Oxytocin Battles Stress

Three Things I Hate: Stress, Rejection, Worrying – Part 1 Stress

I’m not a social psychologist, but I know how to research a subject on the internet,
and I decided to learn about what the experts say about three things I hate, but are
a huge part of my daily life, feeling stressed, dealing with rejection, and worrying.

My first article in this series will deal with stress.

Part 1 – Stress

Stress is defined as “changes our body and mind experience in response to a
continually changing environment, something you can’t control; for example, traffic.
You can’t control traffic; you can control attorneys talking at the same time or too
fast to a certain extent, but a full day of telling people to talk one at a time is
stressful, and often the court reporter doesn’t have control.

What I discovered in my research is if we adjust ourselves to different circumstances,
stress can actually help us, or hinder us, depending on how we react to it.  When we are
stressed we secrete cortisol/adrenaline, fear or flight hormones.  As a working court
reporter and firm owner, I have relied on adrenaline to write faster and get things done.
I felt being “hyped up” was the way to be most effective.  I start with a double
cappuccino every morning to get my adrenal glands pumping.  But after 40 years, my energy
level is not as strong, and as a consequence I have hypothyroidism and have to take
Synthroid medication.

But, in my research, I learned about a relatively new scientific fact that is incredibly
great.  Oxytocin, the “love hormone” can physiologically battle the harmful effects of stress,
and it is pumped out simultaneously with adrenaline.

What scientists used to believe is oxytocin would only be produced by a mother breastfeeding
her child to help bond with her child.

Physiologically, when we are stressed our arteries get tighter.  Our heart beats faster, We
start breathing more, getting oxygen into our blood cells, which is a good thing, but that
tightening of the arteries is what’s really dangerous.  Oxytocin actually widens the
arteries allowing more blood flow.

The question is:  How do you get oxytocin to secrete in your body? Have you ever noticed when
you are stressed you want to reach out to a friend, confidante, someone you can talk to and
connect with?  When you do connect, you pump out oxytocin.

Personally, when I am stressed out about work or life in general, I look to talk to my husband
or trusted friends.  Just talking dissipates the “flight or fright” feeling.

The lesson is when you are stressed out, talk to a friend and connect – pump out your oxytocin.
Your arteries will open up, and your body will thank you.  Oxytocin = resilience.

Advice from the experts:  Think of your adrenals as a built-in pump, something that gets you
going when you feel that adrenaline rush.  Stop saying, “I am stressed,” but think of yourself as
being in a situation that is giving you stress.  It’s not you.  It’s not your body.  It’s the
situation.  Be curious.  Ask, “Why every single time I am in this situation I get so stressed
out?”  And start your oxytocin pump.

 

Twitter: @rosaliekramm

Setting Goals and Winning

7 Tips for Achieving Your Goals – Attorneys, Paralegals, Court Reporters

I have found reading different experts’ opinions on how to achieve goals to be extremely helpful in not only my writing steno as a court reporter, but in running my business.  The San Diego Union Tribune published one of the best articles I have ever read under their “SUCCESS” column, “Getting to the Goal,” by Marcel Schwantes.

Schwantes cites research performed at the University of Scranton which found that 92 percent of people who set New Year’s goals never achieve them.  Not achieving goals that you mindfully made and set out to achieve, only to fail, is disheartening.  The question is, what do the 8 percent of people who do achieve their goals do differently?

Schwantes’ 7 Tips:

1. Begin with the end in mind.  Write out your goal and then create a roadmap on how to achieve the goal including the sub-goals you need to achieve and the resources that will get you there.

2. Build a support system around you.  Build a network of experts who care about your success in reaching your goals, including friends and colleagues.  Super successful people surround themselves with mentors, coaches, and other successful people in different industries that are like-minded and have a similar desire for greatness.

3. Set specific and challenging goals.  Researchers Edwin Locke and Gary Latham found that when people set specific and challenging goals, it led to higher performance.  For example, if you want to lose 25 pounds by the end of the year, maybe in September you will go on a sugar-free diet for 10 days and in October train to run a 10-K in November.  With clarity, you have a better chance of success.

