Here at Neeson & Associates, we’re always striving to maintain a balance of productive success and healthy restoration. Whether we’re busy with court reporting, captioning services or conference room rentals, it’s important to recognize the need for refueling. Giving your mind some down-time can help with focus and efficiency. I came across this great blog post on managing distractions and wanted to share some highlights with you.
1. The importance of scheduling breaks. Time spent away from your desk is just as important as when you’re entrenched in a project. Make sure you emphasize this by scheduling breaks for yourself and sticking to them. Keep on top of your time and energy by giving yourself time to relax – it will save you from burning out mid-afternoon. Keep in mind that a break is not an excuse to distract yourself with an equally taxing activity, but instead to pause for relaxation and rejuvenation.
2. Acknowledge that distractions will arise.There are moments throughout the day that will take us away from our work that we simply cannot control. But an unexpected phone call or meeting doesn’t mean you must compromise your forward motion. Instead of focusing on the inconvenience, try planning ahead. Use a Post-It note to mark your place in your current project so that you’re able to dive back in easily. Also, try minimizing your immediate involvement with the distraction. Schedule a follow-up meeting for a later time so that you can give your current project the attention it deserves.
3. Discipline yourself. Save emailing and phone calls for specific times throughout the day. Put your phone on silent unless absolutely necessary, and save Twitter/Facebook time for your breaks. Try to introduce absolute silence for small blocks of time throughout your day. This will allow for focus, concentration and, ultimately, productivity.
4. Know when you’re most productive. Whether you focus best during early morning, post-lunch or late afternoon, knowing when you excel in efficiency can be a deadly weapon against the persuasiveness of procrastination. Protect this valuable time and capitalize on it.
5. Give yourself the advantage of time. Instead of rushing last minute to complete a project, try giving yourself a larger margin for work. If you allow yourself the time and effort to produce quality work without the constraints of last-minute pressure, you’ll find you’re more open to taking vital breaks and embracing the occasional distraction.
There you have it, my friends. I wish you success and happiness in each workday (and as little distraction as possible!)
In this guest blog, Lisa discusses her thoughts and feelings about her experience living (and working) in the Far East.
The cab driver said: “Where you from, Miss”? I said – as I always did – “Where do you think I’m from?” He replied: “The U.S.” “No, Canada” I responded. Then, inevitably my cab driver would say: “Oh, Canadians – nice people. Beautiful country. I have a [relative] who lives in Vancouver.”
My year living in Singapore can be described as a learning experience, but that would be understating. Moving away from your children, homeland and familiar places at the age of 51, is nothing short of brazen daringness.
My husband and I decided to move to Singapore when I was offered a job by a Court Reporting firm there. We travelled to Hong Kong, Singapore in May of 2009 and I accepted the position and moved to Singapore in August 2009. We were lucky – our house sold in one day.
With my daughter safely tucked at college; my son already established in his own life, I thought “If I turn away this opportunity; will I have regrets?” I was sure I would have. As I sit here now, four months after returning home and staring out at my snowy backyard, it seems so long ago that I was staring at a plethora of palm trees and a giant, lake-sized swimming pool.
A simpler life
Singapore – what a funny place. It’s very clean, as everyone says but not so exciting. You’re never going to see a group of hooligans; kids dressed in crazy avant-garde styles; girls with their flesh daringly exposed or hear loud beats of music coming from cars. Shopping was over the top in Singapore. I passed six malls on my way to work each day. The adorable 20-something Singaporean girls with their satin mini dresses and stilettos heading to offices never ceased to amaze me. It was interesting to see such a vast array of colour, unlike the black, black and more black we see daily in Toronto.
Life was simpler in Singapore: My husband took care of all the household chores, made my lunch, walked me to the bus stop, met me after work and served me breakfast… I was quite spoiled. I worked very hard though; harder than I ever had – working in the Supreme Court. English is the first language in Singapore; however it took me four solid months to understand with an acceptable degree of clarity, the “Singlish” that everyone spoke inside court and out.
