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Self discipline and a lot of translation work

Hi! How are you?
I hope you are doing great and enjoying the blessings of this wonderful season. Autumn is a wonderful time of the year.

In February, I wrote a blog post about having little work. Today I'd like to share my recent lessons about having a lot of work. Pretty much all throughout October I was literally swamped in work. So I'd like to share some things I've learned throughout this month.
1) Project management is important. I don't own any special tool. I am used to writing project information on a piece of paper and keeping it in front of my computer. On this little piece of paper I have the name of the project, the client, and the deadline. As soon as the project is done, I cross it out.
Besides, I have a separate Excel file. I use it mainly for payment purposes. There I put the name of the client, the PO number or the name of the file, volume and payment information and a separate column for the project deadline, invoice deadline and where I later mark the file as "paid" after I get the payment. I also use three different colours: orange means the file that hasn't been finished yet, pink means that the file has been sent and I am waiting for the payment, and green means that the work has been paid.
However, I have found out that sometimes it is not enough. I had two cases when I forgot to send the files. I finished them on time, but never sent them until my clients wrote to me and said that they didn't see any translated files in their inboxes! Poor clients, please once again receive my apologies. I'll do my best not to repeat this mistake! I have made up my mind to use a planner on my mobile phone to remind me when it is time to send the file. Hope it will help my memory. :)
2) Getting up early really helps! Throughout October, I rarely woke up later than 6 a.m. and went to bed no later than 11:30 p.m. Waking up early gave me some quiet time to quickly check my email, schedule my tweets, write down the list of priorities for the day and do some translation work.
3) Keep the list of priorities. I try to make this list every day to make sure I remember to send all the files that are due for this day and don't forget any other important family events or just things I need to do.
3) Get enough sleep. I figured that staying up late and then getting up early makes me feel sleepy, stupid and I become super-forgetful. Besides, it ruins my immune system. After I have lived like that for about a week I usually fall ill. So I have no less than 7 hours of sleep every day and I may take a nap during the day if I feel I need it.
4) Don't forget to get enough excercise! We all know that sitting in front of a computer for several hours is not good for the body. Doing some physical exercises helps me stay fit and feel better.
5) Besides, some exercises for your eyes won't hurt either! I also take some special vitamins for my eyes which help me a lot.
6) Take regular breaks. To be honest, I am very bad at that. But I am working on it. 5-10 minute break won't make much difference in your schedule, but it will make a huge difference for your mind and body.
6) If you feel that this amount of work is wearing you down, maybe it's time to think about a partner, or even a team! I am thinking about it now, as I see the amount of my work steadily increasing. I already have two fellow translators who specialize in the same fields and are willing to work in a team. That way we can divide big projects and do them faster. Besides, we can proofread one another's work to make sure it is perfect. But right now there are still some issues that I am not sure about. Until they are all solved I can't market our team services. If you are already working with a partner or in a team, please feel free to share your experience! I'd be happy to learn from you!
7) If you don't have a partner or a team, and you get a new project that can't fit into your schedule, you may want to recommend a colleague to your client, because your health is more important than any money you could earn with this new assignment. Of course, in order to do that you need to build some network of trusted freelance translators. You can do that with the help of social media, or maybe you know some good local translators who need some work.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Thanks for the post, Olga! I know the problem very well. Somehow my workload is constantly increasing, and I've already started forming a team. But for the time being I can share only relatively easy assignments with them.

  3. Dear Olga, thank you for the comment! Good to know that I'm not alone :) Hope you wouldn't mind if we talk more about working in a team. I'll Skype you, ok?

  4. Great post, Olga. 10x a lot!
    I am really bad at taking breaks and closing the laptop earlier than 1 a.m. though I know for sure scheduling periods for work and rest is highly important and makes the life easier.
    Children do help with scheduling, don't they? :)
    Maybe that's my last hope to get proper time management habits :)


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