Finding the Time

By: Annie

Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? I’ve certainly been feeling that way lately. There are so many different activities and commitments that occupy my time and I haven’t been able to properly manage my time like I would like to.

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I decided something needed to be done about it so I began blocking my time off. I usually look at my schedule a week at a time and block off the tasks that I know I need to accomplish each. For example, I know that I work every Tuesday and Thursday. I know that I need to buy groceries at some point, usually on the weekend. I know months ahead of time about appointments for my daughter and I that we need to get to. I’ve even started blocking off time for exercising and cleaning my house.

Once I have all the usual and expected activities I look at the smaller tasks for each day of the week and determine how they will fit into my schedule. My brother is currently in basketball season so I usually go to one or two of his games a week. I have to schedule time every day to bathe my daughter. And then, of course, I have to figure out how studying is going to fit into all of my other activities.

If you remember from before, I generally enjoy studying at night. When I have other activities in the evening, I try to fit my studying in during the morning or early afternoon hours. Generally, I try to guess when my daughter will be napping so I can study without any distractions.

So far, my new routine of blocking off time and scheduling my activities a little more consciously has really paid off. I’ve been getting more studying done and in longer stretches of time. I tend to just do things as I feel like doing them, so scheduling my daily activities and then sticking to that schedule has taught me accountability and time management.

Maybe you have the whole scheduling thing figured out or maybe you are like I was and you just do things as you feel like doing them. Whatever the case may be I hope it’s working for you and if it isn’t, maybe it’s time to try a new technique. You might be surprised and find out how helpful scheduling can be!

I have just turned in my second quiz in a week’s time, which is way more progress than I have been making so I’m pretty proud of myself and my new scheduling system! Happy studies to you all!

Dreams

By: Jessica

Hi Everyone! Hope you have had a good relaxing weekend and are ready to begin a positive week.  Today I want to bring up the subject of dreams.  Everyone has them and they say very few accomplish them.  That just sounds very horrible that only a few accomplish them.  It boggles my mind that people will let certain negative things get in the way of them accomplishing their dreams.  That is one of the main reasons why I sought out doing online schooling, and the main reason I am seeking a career that I can do from anywhere in the world.  TRAVEL!!! Everyone wants to travel or enjoys travel.  I just feel like I was born to travel, I am a true gypsy at heart.  There is so much out there to explore and learn, Idreams feel like when I stay in one place too long I am missing out on an experience or an adventure.  I have to keep it moving.  I can rest when I die is always the motto I go with.  So what are your dreams?  Is there a place you have always wanted to live?  Where is it and why do you want to live there?  What are some of the things you can do to change in your current lifestyle to accomplish your dreams?  Are these questions something you think about all the time but never act on them?  Don’t let them stay dreams.  Make them accomplishments.  I started this journey with At-Home Professions so that in the future I can build a career that will allow me to get my traveling accomplished while I can still pay bills and create a career that I enjoy as well as a career space that is amazing.  Now I know that there are many other careers that would allow a person to work from home, but this was my passion and something I felt I sincerely wanted to know more about.  So I had to create a plan or a stepping stone of where I want to be and how I want to get there.

  1. Get schooling for a career at home.
  2. Land a job that allows me to work from home.
  3. Create a budget for travel expenses and work expenses.
  4. Make a travel map of places to explore.
  5. Explore these places and blog about the experience.
  6. Enjoy and explore.

Seems simple enough but we all know that life enjoys throwing monkey wrenches into plans all the time.  But this will never stop me from wanting to explore and learn new things.  My ultimate goal is to live in FIJI when I am done exploring.  Unless of course; I explore and find another location that suites my fancy.  So tell me where you want to live. Where is your dream location, is At- Home Professions part of your dream plan or is this just a stepping stone for you to discover what your dreams are?  Write those dreams down and create a plan to turn them into accomplishments.  Enjoy your week.

The End is Near!

By: Annie

I remember how anxious I was as my college graduation approached. Luckily, I already had a job lined up so I didn’t have to face the stress of finding something right out of school like many of my friends did. Nevertheless, the feeling of a great experience coming to an end was enough for me to feel a whole spectrum of emotions. I was happy to be done with one chapter, but very excited to see what the future had in store and exactly how I would apply all the lessons I learned while I school.