My verbatim court transcripts had to be perfectly churned out – with the assistance of an in-court editor – in final form, within three hours of court finishing. I must tell you, I am one of a dozen Certified Real-time Court Reporters in Ontario. The words are translated instantaneously on a computer screen, as I am taking the words down on my computerized, stenograph machine in shorthand, at speeds of between 200-275 w.p.m. A grueling stressful job in any country!
My husband and I immersed ourselves in the culture: spent Saturday afternoons in Chinatown, Little India and the Malay areas. We bought ourselves bicycles; we had no car. We biked as much as we could. Weekends were for exploring, swimming, browsing, getting together with friends. I even took a local cooking class, but with the temperature nearing 35C almost daily, with 95% humidity, I only went near the stove/oven twice in an entire year.
Back in Canada
Now I’m back in Canada, commuting into Toronto, worried about snowstorms and ice. We came back with no home to go to, and that was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I must say that being in such a hot country for a year has made me appreciate the beautiful backyard scenery I now have from my kitchen window; the fresh white snow resting upon all the branches. It’s so peaceful and quiet looking.
Being in the Far East and Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangkok, Phuket, and Taiwan, made me realize that in this country, we don’t treat our immigrants as well as we should. I now have complete sympathy for people who do not speak our language and do not know how to get around on transport. All my travels have taught me to be compassionate and understanding to people who do not speak our language and are not from our country. Having the opportunity to live on the other side of the world one day, and be treated with kindness and patience is the only way you can truly embrace another culture and have it embrace you.
Share your comments!
Lisa is a realtime court reporter working with Neeson & Associates.
At Neeson & Associates, it’s been our passion and privilege to assist those with a hearing loss in Canada. Communication Access Realtime Translation or C.A.R.T is a service we offer at Neeson & Associates that can greatly benefit individuals with hearing loss limitations and provide them with a means to participate in a variety of activities.
The CART process is done using a steno machine, notebook computer and realtime software which together provides instant speech-to-text translation. Our experienced and highly-trained CART providers can capture not only the spoken word verbatim in most instances, but can also incorporate non-verbal cues including gestures, laughter and tones. Captionists at Neeson & Associates possess shorthand speeds of over 225 words per minute, with a general accuracy rate of 99% or greater.
Captioning services can also be beneficial to those whose English is a second language or those with linguistic learning disabilities. If you’re interested in learning more about captioning/CART provided by Neeson & Associates, or require our services, please contact us. We ensure that every word is understood, every time.
Currently in the arbitration/mediation market there are two primary office models: an association with a law firm or becoming a part of a arbitration/mediation practice. Both scenarios pose unique issues for the arbitrator or mediator who practices. By being resident or a part of a law firm, there is often an apprehension of bias due to that association which may cause conflict issues, whether real or not. In professional arbitration/mediation practices, up to 60% of the arbitrator’s billings are returned to the practice to cover overhead and the like.
Now there is a third option: Neeson Arbitration Chambers. Membership in the Chambers includes a spacious, independent office with fundamental service offerings that include: reception, personalized telephone attendant, internet access, website participation and inclusion in promotional events. A la carte administration services are also available, or members may use their own admin support as they see fit. Best of all, the independent arbitrator/mediator’s billings remain under their control – work as much or as little as you see fit while maintaining a professional presence in downtown Toronto. Licenses are cost effective.
By being a member of the Neeson Arbitration Chambers, mediators and arbitrators gain synergy – you can be associated with the “top of class” but work independently.
Lastly, the space includes several boardrooms, breakout rooms and a large hearing room which are all available on an as needed basis at a daily rate. Imagine being able to conduct an arbitration or mediation and being able to return to your on-site office and continue work on other matters while the parties are in discussion. Effective use of time and money is achieved immediately. Court reporting is also available on-site should your matter require same.