4. Recognize when you are procrastinating.  Schwantes suggests:  A) Have clearly prioritized to-do lists, schedules, and time frames.  B) Work back from your deadlines to know how long you need and when to get started so you don’t finish late.  C) Focus on one task at a time.

5. Practice the 52 and 17 Rule.  Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, co-authors of “Peak Performers,” found that adopting the rule of 52 minutes of work and 17 minutes of rest creates an environment for peak performance.

6. Listen to music for focus.  I love this one, and I believe it is absolutely true.  Schwantes suggests the key is to experiment first and find suitable music that helps you focus.  Coffitivity is an app that provides background noise that emulates the ambient sounds of a café.  I think we all have found music to be a great way to keep our energy up.

7. Don’t multitask.  Schwantes says, “The most successful people are patient and avoid juggling many things.”  Research has shown that multitasking can be DAMAGING to your brain.

My goal is to choose one of the goals that I truly want to achieve and mindfully apply these seven steps.  I am excited to start, because I believe I will WIN at the end, and I wish for all of my friends and colleagues to WIN as well.  Let’s go for it!

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Court Reporters = Stamina

5 Tips for Building Mental Stamina (Attorneys, Paralegals, Court Reporters)

Great attorneys, court reporters, videographers, and paralegals all perform in their jobs at the highest level and can get far on their raw ability, but as Robert E. Corb, Ph.D, the Director of Sports Psychology Program at UCLA in the article “5 Tips for Building Mental Stamina” points out, “What separates the truly elite from the rest is that they know how to use their minds.”

Professionals in the legal field need mental stamina to deal with quick deadlines, expedites, and many hours of focused inquiry and writing.  Corb suggests the following tips to build mental stamina:

1. Think Positively:  “Self-confidence is the most important mental characteristic that athletes (legal professionals) need,” says Corb.  We’ve all seen highly-skilled athletes who    lose their self-confidence fall apart.

How do you get more self-confidence?  Corb urges people to listen to what they’re telling themselves.  “If you keep saying, ‘I’ll never be able to do this,’” before a speed test or jury trial, “then you won’t be able to do it. If you say something enough to yourself, you’ll make it come true.”

I think we all have heard the advice, “act as if.”  The experts suggest that you replace the negative thoughts with positive thoughts on a conscious level, and in time interrupting    the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones will have a real effect on what you want to succeed at.

2. Use Visualization: “Some athletes use visualization right before a game to practice mentally,” says David Geier, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon and Director of Sports Medicine at the   Medical University of South Carolina.  “A basketball player might close her eyes and think what a free throw will look like.”  Visualization can give you a mental space to rehearse.
Corb also says, “I tell people to visualize past achievements.  It’s almost like a highlight reel that you play back in your mind.  Focus on times you felt really good, and remember  that feeling.  It can give you a real boost.”

3. Plan for Setbacks:  As an attorney you might lose a client, and as a court reporter in school you might not pass a speed test you thought you were ready for.  These things happen.   Corb suggests, “One of the things that separates elite athletes is their ability to hold up after a setback.  They don’t spiral out of control.”  How can you regain your confidence  when things go wrong?  “You need to practice techniques to re-center yourself,” Corb says.  Athletes use different methods to become re-centered:  a sequence of stretches, a  positive mantra they repeat to themselves, a specific song they play in their head or iPod; 30 seconds of deep breathing. The experts say to have a plan in place so you know what to  do when the pressure mounts.