I feel a very similar feeling about finishing this program. I have definitely settled into my current routine, which consists of caring for my daughter and squeezing as much homework in as I can throughout the day. I’ve really enjoyed this schedule and studying has almost become relaxing for me.

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Now, I am looking forward to working instead of studying. I am more than ready to begin contributing to my family financially again and feel like I am making a difference for other people. I am looking forward to my daughter seeing that I was able to accomplish what I set my mind to as she grows older.

The only difference between the end of this program and the end of my college career is the job itself. Before college graduation, I had a job secured. Now, I am just beginning my search for a job. At this point, I think I am going to try and find a job strictly in medical transcription. Eventually, I want to work with diagnostic and procedural codes though because I really enjoy the challenge of coding.

I only have three quizzes left and I am all done with the Health Documentation Specialist Program through At-Home Professions. When I first began this program last April my goal was to be done before my daughter’s first birthday in March. At this point, I think I’ll achieve that goal! I recently quit working at my part-time job so I can focus all my extra attention on my studies and it has really helped me cover more material at a faster pace.

Wherever you are in your studies, I hope they are going well. If you are just beginning, enjoy the experience! If you are close to being done like I am, I hope you, too, are excited for what the future holds for you and your career. Happy studying!

Time Savers

By: Jessica

Hey everyone, I hope your weekend was fantastic and you got to spend some time with your family and friends and enjoy the Super Bowl activities. Let’s face it, all of us at one time or another have procrastinated on something – whether it be homework , a project for work, or even doing chores, we’ve all done it. It happens; we live busy, busy lives. So today is going to be all about time saving hacks that we can use, mainly with our course work, but I’ll also incorporate some that you can also use in your everyday life, too.

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First let’s talk about being prepared. Most of us keep a cell phone, and most of them are smartphones. One thing to do is make sure you have at least one course downloaded on your smartphone. This way, when you are waiting for someone or just have any free time, you can get in some school work, instead of playing solitaire. I also like to read ahead on the quizzes. By reading, and sometimes even writing down, some of the questions before I begin a new chapter I can keep an eye out for the answers. I do this all the time and I always keep those questions in the back of my mind. When I find the answer, I jot it down. This saves me from going back and rereading the chapters. I know some people only read the quizzes and then just skim through each chapter and answer the questions. If you can learn things that fast, by all means, do it. I am just not that type of person. I have to see the examples and do a few myself.

In the last few courses there are more than two books to use – there are three. So in each chapter there are requests to read a specific chapter in another workbook. To save time I go through each chapter and sticky note what lesson goes with what chapter and how many pages it is.

When you get lost or frustrated put a sticky note by it and come back to it later. Or put a sticky note and also email an instructor for help. I like to have at least 3 to 5 questions before I send an email. This way you are not sending a million emails back and forth. The instructors won’t mind, but I just feel that it’s easier to have multiple questions answered all at once. Plus, I am very impatient.

Here are a few more of my tips for saving time:

  • Set alarms on your phone for no more than two hours of studying. When the alrm goes off, take a break or work on a different task. Don’t get burnt out thinking you have to complete a course in one day.
  • Remember to still stick to your normal daily routine. Just add in study time where it fits – this will help you stay focused.
  • Keep your books or courses with you on the go, especially if you know you will be gone a while.
  • Use lots of sticky notes.
  • I like to section off my chapters with paperclips. Then when I am done with that chapter I clip all the chapters I have completed together. I enjoy seeing my accomplishments.
  • Highlight key words and the meanings.
  • Set a deadline for finishing each chapter and stick to your time goal.

I hope you’ve gotten a few new ideas on how to save time while studying. I hope you enjoy your week!

Finding the Good

By: Annie

annie-1-31In light of all the New Year’s resolutions I have set up for myself, I wanted to continue that sentiment with some more positive thoughts. I have stuck to every resolution I set forth for myself so far, which is more than I can say about previous years. I believe I’m doing so well because I am viewing my resolutions as life-changing and not just something I’m doing because the date happened to be January 1st.

