowledging this will help you prioritize the things that do fit. 

By spending less mindless time online and creating a system for keeping track of the interesting tips and new hobbies you come across, you can start taking control of your time. 

Do you have any tips for prioritizing your goals during lockdown? I’d love to hear about them in the comments. 

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

List of Ways to Make Working At Home Easier

Summer is the perfect excuse to work from home. But working from home can be both a blessing and curse. There are distractions around every corner — kids, food, your bed, etc. I don’t work from home that often but when I do it can sometimes be daunting to keep my head in the game. No wonder why people look to use a hotspot booster though, as this will allow them to work anywhere in the world with good quality internet connection. What more could you ask for? I was recommend to look into email hosting, which would enable me to look at my work emails wherever I am. This is beneficial to people who have their own businesses and their own domain. It’s an easy way to get more reliable and efficient service. Who doesn’t like to make work easier for themselves? There’s so much I have planned this summer in terms of my business. I have always wanted to update and improve my website and I feel like this is the perfect time to do it. The last website that I had, I used an outsource company to help create all my pages. But this time round, I want to try and do this myself. I know it will be difficult initially, but I’ll get used to it. Once I look into what ia definition is and all the other terminology, I should be fine! Plus, if I do get stuck, I know a few people who can give me a helping hand.

I often try to keep the same time table I would if I were working in an office. Taking breaks for lunch and walks to keep myself going. I can’t even imagine how difficult it must be if you also throw kids into the work from home mix.

Care.com, which helps parents find babysitters, nannies and child care, recently asked me to give some tips on ways to be more productive and stay focused. Here’s my list of ways to prioritize and get more done at home.

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