4. Manage Stress:  “Not all stress is bad,” says Geier.  “The fight or flight response can push you harder during an athletic competition.”  Corb points out, “Positive stress  (excitement) and negative stress (anxiety) really have the same physical effects.  Your heart rate and breathing go up.  Your pupils dilate.”  Use excitement to get amped up, but if  it is tipping you into panic, that’s bad.  It is up to you how you interpret the “stress.”
5. Sleep More:  Studies have shown that getting enough sleep can improve reaction time and split second decision making.  (7 to 9 hours a night is the goal.)
Develop a Plan to Build Your Mental Stamina

Mental stamina is a skill.  Building your mental stamina takes practice, and the experts say to have a plan.  Building mental stamina will have a tremendous benefit for your life.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Court Reporters and Legal Videographers Sync Time

Court Reporters – Legal Videographers: How to Change Time in Windows 10 for Syncing

Court reporters working with legal videographers need to sync time before every deposition so that they can provide a transcript with timestamps that match the time on the video that is created by the videographer’s camera’s date/time generator. Videographers have told me that most of the reporters they work with do not know how to change time on their laptops, especially if they are on Windows 10, so the videographers change the time on their cameras.  But I think it is a good idea for the court reporter to know how to change time as well.

There are two problems with changing time on Windows 10. First, it is not obvious or user friendly how to make the change.  Second, Windows 10 does not allow for seconds to be displayed unless you download additional non-Microsoft, third-party software, for example, T-Clock Redux or TClockEx. (I have not vetted either product.)

The first problem is easily dealt with if you follow Method One or Method Two to access the date/time:

Method One:

  1. Right click on the Time on the bottom right-hand side of your computer
  2. Click on Adjust Date/Time.
  3. Click Change under Change Date/Time.

Method Two:

  1. Change date and time in PC settings. Access PC setting by going to Start and clicking on PC settings
  2. Open Time & Language. You will reach the same window as in No. 3 above.

There are two ways to solve the second problem, not being able to set seconds.

    1. I change my time to be the closer choice to the videographer’s time. For example, if the videographer says it is 9:24 and 14 seconds, I would change my time to be 9:24. But if the videographer says it is 9:24 and 48 seconds, I would change my time to be 9:25
    2. Change the time to be whatever the videographer’s next minute is on his/her camera. The videographer has to count down to the minute, and then you hit enter, which can seem like a long time if the countdown is from 10 seconds.(I typically choose No. 1 to solve the problem unless the videographer’s camera is almost on the minute. My personality doesn’t sit well with waiting 45 seconds with my finger hovering over the Enter button. I have things to do getting ready for a deposition to begin.)

The main goal of this article is to let court reporters and videographers understand one issue that only comes up in Windows 10 that we need to think through in order to sync time and create the best product for our clients.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Important Documents

How Long Do We Have to Save Important Documents?

I was reading a great article put out by Consumer Reports on how long and why certain documents need to be kept and thought it would be beneficial to court reporters, attorneys, all legal professionals.  It is suggested that you categorize your documents in four ways:  Papers you need to keep for a calendar year or less; papers you can destroy when you no longer own the item; tax records; papers you need indefinitely.

Category 1 – Papers to Keep for the current calendar year (or less):

1.  ATM, credit card, and bank deposit receipts – reconcile with monthly statement and then shred
2.  Keep insurance policies and investment statements until new ones arrive

Category 2 – Papers to keep for a year or more:

1.  Keep loan documents until the loan is paid off
2.  Hold onto vehicle titles until the vehicle is sold
3.  For stocks/bonds, keep investment purchase confirmation until you sell the investment unless that info appears on your statement (in order to establish your cost basis and holding period).
4.  Receipts for home improvement (help offset capital gain taxes when the property is sold)

Category 3 – Taxes:

1.  Keep records seven years.  (If you fail to report more than 25 percent of your gross income on your taxes, the IRS has six years to collect from you.)

Category 4 – Papers to keep indefinitely

1.  Military discharge papers
2.  Birth certificate
3.  Estate planning documents
4.  Life insurance policies
5.  Social security card
6.  Marriage certificate
7.  Inventory of your bank deposit box

Michelle Crouch, Personal Financial Writer states, “The IRS considers electronic documents as good as paper. Just make sure you encrypt the files and store backup copies on a USB flash drive, a CD, a DVD, a portable hard drive or with a web-based storage service.