My daily goal is to always find the good in every situation and be positive. The older I get, the more I realize that sometimes there are certain people or things in our lives that impede on our ability to find the good in life. Obviously, we are ultimately responsible for how we respond to situations and we also can’t go through life blaming other people for our bad attitudes, but there is something to be said about this idea.

I thought about it one day and tried to connect this concept to the medical field. I tend to use the terms negative and toxic interchangeably, so I will do that here. If we have something toxic in our body, the doctor’s first instinct is to find a way to remove that toxin from our body. If my gallbladder is causing my body harm, the doctor will remove it. If I have a suspicious mole, that too will be removed. Basically, anything that jeopardizes our physical health can be eradicated from our bodies in one way or another.

What a concept! Just like toxins or “negatives” can be removed from our bodies, we too can remove the negatives from our lives. I was always able to live a mostly positive life despite a lot of negatives I had dragging me down. Towards the end of 2016 and so far into 2017, I have removed many of these negatives and replaced them with positives. I am not sure what took me so long to realize that I don’t have to accept my life as it is; I have the power to change things that don’t agree with my goals and positive outlook. Whatever caused this realization, I am thankful for it! It has been so much easier to find the good and be happy.

My studies have been going well. I have been consistently working on transcriptions and learning the rules, but I have been sure to take my time to ensure I am learning everything I need to in order to be successful.

I hope your studies are also going well and if you have any New Year’s resolutions that you’ve been able to keep up with them as well. I also hope that you can eliminate any toxins from your life in order to find the good! It’s a great feeling.

My Greatest Strength

By: Jessica

Hi Everyone! I hope your weekend was as good as mine. I have gotten caught up on a lot of stuff I needed to do at home. But, unfortunately, I put my homework on the back burner once again. This is one of my biggest weaknesses – putting the same things on the back burner over and over again until it’s just not an option any longer and I have to tackle it head on, no matter what. My greatest strength, however, is accomplishing many things when there is little time to do so.

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It’s kind of like when you get that phone call that your family is coming over in less than an hour and you scramble though the whole house to get it looking like you clean your house every single day. I can tell you that I look like a suctioning tornado flying through my house when this happens, plus, I get one heck of a workout, too. But it gets done and then I don’t have to clean for another week. So, when I get the emails or the announcements from our instructors letting me know about Rewards Club, you can bet your tail that I am in full on crunch time. Cash for assignments? That’s something that will motivate me.

I know there are a lot of women like me who do their best when there is pressure on them. I’m not sure about the guys. Most of the men that I know like to be 30 minutes early to everything. So, tell me, what are your biggest strengths and what are your weaknesses? Make a list of each and see how you can use them to balance each other out. I find it is harder to write down my strengths because I’m my own worst critic. But dig deep – there are lots of strengths in each one of us. Try to make the list even. If you cannot come up with any of them on our own, ask your parents or even your spouse or a friend. I am sure they can give you a list.

When you make your list, start with your strongest strengths and work down from there. Post this somewhere you will see it daily, this will help build your confidence. Now as far as your weaknesses go, turn them into strengths by making sure that you work a little each day to turn them around make them a strength. This may sound crazy, but I can promise you at least one of the many interviews that you will go through, one question is going to be “what are your greatest strengths and what are some of your weaknesses?” Don’t be that person that stumbles and racks your brain for an answer. Knowing these things about yourself, and owning them, will come out as confidence in an interview. Plus, it will show that you know what you want and can make your own decisions without help from others.

Here is my list of strengths:

  • Pressure lists
  • Organization
  • Writing
  • Confidence
  • Interpersonal skills

I could go on, but I don’t want to seem like an overachiever – just kidding! Ok, go make those lists and share them in the comments if you want to inspire others!

Tackling Transcription

By: Annie

The thought of medical transcription has always been daunting to me. Like I divulged in an earlier post, my fear originated in Spanish class in high school when we would do listening exercises and I was absolutely horrible at them. Ever since then, the thought of trying to type or write something as someone was talking seemed like a sure-fail task for me.

