Free-lancing offers a wide range of advantages as well as a certain degree of freedom which we translators are unwilling to lay aside. However, working for your self is not always easy. It’s hard to stay on the ball throughout the day, if not the whole night as well, and this impacts on the quality of your translation work. In this article, we offer five tips to help you work efficiently without losing your head and above all, to help you grow in your profession.
#1 Organize yourself: make a to do list
The first thing to do is to set the number of working hours you should not exceed. Work 8 hours per day, for example, and no more. Even if you finish your translation. Organize your work based on your efficiency: for example, you can spend 6 hours translating first, then do a couple of hours of admin at the end of the day. Always draw up your to do list the night before, using your schedule for the next day.
#2 Avoid distractions
When working at home, one is often tempted by small distractions, particularly the phone or the fridge, which beckon you enticingly from the next room. So turn off your mobile or put it in another room. Set yourselves times to eat. You will be much more effective if you work 2 hours continuously, instead of 3 hours in which you send a few messages, read a couple of articles on your smartphone, or trot over to the fridge looking for a snack.
#3 Give yourself breaks
When you start a translation project, it´s often the case that you want to finish it as quickly as possible to be able to move on to the next task. But you need to know how to take your time. Give yourself some real breaks, try to switch off for a moment or so, relax and take your eyes off the screen. This will allow you to be more effective and put a bit of distance between you and the work you’re doing. And remember: the secret to productivity and efficiency is not to work more, but to work better.
#4 Ensure you have a pleasant working environment
In order to ensure that your work is both productive and pleasurable, it is essential to get the choice of your workplace just right. You should feel comfortable. Go for bright and airy rooms. Do not skimp on comfort and the ergonomics of your workstation. Also, there are many cafes or working spaces you can rent by the day or week, to provide you with both coffee and generally a very good Internet connection.
#5 Love what you do
Steve Jobs’ famous quote on this point clearly summarizes why it is as necessary as it is effective to enjoy what you do: “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”
So what about you? What advice can you share with us?
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