Tanza Loudenback, Business Insider writes, “Anything with an original signature or a raised seal needs to be kept in its original condition:

  • Birth certificates
  • Citizenship papers
  • Custody agreement
  • Deeds and titles
  • Divorce certificate
  • Loan/mortgage paperwork
  • Major debt repayment records
  • Marriage license
  • Military records
  • Passport
  • Powers of attorney
  • Stock certificates
  • Wills and living wills

One of my personal goals for 2018 is being more organized than ever, and knowing what documents I need to physically keep, what I am allowed to save in an electronic format , and what I can throw away eases my mind so that I don’t worry about not doing the right thing in saving important papers.

 

Court Reporters and Attorneys look for work life balance

Finding Work Life Balance – Attorneys and Court Reporters

If one decides to live a better life with work life balance and Googles, “How to achieve work life balance,” one would get over 150,000 hits with advice from psychologists, life coaches, and a myriad of other types of people.

After studying the question, and reading a ton of articles, I finally found the answer. Ready?  Work life balance is a myth.  It is impossible to achieve.  There is no such thing, and many people will beat themselves up trying to find the perfect balance.

I believe many attorneys and court reporters can easily work too much, not take care of their bodies, put off family and friends, having fun, until a more convenient time when there is no expedited transcript or hundreds of pages to scope.   When will that time come?  When you’re old?  Infirmed?  Exhausted?

The experts all agree there are five spheres of life that we have to focus on: HEALTH, WORK, FUN, FAMILY, FRIENDS.  If we don’t give energy to any one of these, our life is not fulfilled.  The experts also say that the key is to integrate all five spheres into your life NOW, to not wait, but use the whole of our workday, home life, and be mindful.

HEALTH SPHERE: We cannot put off taking care of our bodies.  Our bodies are fantastic, and we need to respect and take care of ourselves.   The experts all agree it is important to start off the day with a healthy breakfast.  Super busy people have a habit of not eating (no time) until they are so hungry that chips and junk food seem like a perfect solution.  Plan your meals.  Create a quick, healthy lunch routine.

Did you know you can do yoga in your chair? Attorneys and court reporters sit more than probably any other profession.  If you Google “Chair yoga,” you will be shocked how many great videos there are that show us how we can do simple stretching exercises while at our machines, and they’re not weird yoga poses.  The attorneys will never know you are exercising and stretching.

Exercise doesn’t have to be training for a marathon. It can be a walk around the block.

WORK SPHERE: Attorneys talk super fast.  The seven-hour rule is more like nine hours.  Depositions can go from 9:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. easily.  Expedites can come at us any moment like sniper fire.  Some things we cannot control. BUT there are attorneys and reporters who are using their jobs to enjoy life.  When traveling for a deposition, find time to enjoy where you are, even if it is just for an hour.  Your body and brain deserves to enjoy.

When talking about work life, the advice that came up over and over again was organization. Having an organized office, desk, home, and team allows your brain to relax.  When I talk about “organized team,” I mean to be ready with a scopist, back-up scopist, proofreader, housekeeper, gardener, Uber driver, whatever it takes to allow you to do what you do best and make money.

Multitasking has become a big part of our work life because of email, smart phones, and constant information coming at us. BUT multitasking is incredibly bad if you are striving for any type of balance.   In one recent study, Russell Poldrack, a psychology professor at UCLA found that “multitasking adversely affects how you learn.  Even if you learn while multitasking, that learning is less flexible and more specialized, so you cannot retrieve the information as easily.”  People use different parts of the brain for learning and storing new information, and when people are multitasking, the brain scans show people using the part of the brain called the striatum, a region of the brain involved in learning new skills; brain scans of people who are not distracted show activity in the hippocampus, a region involved in storing and recalling information.  Poldrack warns, “We have to be aware that there is a cost to the way that our society is changing; that humans are not built to work this way.  We’re really built to focus.  And when we force ourselves to multitask, we are less efficient in the long run.”

FAMILY SPHERE: Improve family life balance. Don’t be afraid to unplug. Create and stick to a daily routine. Make time for yourself. You need your own time. Take your vacation. Be present. Be consistent. Be accountable. Never feel guilty about taking time for yourself or for taking a vacation. Enjoy every minute. Notice the beauty around you and breathe.