As I’ve been working my way through Course 5 I’ve learned that maybe transcription isn’t quite as daunting as I first thought. In fact, keeping up and typing out the dictation was pretty simple for me. The medical terms were a bit more challenging, but just like medical billing and diagnostic and procedural coding, the more you practice and study the easier that becomes, too.

annie-2-18Instead of viewing transcription with a kind of trepidation I can only compare to someone who doesn’t know how to swim being thrown in the middle of a lake, I now look forward to working on my Practice Exercises and learning all the rules and exceptions. I also want to give a huge shout out to At-Home Professions for all the wonderful resources we are provided with to make this learning experience much less challenging than it could be.

The Transcription Reference Guide provided with the Course 5 materials has seriously been a life saver for me in this process. I use it constantly and not just one section of it; anything from the specific body area terms to the sample documents to the dangerous abbreviations and metric units. It has saved me so much time and frustration and I’m certain I will still utilize this great tool when I’m done with the program and out there working in the real world.

I’ve even added a few of my own notes and reminders on some of the pages. I was a little hesitant at first to write in it, but then I remembered that these tools are here to assist us in learning more efficiently. If it benefits me to add my own little comments and notes, then I should do exactly that! I would encourage everyone to analyze their learning style and pinpoint what little things help them learn better. Whether that is making notes like I do or using color coded hi-liters to distinguish between items like my sister does, find what works for you and do it!

Another tool I have been referencing a lot lately is the Anatomy and Physiology book. As I learn the transcription guidelines for each body section I also have that section open in the book and follow along. I see a lot of familiar terms and also some terms that are mentioned in the Practice Exercises. It just makes sense to me to utilize this tool, too.

I’m working on Quiz 33 at the moment so I have made some progress since I set forth my New Year’s resolution and goals last week. Hopefully another week and I’ll be able to say I made it further than last week! Happy studying to you!

Guilty Pleasures

By: Jessica

jessica-1-17Hi Everyone! Hope you have had a great weekend. I know some of us have had a long weekend. Today we are going to chat about our guilty pleasures. Do not even think about saying that you do not have one. Everyone has a guilty pleasure. But there is always a way to make something negative into a positive, no matter what it is.

So here is my list of guilty pleasures:

  1. Procrastinating
  2. Hitting the snooze button more than 3 times
  3. Facebook
  4. CHOCOLATE
  5. Not reading or following directions

Ok, so I know I have a lot of pleasures, but guess what? There is a way to make those guilty pleasures work for the good in me. They all tend to tie in together. So after you read this, or even while you are reading this, think about your guilty pleasures and how you can use them to motivate you, or change the negative to a positive.

I’m pretty sure everyone is going to be guilty of procrastination at one point or another in their life. I, for one, am that person that lets at least 5 or 6 things build up before I finally freak out and have to just jump up and get things done. Kind of like when you don’t want to clean your house, but once you get that phone call from a friend or relative that is coming over in 15 minutes you look like the Tasmanian devil running around cleaning everything in sight. Lately, since Christmas, this is how I have been with my assignments. And now, in the last week, I have been binge studying and I feel like my brain is bursting at the seams.

Now for the snooze button. I know what you are thinking, “How in the world can the snooze button can be a positive thing?” Well, to me, when I hit the snooze button it’s more like a timer to me. I still have to get out of bed but I have to do part of my workout before the alarm sounds again. Each alarm will only allow for snoozes with the same volume. So, you see it is a win-win. I get out of bed and I get my workout done and it holds me accountable for my workout!

The next one is Facebook. Let’s face it – Facebook is very addicting and not any good for us because I can literally look up and realize I have been on Facebook for over an hour. So, I use Facebook as a reward for getting a task done. Yes, I know I treat myself like a child, but when I am only 5 foot I am still kind of a kid, right? Same thing with chocolate; I use it as a reward and only in small doses because then the workouts and snooze would be a waste. The last one is not following directions. I use this as a lesson learned or bragging rights. Usually I have to go through and redo something and if I don’t the project ends up as a big mess. So, in conclusion, turn your guilty pleasures into a positive today! Where there is a will, there is a way.

New Year, New Goals, New Me

By: Annie

I can’t believe 2016 is behind us! It was a very busy, full year that held some pretty big ups and downs in my life. I went from working 60+ hours out of the home to only working 15 hours a week and spending the remainder of my time with my sweet daughter. Life went from being all about me to being all about her and I am so thankful for her. She is the reason I started the Healthcare Documentation Specialist program through At-Home Professions.

