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Get a Life!

Free Info on our recommended Medical Transcription Program leading to an exciting home based medical transcription career

Life is short. Unfortunately, most of us are content to settle for the mundane and ordinary - mainly because we don't know how to effect powerful and lasting changes in our lives. Here are seven steps calculated to help us take control or our lives and replace boredom and mediocrity with meaning and satisfaction.

1. Develop a Compelling Personal Vision

"I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done."

Henry Ford

Outlandish dreams often provide the foundation for great accomplishments. Mundane visions spawn mediocrity. A mundane vision simply will not do for a world-class life. A world-class life requires a world-class vision of what can be.

But a vision - no matter how powerful and compelling, is of no value until it is documented, communicated and internalized into the very fiber of your daily life.

For most of us, there is ample opportunity to inject enthusiasm into our lives - and it starts with a well-defined and forcefully articulated vision.

2. Make Time in Your Life for Yourself

This is probably the single hardest thing to do. These are busy times. Crazy times, almost. Everyone is extremely busy. The challenge is trying to balance all of the many responsibilities we have and still find time to do some of the things that we want to do.

I have found that most jobs are giant black holes. A job or business will take everything you can possibly give it and more. In my job I get a lot of people coming to me requesting that I participate in projects or produce information or help analyze problems. Sometimes we fall into the same trap in our personal lives. Well meaning friends will continually "drop by" to chat or make seemingly small requests or demands on our time and resources. This is particularly true for home based employees. Many people automatically assume that if you are at home you are available to visit, run errands, or serve as a babysitter. Unfortunately, our natural first response is often "Oh, why not. It's a small thing after all." But as we give in to that attitude, we begin to slowly see our lives slipping out of control. We begin to live our lives on someone elses agenda instead of controlling our own destiny. For the longest time I tried to live my life by pleasing everyone else. I also tried to do everything myself - but it quickly became overwhelming. And it didn't take me long to realize that I was doing a lot of things that really should have been and could have been done by others.

So I developed a small decision matrix, which has served to guide my decisions in these matters. I am still not very good at adhering to it, but it has helped me immensely to balance my life.

It's really a screening mechanism. I mentally pass each request that comes to me through three screening option before agreeing to accept it.

a. Decline
b. Refer
c. Delegate
d. Do

In that order.

"The best way to keep your word is not to give it."

Napolean Bonaparte


Your first mental reaction to almost any request by anyone should be to politely decline. Busy work projects, "nice to do" projects and requests that have no relationship to your area of responsibility are often best stopped right here.

This will require that you develop your capacity to "just say no".

Obviously, there are certain requests from certain people (like your boss) that may not lend themselves to this option. There are also requests that come with such an urgency that you will automatically bypass this option. And then, of course there are the requests that are just too good to pass up. All of those things are fine. They are part of life. The important point is that you begin to filter out inane and irrelevant requests and take charge of the decision making process.


If the request is important and/or relates indirectly to your area of responsibility then you should consider whether there is someone else that is better suited to handle this request. If so then you should provide the name and number of that person to the requesting party.

Avoid acting as an intermediary. It is best to have the requester deal directly with the other person. This keeps you out of it and avoids continuous back and forth discussions and clarifications.


If the request obviously pertains directly to your area of responsibility and if you are the person best suited to accomplish it then your next step should be to determine if there is someone you can delegate the project to. Delegating it within your organization is one possibility. If it is a personal matter, you may consider delegating it to a child or dare I say… spouse, (this, of course, must be done with a great deal of finesse). If this is not possible you may consider discussing the project requirements with your supervisor or the person that requested it to see if he or she is able to allocate additional resources from other areas of the organization to assist you in accomplishing the task.


Once you have processed all requests through this filtering mechanism, you should be left only with the most critical tasks - those which pertain directly to your area of responsibility, or those which you personally feel are important for YOU to do. By adhering to this small decision hierarchy, you will be able to prioritize requests that come your way, decline or divert those tasks that don't fit into your agenda, and free yourself up to focus on those items that will advance your personal goals.

Which leads us to the next point.

3. Focus on the Critical Few

Begin to identify the activities and tasks that will give you the most bang for the buck - then do them first and do them well. Come to understand your time and resource limitations and focus your efforts on high impact areas - "The Critical Few".

For example, as a Medical Transcriptionist your primary focus should be on maximizing the number of lines you transcribe each day. This should be a top priority. If you are fiddling around with a lot of busy work, helping someone else fill in blanks in their reports, organizing your paperwork, tuning in and out of a favorite television program, etc. then you are by definition not focusing on the critical few. You are allowing non-critical items to interfere with what is most important. Dr. Stephen Covey refers to this as "first things first." This means that you attend first to the thing that is most important. Once it is done, then you can attend to other things - maybe even treat yourself to a hot bath or a leisurely perusal of the newspaper, feeling confident that you have met your daily productivity targets.

4. Understand and Develop Your Resource Base

Spend the time to develop productivity enhancements that will ultimately make you more efficient By making a judicious investment up front, you will be able to maximize your income while simultaneously minimizing your effort. This will ultimately leave you more time to pursue the other important (non-work) items on your personal agenda.

If you are involved in an organization - whether it be professional or volunteer, learn the value of delegation. Proper delegation serves two important purposes:

a. It frees you up as a leader to focus on the overall direction of the organization and focus on strategic decisions.
b. It unleashes the creativity and develops the leadership potential of those who work or serve with you.

5. Plan, Prepare and Calendar 2-3 months in Advance

By disciplining yourself to develop and follow a calendar, you will be surprised at how much free time you really do have to attend to all of the things you want and need to do. A calendar is also a great tool to allow you to prioritize and graciously decline unwanted requests and activities. Make sure that you always tell people that you must consult your calendar before making any commitments. This ensures that you don't inadvertently double up on a commitment and create more stress in your life (who needs it, right?). It also gives you a great out if you need one. If you manage a department or organization, you should begin now to instill in your organization an understanding of the importance of planning and preparation. This will be critical to the successful realization of your vision.

Lead by example in this area. Hold consistent planning and correlation meetings. Set the tone for others to follow. If necessary, get training for yourself and/or your organization on how to conduct meetings, how assignments are made, the art of delegation and the importance of planning ahead.

6. Clearly Communicate Expectations - then Provide Opportunities to Report on Progress

Whether you are working with your kids, peers, subordinates at work, or in a volunteer organization, you should begin to develop strength and discipline in your family or organization by providing opportunities for others to accept and fulfill specific assignments. Then give them opportunities to return and report on their progress.

Allow them to learn from their mistakes and take advantage of teaching opportunities in the process.

Avoid the temptation to micro-manage or do things yourself so that they are done "right'.

By developing the talents, abilities and decision making capacities of others who you rely on, you will simplify your life and achieve your objectives more rapidly.

7. Create Some Excitement and Make it Fun

By prioritizing and stripping away the less important activities and focusing on the critical few, we can create excitement in our own lives and energize our organizations. Then by harnessing that creative energy, we can begin to accomplish things that once seemed beyond our reach.

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