FRIENDS SPHERE: Friends are important. Keep in contact. Don’t keep score. In other words, don’t think, “I invited her over last time. It is her turn to invite me over.” Be loyal. In other words, don’t tell others what your friends have trusted you to know. Remember their birthdays. Deal with any conflict. Be a fan and want for your friends to succeed. Live in the moment. Follow the golden rule. Friends are quality, not quantity.

FUN SPHERE: Find fun wherever, whenever you can. Use music in the morning to help wake you up. Dance in your room. Sing in the shower. Laugh at your pets’ antics. You are allowed to have fun all of the time – so let yourself.

Integration is the key to success

Being off-balance is good for you

Embrace opportunities at all times

Protect your time – Don’t waste time

Learn to say “Let me think about it…” Then think.

Kramm Court Reporting is committed to finding balance and supporting our clients and the reporters we work with in finding their work life balance.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arbitration conference room - Kramm Court Reporting

11 TASKS THAT PARALEGALS CAN DELEGATE TO COURT REPORTING FIRM

Paralegals oftentimes are the engine that keeps a law firm running.  They are incredibly efficient with time, resources, and know how to delegate
important tasks that need to be done correctly in an expedited manner.  Kramm Court Reporting looks for opportunities to support our paralegal clients.

Below are 11 of the most common tasks that paralegals can rely on a court reporting firm to complete:

1. Find and reserve a conference room anywhere worldwide

2. Set up interpreters

3. Recommend process servers in the area to process deposition subpoenas

4. Provide a common calendar for parties including location, witness name, time, noticing party

5. Organize exhibits and pre-assign exhibit numbers for cases with multi-track depositions

6. Arrange for videographers and the syncing of transcripts

7. Provide suggested language for notices to include video and real-time transcription

8. Archive errata sheets of witnesses’ changes and signature

9. Set up mobile videoconference (MVC) depositions/trial testimony worldwide

10. Set up teleconference depositions with access numbers supplied to all parties

11. Coordinate standing orders of rough drafts, real-time with iPads, synced transcripts, et cetera

It is a pleasure to support our clients and help paralegals coordinate deposition services.  If you would like to learn more about setting up
a mobile videoconference or best practices for teleconference depositions, please read our articles found below or contact me, Rosalie@kramm.com.

Tricks and Tips for Telephonic Depositions

Five Tips for Successful International Mobile Videoconference Depositions

How Paralegals and Legal Secretaries Can Benefit From Having Exhibits in the Cloud

Tips for Videoconferencing Depositions and Trial Testimony

Sample Notice Language for Video and Real-Time Depositions

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Deposition Arbitration Room

ATTORNEYS – 8 ADMONITIONS FOR DEPOSITIONS

As a court reporter, I have sat through thousands of depositions and heard thousands of variances on the admonitions attorneys give the witness at the beginning of a deposition.  Many attorneys have a checklist that they use so as to not forget any particular admonition.  These eight admonitions are the most common:
1. All testimony is under oath just as if the witness were testifying in a court of law.  Penalty of perjury laws apply.

2. Answers need to be audible, no shakes of the head, shoulder shrugs.  “Uh-huh” and “huh-huh” are difficult to interpret in a written form.

3. Witnesses may estimate, should not guess.  (Example:  How much change is in my pocket? = Guess.  How much change is in your pocket? = Estimate)

4. Everything that is said is being taken down by the court reporter verbatim, unless everyone agrees to go off the record.

5. You will have an opportunity to read/sign the deposition transcript and make corrections you believe are necessary.

6. Allow question and any objections to be stated before you speak.  The court reporter cannot take down more than one person speaking at the same time.  Otherwise, the record will be jumbled, and the questions and answers will be disjointed.   Pause before answering so counsel have a chance to object to a question.

7. Objections are for the record.  Unless your counsel instructs you not to answer, you are to answer.  The judge will later decide what questions and answers will be allowed in future proceedings.