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While I feel I made some great strides in my personal and professional life in 2016, there are always improvements that can be made. I try to continually monitor my goals and progress and make any necessary changes as I go, but it seems like the New Year is a great time to really take a more meticulous look at things. I did that the other day and I am ready for 2017 with a brand new list of goals and dreams.

  • Finish Course 5: I had high hopes to be done before 2017 came around, but as always, life seemed to get in the way of that. I was actually stuck (literally!) at my aunt’s home over Christmas break because we got a winter storm and a nice little gift of 22 inches of snow! Because I’ve learned to not stress over things out of my control, I let it go and decided I would just tackle the rest of the course when I was able to!
  • Enjoy every moment: This mostly has to do with my daughter and all of her little milestones she’s been hitting, but I also want to try and do this in all aspects of my life. A good job at my current job, a nice cup of coffee, watching my brother play basketball, visiting with my grandma – I could go on and on. I want to focus on living in the moment and enjoying it all!
  • Find a career: Once I finish the program I am hoping to begin working right away. I’ve been looking for different jobs on the Internet and I have found some promising leads, so when the time is right I will apply and begin contributing to my family like I want to.
  • Be healthier: After I had my daughter, the baby weight didn’t come off as easily as I thought it would. I started dieting in October and have lost a decent amount of weight so far, but now my focus is to be healthier so I have started running and lifting weights again. I made myself a goal to start with a 5K this year and eventually I want to complete a triathlon. When I feel better about myself, everything else seems to go better too.
  • Surround myself with positive people: I know this isn’t always in our control, but I am going to make sure that 2017 is full of positive relationships. If there are people in my life that are negative, I will make it my goal to cheer them up. Life is just too short to be anything but happy, right?

We got another snowstorm last night, so I am stuck inside today again. I will be working my tail off to get Course 5 finished, so hopefully I will have big progress to share with you all next week! Happy studying and setting New Year goals for yourself!

Winter Bucket List

By: Jessica

Hi everyone! Hope the week has been nice to you so far. Has everyone been staying on their new resolutions? Well I haven’t – not at all. Two days into it I fell off the wagon. But that is ok, I keep jumping on and off. I am getting my exercise by jumping on and off, right? Well, enough about resolutions. I have disliked our Winter so far because here in Michigan it has been super cold, but without the snow to enjoy. I want to get out of the house and not hibernate. I feel like I miss out on a lot of fun when I am not out and about. So, I have decided to create a Winter bucket list. By making this bucket list, I am hoping that having a visual “to-accomplish” list will help me get out of the house more. Also, I am hoping it will help me accomplish some other things I have been striving to do!

jessica-1-9Have you ever wanted to do something and just never got around to it? Whether it be a trip, going on a cruise or something else – what is holding you back? Is it money? Is it family members? Whatever the reason, there is always a solution if you want something bad enough!

Winter Bucket List:

  • Build a snowman standing on his head
  • Go camping
  • Go for a hike after it snows
  • Make snow angels
  • Make homemade hot chocolate
  • Build a ginger bread house, but make it a beach house
  • Rent a cabin in the woods
  • Sit in a jacuzzi in the snow
  • Build a snow fort
  • Invite friends over for snowball fight
  • Learn to knit
  • Bake cookies for a neighbor
  • Go sledding
  • Roast hotdogs over an open fire
  • Go ice skating
  • Make snow ice cream
  • Make a construction paper chain for summer
  • Catch up on homework

I guess there is a lot of stuff to do in the Winter. If you are like me, you have to visually see your list of things to do. I forget too much – and the feeling of crossing something off my list is the best feeling ever. Just remember to keep your priorities in check while you are creating a bucket list and enjoying your Winter. I have fallen behind in my studies after Christmas, but now that things have slowed down I have a game plan to get back on track and make this my year to get my certificate – no excuses! I even have a backup plan if I start giving myself excuses. I have called on a friend to keep me on track. My instructor has sent me a message about once every few weeks to see how I am doing, and if I am on track. Another perk of getting your schooling from At-Home Professions is the messaging feature with instructors. So, get those bucket lists made and enjoy the slow season!