There are still a few offices available, but our membership as of May 1st will include: Hon. Edward Saunders, Hon. Coulter Osborne, Hon. Jack Ground, William G. Bill Horton and Gordon E. Kaiser.
One office will be kept aside for use by out-of-town arbitrators. Make Neeson & Associates your home while conducting business in the Greater Toronto Area.
We at Neeson & Associates provide voice-to-text captioning for those with a hearing loss. Hearing damage has become a major issue in Canada and the United States, affecting not only older generations but teens as well. In fact, Hearing loss among teenagers has significantly risen in the past ten years, jumping to 30%.
One in 10 Canadians has some sort of hearing loss and one in 40 has enough hearing damage that it is disruptive in their day-to-day lives. So why are more and more young people getting hard of hearing? It could be due to their iPods, mp3 players and concert-going ways.
Recently, the National Post (a Toronto newspaper) wrote an article on teen hearing and its relation to portable audio players and the level of noise at concerts. It featured Dr. Brian Hands, an ear, nose and throat specialist who explains how live entertainment can really pose a problem later on in life.
” You know you have hearing loss if you go to a rock concert and you come out with a buzzing in your ears and you feel that your hearing is diminished,” Dr. Hands says. If it lasts more than 12 to 24 hours, you’ve suffered some potentially permanent hearing loss. “Sometimes, it will recover, but if it’s that profound, meaning at a level of 105 to 120 decibels and you’re there for two-, three-, four-hour concerts, then there’s obviously a risk of permanent hearing loss.”
So how can you help your teenager enjoy the music without harming his/her eardrums? Dr. Hands recommends using earplugs at every concert. Earplugs are a great way to diminish the level sound without completely blocking it. Whether you decide to go cheap or expensive – either will work to help protect your ears.
Hearing loss is a serious concern that we all need to LISTEN to (at any age). See the full article from the National Post here.
I wanted to share this heartwarming letter I received from the co-founder and Volunteer President of the PACT Urban Peace Program, David Lockett. PACT is one of my favourite charities to work with and it’s one I keep close to my heart.
Thank you so much for the kind words David!
If you are interested in volunteering with PACT, please visit the PACT website or call 416-256-0726. You can also see my involvement with PACT on the Neeson & Associates website.
Kimberley Neeson has been nominated amongst the Canadian Top Women Entrepreneurs according to Profit Magazine. Hear about leading entrepreneurs in the Canadian sphere and follow them as they guide their firms into the top niche in Canadian business. In these tough economic times, these are tomorrow’s leaders who offer project confidence and quality service to create the backbone of Canada’s industry standards. Women are the driving force behind Canada’s quality services and employment numbers and past statistics have shown women succeed in their endeavours. According to statistics, firms run by women have generated $2.2 billion dollars in revenues and over 11,000 new positions in 2010 – in an economic downturn. At Neeson & Associates, this holds true.
Since 1982, Kimberley Neeson has acted as Canada’s primary standard-bearer in the court reporting and captioning industries. She has trained many of its top practitioners in both professions and Neeson & Associates offers court reporting, captioning, realtime and rough draft transcripts, and exemplary notetaking services for the legal, government, corporate, enforcement, hearing loss and medical communities. Neeson & Associates is Canada’s foremost realtime court reporting and arbitration service.
Through Ms. Neeson’s vision, the company has developed wide-ranging capabilities and utilizes the most current technology to ensure online and paper receipt, remote captioning and easy effortless upload of information into any system. Kimberley is ranked 51 in 2010 and Neeson is expanding its services to offer board and office facilities and eDiscovery war rooms to meet future litigation and arbitration experts’ needs. The arbitration arm of the business already has a number of high profile members of the legal community who provide these services, and the ongoing networking heightens the Neeson offering. For further information or quotes, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416.413.7755
SOLD OUT! More than 130 people joined in to make the PACT /Neeson & Associates event a huge success! Taking place in the sumptuous setting of Pravda Vodka Bar in downtown Toronto, the networking event featured great conversation, signature martinis and manicures. Participants enjoyed the PACTFashion show highlighting the designs of the at-risk girls who are changing their lives around as a result of the opportunity PACT provides. PACTFashion is but one of the numerous programs (including PACTBuild, PACTForestry, and PACTFarm), that aid at-risk students with fundamental life skills. All those attending were greeted with a gift certificate to Donato Spa + Spa – one of many sponsors who helped support social entrepreneur Kim Neeson put on the event.
