Form to keep track of transcripts

As part of my job, I type transcripts of court proceedings. I'm finding it very hard to keep track of the process. I usually have 10-15 open orders at any given time and each involves my ordering copies of the tapes to be made, actually picking up the tapes, typing the document, submitting it for proofing, and when I release it an invoicing process to actually get paid. I also need to keep track for taxes.

Can anyone recommend a form that would help me organize this?

Thanks,
Jason

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Make one

Hi.

I don't think there's a specific form for this. So you have a couple of choices.

1) Make your own form in Word or Excel or notepad or whatever you have around. Put in all the steps of the process and a spot for the title and maybe a description. Print out a bunch of blanks on the paper size of your choice, and use one page per order.

2) Use a filing system, like a 3x5 card box, where you can have one tab per step in the process. Make a card for each order, and move it to each new tab as you accomplish each task.

In the case of #1, you'd have to review each page to see which item is in which step, but you could file them easily and find them easily if someone has a question about progress on a given item.

In the case of #2, you could easily bundle your tasks so you can batch all of your typing or invoicing, for example, to get it done fastest. It would be a little tougher to look up status of a single project, unless you use some electronic filing system that permits searching.

I personally do a combination of these depending on the size of my project. I have one set of projects that go through the same basic steps and are relatively small and predictable. These I handle in email, because I get the initial notification of a new 'request' via email. So I make a folder in email that represents that request, and I have another set of folders representing steps in the process. I move the project folder into the various step folders as it moves through the process, and when it's done, I take the project folder and stuff it in an archive spot. For larger projects that don't have predictable steps, I jot down the tasks on 3x5 cards and file them by the day they're due or the project they belong to.

Anyway, you just have to develop a method that you use every single time for every single order--something easy and quick enough that it doesn't add to your processing time or detract from your ability to plan or answer questions.

shris

3x5s

Actually, the 3x5 system idea is a very good one.

I would only add a couple details. as to how to do it.

I used to do something similar to what you are doing, and these were my steps, etc.

I would write the name and contact info to the card. In my case, I had a computerized address book, and printed out mailing labels, and stuck them to the cards. Later, I got a printer that could print directly onto the cards, which is what I do today.

Once I had a card, I would write every thing I did for that contact. So, in your case, the first step, ordering the tapes, I would write under the contact info, the date, and then, "tapes ordered". This should go into a tickler file, by date, based on when to pick up the tapes. Once the tapes were picked up, I would write on the next line, the date, and "tapes picked up." Then, I would move them to the tab "To be typed". Or, you could alternately, attach them to the job with a paper clip.
Once typed, you would write the date, and "typed" or whatever, and move the card to the next tab, "to be proofed." Once proofed, write the date, and move the card to the "to be invoiced" tab. Once that's done.... well, I've repeated myself more than enough to give you the idea. ;-)

You know, now that I've said all this, I had another idea. Instead of 3x5 cards, are there not paper sleeves that you could use or envelopes, into which you can slip both the tapes and the papers? This would keep everything together. You would only need some kind of file box or cabinet to keep it all together. Of course, you could still use 3x5 cards for writing one, and use plain envelopes or sleeves, and reuse those, and file the cards. That would work, too.

I would also add a tickler file with 43 folders for time-sensitive steps. This way, each day, you would pull out items that were to be picked up that particular day, or delivered, or whatnot, and have it all organized that way. The categories that were not calendar specific would have their own folders. But each day, at the beginning of the day, you review your tickler and the other steps, and organize your work at the start.

Like Sris, I've done this sort of stuff for years, and it works well, so long as you don't have more than a handful of items to track. At one point, I was following dozens of contact cards at multiple steps, so I switched to using my computer, but for your work, I think either 3x5s or envelopes would suit you just fine, and computer would be both overkill, and overcomplicated. I think your system should be rather easy to implement without special forms.

-Jon

I actually did try a 3x5

I actually did try a 3x5 system a couple of months ago. It was similar to what you describe as far as writing the date of each stage on the card as it happens. I also included priorities and length estimates to help me decide which one to work on when. I didn't really use folders but held everything together with a binder clip in order of what state each was in.

I found that I ended up not writing all the details in it, which is probably more a problem with me than the system. But because of missing info I couldn't rely on it and stopped using it pretty fast.

I guess I should try and start again using it.

I do find I have too many items to track at one time, which could be one reason I'm having trouble but if it's just a few I can keep them in my head

Sounds like...

... You could benefit from the tickler file system, or maybe, an "order up" board. Clip the tasks that need to be done in the same time frame hanging together, either with a binder clip, or a clipboard. I would also try to find a way to abbreviate things, to de-complicate your writing. Some form of shorthand that is easily decoded to help you with that writing pressure. ;-) If you constantly write the same things, maybe could come up with a template so you simply write the dates (or use a stamp?) and check off the step. I hand-wrote everything, because each phone call had its own unique elements--comments or follow-up dates, etc. But in your situation, it might be simpler to have some form of template.

But I really suspect that a tickler file would really help you. But I may be waaay off base, too. ;-)

-Jon