Could a dictation service or dictation app be the right freelance productivity tool for you?
Today I am trying out the new productivity tool that might work for freelancers. It is Dragon dictating software. I've been reluctant to use dictation software because I type pretty fast. However, some freelancers, blog owners, and others struggle with writing faster. Plus, dictation can be useful if you are on the road, and can't exactly sit down and write.
Who Uses Dictation?
My friend Jeff Rose at Good Financial Cents uses a dictation and transcription service. He calls in and dictates, and they transcribe it for him. He can turn the results into blog post or whatever he wants.
Tom Drake, from MapleMoney, knows someone who wrote an entire book using a dictation software application. Today, I am using an iPhone app called Dragon. Ian from Everyday Nomad uses this app and he really enjoys it, so I thought I'd give it a try and see how it works for me.
My Freelance Productivity Tool Test of the Free Dragon App for iPhone
Instead of sitting down and writing I am dictating this post while I do my hair and makeup for the day. I want to see how this works while I do activities that wouldn't I normally be able to do while typing. Ordinarily, it takes me between 15 and 20 minutes to type a standard 500-to-600-word blog post, including the few minutes I usually spend doing light research and composing my thoughts. It takes longer if there's more research involved, and if the post is longer.
One of the things I worry about with dictation is the amount of editing I'll have to do. At certain points, Dragon stops so that I can review what I've said, and how it appears. It's possible to edit inside the app as you go along. However, you have to pay attention, since the app will miss some of your words if you keep talking while it's processing. One of the benefits of a transcription service is that you call, and at the other end of the line someone takes your dictation and puts together the transcript. You don't have to wait for the software to process your recent statements.
Dragon emails you the completed dictation when you're finished, and you can then edit it further. I know that you can dictate by giving punctuation in order to reduce the amount of editing afterward, but it's not something I'm used to. Additionally, with dictation software you need to pay attention to the levels. If the phone is too far from your mouth, or if you speak quickly, it might not catch everything.
I can see how dictation like this could be a great freelance productivity tool or help with general business productivity. You can keep notes, or dictate memos and emails right from your iPhone, whenever you need to.
Verdict: It took me about 8 minutes to dictate the post. However, it needed some clean up. I just spent 15 minutes editing it. So, in total, it took about 23 minutes. I suppose practice could help bring down the time, but for the most part, I think I'll stick with typing my posts.
What do you think? Do you use dictation services or software? Does it help your productivity?