I came upon an amazing new way to get more things done faster and easier during the day, and I’m here to share it with you.
I’m writing this paragraph from the comfort of the hanging cocoon chair in my back yard. Any device that has any kind of keyboard attached to it sits 6-or-so feet away from me. And it’s the way I’ve been working for the past couple of weeks.
How is that even possible, you ask? Bluetooth and speech-to-text.
A new way to work, a clever way to create
I’ve taken full advantage of the new reality we’re still facing. Like many of you reading this, my company has allowed me to work from home since March. I consider myself lucky to have benefited from this change – my house is large enough for me to have my own home office and cozy enough for me to enjoy working even more than I did before.
And yet, I haven’t become a workaholic. I have lunch and dinner in the dining room instead of gorging myself in front of a computer screen. I don’t check email late at night, but I somehow manage to stay ahead of curve.
That’s because I stumbled upon a very clever new way to do most of my work without sacrificing my household chores during the day. And it’s through my voice.
The freedom of speech
It all started early during the coronavirus lockdown, when I took up a new hobby: amateur videography. I got myself an entry-level camera partly because I needed to record myself for an online event in June, and partly because I had always wanted to go in front of a camera, period.
But I soon learned that making videos is no easy task. I struggled to keep a coherent train of thought for too long, and I concluded that I need to work on my oratorical skills. So I started recording just my voice, all day every day.
I never used anything fancy for that. Initially just my phone, along with a recording app that came pre-installed. Then I realized I don’t even need to carry my phone with me around the house all the time. I connected a pair of Bluetooth headphones that had a microphone, and I gained complete freedom around the house.
How you can use speech-to-text to be more productive
I’ve always liked working smarter instead of working harder. This also has the benefit of making you seem to work harder than anyone else, when in fact you’re breezing your way through.
So the secret productivity trick I discovered and want to share with you is this:
Whatever it is that you can create in writing – an email, an article, a memoir – you can create with the spoken word as well.
Everything you need to do this, you probably own already. If you have a phone and a pair of mic’d headphones, you’re good to go. They don’t even have to be wireless – you can put your phone in your pocket and plug a headset into your jack. I personally like the freedom to move around.
There are many options of apps that do speech-to-text really well, and it’s not my intent to recommend one over another. For me personally, the Voice Recorder does the trick. I then copy-paste the text to a universal clipboard that syncs across my linked devices, to have it available for editing on my computer. If this sounds complicated, don’t worry – just look for a “universal clipboard” app that you like and you’ll find a number of great options.
One final edit
Not everything I talk about sees the light of the day. That’s the beauty of it: you can create a big chunk of text and ideas that you can then use any way you want.
Sometimes I read an email and think about the appropriate response while I do something else. I’m lucky enough that my organization’s culture doesn’t require me to be glued to a computer 8 hours a day. It expects results from me – and I’m happy to give back results while also working my own way.
So if you’re in a similar situation, but you feel like you can barely manage work, the kids, the dog and the dishes at the same time, why don’t you give my productivity trick a try?
Along the way, you will discover important lessons about yourself. You might not be as coherent as you imagine yourself to be at first. But that will improve with practice.
And I promise you one thing: you’ll be more free and more productive than you are right now.
P.S.: While this article might have initially been dictated instead of written, it certainly was edited with the help of a computer. Sometimes, technology only takes you 90% of the way. The rest is up to you.