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Minimalist Transcriptionist

by Joanna Norman

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One of the things I love about being a transcriptionist is that it fits in so well with the simple lifestyle I am creating. I have been interested in minimalism and downsizing for much of my adult life. For example, I have consistently chosen to live in smaller homes and drive smaller cars than the average American.  Recently, I read Courtney Carver’s book Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More and participated in her Summer School for Simplicity course which inspired me to simplify even further. I think it’s safe to say that I’m becoming a minimalist.  

Transcription is a perfect fit for a minimalist. I work from home, so I don’t need a fancy work wardrobe. I get dressed every day, but I keep it comfortable and simple. Jeans and a plaid shirt would be a typical workday outfit for me. (If you want to know more about my minimalist wardrobe, check out Project 333: The Minimalist Fashion Challenge That Proves Less Really is So Much More.)

Photo of a white metal standing desk with an open laptop, 3 crocheted cactus and a small hexagonal aquarium.

I have a simple workspace which I set up about 8 months ago on a very limited budget.  I use a fairly inexpensive standing desk and an old, but comfortable desk chair with an extra foam pad to help with posture and a bad hip. When I need a little more room to spread out, I pull out a stacking table.  I really like my desk because I can use it as a standing desk when my hip is acting up, or I can quickly adjust it to be a nice, angled, seated desk. (See below for a list of links, if you want details on any of the products I mention in this post.)

Three little crocheted cactus in terra cotta pots

For my actual work tools, I have a laptop, a transcription foot pedal, good quality earphones, a backup drive, my Rocketbook Planner, a Rocketbook Notebook, a bag of FriXion pens (that’s what I use with the Rocketbooks which are reusable notebooks), and a plastic accordion folder. That’s all. I can easily pack all of this up into my favorite “briefcase” made from recycled plastic bag plarn, and I can work from anywhere. In the future, when pandemic conditions allow, I can work from a coffee shop, at my sister’s house across the country, at an AirBnB – anywhere!

I also have few  decorative things on my desk that make me happy – three crocheted mini cacti, pictures of my sisters, and a little one gallon aquarium which houses Mr. Cat, my betta fish.   

I love my minimal, tidy workspace. It gives me peace and joy. Back when I was teaching, my desk was always a paper-filled, piled up disaster area. My former students would not recognize my desk now.

If you are also a transcriptionist, if you work from home, what does your workspace look like?  Do you like a big space with room to spread out?  Do you keep it small and simple? Somewhere in between?  Share a picture in the comments below. I’d love to see where you spend your workday at home.

Where to get the things:

My desk and chair cushion:

Transcription Foot Pedal and headphones:

My Backup Drive:

Rocketbook Products and Accordian File:

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