8. Breaks are allowed.

________________________________________________________________________________

Admonitions that might bring objections or waive Federal Code provision:

1. You must answer a question that is pending before being allowed to take a break.

2. You will have a chance later to read/sign transcript; but if changes are made, and they are substantive, that can reflect poorly at trial on your being truthful while at the deposition.  (Court reporters are taught that if this admonition is given in a deposition that falls within the Federal Rules, Rule 30 comes into play, and the witness will have the right to read/sign.)

In another related article, we discuss Witnesses Unintentionally Waive Right to Read/Sign Under Federal Rules.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

 

Avoid Cyber Attacks

Law Firms Beware – Ransomware: 9 Tips to Avoid Cyber Attack

Upon listening to a panel of cybersecurity experts, I came to the conclusion that law firms and court reporting firms are vulnerable to the most prevalent cyber attack, ransomware.  Ransomware is defined as “a type of malicious software that is designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.” Many times, the currency used to pay the ransom is Bitcoin.

Advice given by the experts includes these 9 tips to avoid a ransomware cyber attack:

1. Regularly update your Windows, Mac, Linus software especially when the update is security related.

2. Install antivirus software and keep it up-to-date to block emerging malware.

3. Be wary of suspicious emails and pop-ups.  What is suspicious?

  • Look at email address of the sender to see if it is coming from a legitimate email.
  • Look for obvious typos and grammatical errors in the body of the email.
  • Hover over hyperlinks and see if it would direct you to a suspicious web page.
  • Banks, doctors, the IRS will never ask you to send sensitive information like your SS number.

4. Often pop-ups windows that advertise software products that remove malware have ransomware in the pop-up ready to attack.  Don’t click through to learn more or download these products.

5. If you are a victim of ransomware, immediately disconnect your computer from the internet, and then report the crime to law enforcement.  Seek help from a technology professional who specializes in data recovery to see what your options might be.

6. Look into purchasing cybersecurity insurance.

7. If you are storing your data offsite with a third-party vendor (colo site), ask them if they have cybersecurity insurance.  (The answer should be yes.)  Ask your vendor to add your firm as an additional insured on the policy.

8. Educate your personnel on not opening suspicious emails or pop-ups, “But the dancing bunny was so cute… I clicked on it.”

9. Don’t allow personnel to check personal email from their workstation or have their smart phone, personal computer, or other devices connected to their workstation.

Along with following these above steps in our offices, Kramm Court Reporting has taken steps to protect sensitive data that we have online including having our Case 24/7 repository be SSA 16 compliant and having our backup locations encrypted over VPNs, and SSL certificates are used. If you are one of our clients, you can be assured that we have proactively done and continue to do everything we can to protect your information from these attacks.

In another related article, we discuss How Paralegals + Legal Assistants Can Benefit from Court Reporting Technology in the Cloud.

 

@rosaliekramm  (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)

Deposition Arbitration Room

How Paralegals + Legal Assistants Can Benefit from Court Reporting Technology in the Cloud

Having worked with many law firms throughout my career in the court reporting industry, I have found that leveraging technology is a powerful way to save a tremendous amount of time and create efficiencies. Using a cloud-based, cyber secure calendaring system and repository allows 24/7/365 access to vital, time sensitive information and documents.

The following services are ways paralegals, legal assistants, and attorneys can utilize cloud-based technology:

1.  Online repository that houses transcripts and exhibits/notices/correspondence for all of your law firm’s cases. For security purposes, check to ensure the repository is SSA 16 compliant as well as the backup locations offsite are encrypted over VPNs and SSL certificates are used.

2.  Mobile app that gives the same access to the transcripts/exhibits/correspondence with the same cyber secure benefits mentioned in Item 1.

3.  Online calendar that shows all of your calendared hearings, depositions, and trials. You do not have to worry whether or not a matter is on the court reporting company’s calendar or if the time/location are correct. Just go online and check.

4.  The calendar would also be available on a mobile app and includes Mapquest directions.

5.  Invoices and Statements: You can check and see if an invoice was paid by logging in or checking the mobile app.

For more information or to learn about our cloud-based technology (Case 24/7), please call us at 800.939.0080.  We would love to work with you.

@rosaliekramm (Twitter)

Kramm Court Reporting (Facebook)