Neeson & Associates Court Reporting works primarily within the legal sector, providing court reporting in many areas including criminal matters. So it’s fitting that PACT is one of Kim’s favourite charities, since many of the youth chosen for a PACT program are referred to PACT by the youth justice system.
Thanks again to those who attended this event; we hope you had a great time!
Here are some photos from the Neeson/PACT Martinis and Manicures event. I’m uploading the entire album on the Neeson & Associates Facebook Page so be sure to join our page and take a look!
I also want to thank Ming Pao (Toronto’s Chinese Language Newspaper) for featuring the event! See the article and photos here. Thanks to Style Bistro for also promoting the Neeson/PACT Martinis and Manicures Event on their Fashion Forum.
I’m getting excited for a superb networking and philanthropic event at the PACT Martini/Manicure function on Tuesday November 23rd. I can’t think of a better event to attend to donate to charity. It includes all the necessities for a busy businessperson’s life in one evening: networking, fashion show, manicure, plus a martini! This is the opportunity to donate to at-risk youth programming at an affordable $35.00 per person. There will also be jewellery, makeup and giveaways as well!
Learn how the PACT Fashion program transforms street youth into budding tailors intent on sewing and completing clothes for other needy students to wear during the fashion show. Hear about the various programs that PACT offers for at-risk youth, as they learn how to cook nutritiously from scratch in the cooking program, sew or make alterations in the fashion program, or woodworking or construction in the build program with each program ensuring the recipient learns the fundamentals to go through life with. We won’t ask you to donate your time to teaching youth a useful trade, however, by attending this fun function, you will be adding to the program’s funding and enable more youth to grow to their potential. I hope to see you there!
I’ll be honest with you…I fell into court reporting by accident.
Back in the late 70s, I thought I’d really like to be a lawyer; however, there were many news articles and stories indicating how tough the lawyer market was – law firms were scaling back and graduates of law were not getting jobs. I didn’t want to spend seven years of my life in school and training only to find I have no job! My aunt, however, knew a court reporter and said to me, “You’re interested in the law, why not talk to her and see if court reporting is something you might be interested in?”
And so begins my path to Court Reporting…
I started off by going to my high school’s library and to the school guidance counsellor, only to find a one-page document on what a court reporter was…not much to go on, but it sounded very interesting. So I met with my aunt’s friend and I was immediately intrigued with the idea. Imagine being a fly on so many walls! To listen to the stories of so many, and to perhaps be a part of history in the making! Right then and there, I was hooked.
At that time, there was two schools available for court reporting in Toronto – one was George Brown College, and the other was RETS. RETS was an early model of a private business school – not nearly as sophisticated as today’s offerings – and it was the school I decided upon. Being the “Type A” personality that I am, I was anxious to keep my full-time job AND become a court reporter too.
The classes were separated into two groups – one for beginners, and one for the advanced class (I think it was over 80 wpm). There were approximately 30 students when I started. We were all given this funny gadget called a shorthand machine (which we still use today). However, my current shorthand machine is fully computerized, complete with audio and shorthand backup systems. It makes life much, much easier!
One thing to realize is that learning the theory of shorthand is like learning another language. It can take months to understand and get the hang of it. The best advice I can give you is to practice as much as possible!
Within 18 months I was lucky enough to secure a training position with the wonderful court reporters at our local County Court House. I received some wonderful mentoring, great hands-on experience and I learned the importance of having stamina – which is key in this profession!
Have any questions about Court Reporting? I’ll do my best to answer them as quickly as possible!