Do you talk to yourself?

If I asked you to picture a traditional secretary/PA you will quite likely think of a young woman sat in front of the boss’s desk taking down his dictation in short-hand.

Would you believe that there are different ‘languages’ of shorthand and because I learnt TeeLine at school, that makes me ‘a young thing’.  Many slightly more mature secretaries (is that politically correct?) will claim that Pitman is the “proper” shorthand.

Anyway, by the time I went into the workplace in the late 80’s it was irrelevant as shorthand was on its way out and audio-typing was the transcription method of choice.  Bosses now sat in their offices talking to themselves and recording it on their Dictaphone machines.  They would then pass the tape to the secretary who would plug in her headphones and “drive” the tape with her foot-pedal.  Suddenly the boss and the secretary didn’t need to be in the office at the same time in order to get typing completed.

You might imagine that things have moved on in the last 25+ years but actually the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much.  Bosses/business owners still dictate into their little machines but instead of having a physical tape to pass over to the typist, it’s recorded digitally and the MP3/WAV file can be emailed or uploaded onto the appropriate system.  The typist now has software on their computer to play the digital file (rather than a tape machine on their desk) but they still drive it with a pedal (now plugged into the computer through a USB plug).

So why am giving you a potted history of the secretary?

The Office Fixer is focussed on making sure that small business owners are making their offices and businesses as efficient as possible so that they can spend less time working on the drudgery and audio typing is a little used secret weapon in saving time.

The biggest change in audio typing over the years has been in the Dictaphones themselves.  You can still buy hand-held Dictaphones (some quite tiny ones too) and if you’re doing a lot of dictating and/or want maximum flexibility to go back and rerecord, etc, I would recommend buying one.  However, to get you started or for basic dictating, your smart phone will probably do the job just fine.  Pretty much all smart phones have a voice-recorder app already loaded on them but there are many other free and paid-for dictating apps.

For most people, talking is a much quicker and easier process than writing or typing, so whether you write a lot of reports, reviews or correspondence, or you just want to do a brain-dump and get what’s in your head onto paper, recording it on your phone and sending it through to a typist of much greater speed than you, is a much more time efficient way to get things done.

Take a look at some dictating options:

·         A Dictaphone

·         Express Dictate App for iPhone;  Express Dictate App for Android*

·         DropVox App for iPhone;  DropVox App for Android*

*I have only used the iPhone apps myself so can’t vouch for the Android versions.

If you want help with your typing, take a look at or give me a call on 01484 885485.


The History of The Secretary
Are you living to work or working to live?

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