One of the most rewarding things about life as a professional translator is the ability to freelance. Of course, freelancing poses its own set of challenges—time management being one of them. We offered you Five Time Management Secrets Every Professional Translator Should Know a while back, but since there is no such thing as too many time management secrets, here are five more for added inspiration.
5 More Time Management Secrets for Translators
- The Dreaded Deeds. Perhaps the greatest enemy of time management is the Dreaded Deed. Why? Because you put it/them off. The procrastination builds, making DDs that much more dreaded. In the back of your mind, you continually fret about DDs which means now you're stressed (which we'll deal with in Number 2). Stress makes us maniacs. You're doing one task while subconsciously stressing about the DD, meaning you make mistakes on Task One, adding more time for corrections, and still the DDs loom ahead. Fear not, there is a solution:
Take 10-15 minutes per day to deal with a dreaded deed. It's only 20-25% of an entire hour. You can handle that. Set a timer if that helps. You may surprise yourself by becoming so absorbed you end up complete the task sooner than you anticipated. If you don't finish, you'll be making good headway. Your mind can rest easy knowing you'll continue taking care of the DD for 10-15 more manageable minutes tomorrow, which further reduces your stress. And now you can focus completely on your work, avoiding unnecessary errors. It's Win-Win-Win.
- Stress Management. It might not seem like stress management would have much to do with time management tips. However, they are directly related. Stress causes biochemical reactions in your body. These actually alter how you function. For example, stress affects your ability to focus. Your memory becomes clouded and it's harder to access information you already know (anyone who suffers from test anxiety is familiar with this). Thus, stress hampers work performance; it takes you longer to complete tasks, you're more prone to making errors as a response to memory lapses and keyed up adrenaline, and this can cause you to start skipping from one task to the next since you can't focus properly.
Additionally, stress causes headaches and compromises the immune system, which leads to sick days and work pileup. The better you are able to manage stress, via exercise, breath work, organization, spending time outdoors and yes - time management tips - the more productive you will be.
- List-of-Things-To-Do. The key is to make an effective to-do-list. In order to get off to a productive start in the a.m., make a solid list-of-things-to-do the night before. Added bonus: you'll probably sleep better at night (see #5). Life Hacker says it best, "Think of your to-do list as an instruction set your Boss self gives your Assistant self". It needs to be concise and to-the-point. Things on the list should to be prioritized, in small increments, with specific instructions.
- Minimize Distractions. Turn off your phone (gasp!), close your email window (NO!), Log off Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest accounts (Seriously?!?), and hang the "Do-Not-Disturb sign. Yes. The first hour is rough, but then - - aaaaah, you remember what a peaceful life was like. And talk about focus!
- Sleep. Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter. It causes accidents, lack of focus, and can dumb you down. Need we say more? Do what it takes to develop healthy sleep habits and your time management skills will improve.
As luck would have it, time management and productivity are birds of a feather. Your successful time management skills will increase your productivity and profitability.