Skip to main content

Work-life balance: my confession

'Balance' photo (c) 2008, DirkJan Ranzijn - license: I know I've blogged about it at least a couple times already, but I guess it's time to remind my dear readers and myself that no matter how much you love what you do, you need a balance in your life. Remember this post in Mox's blog called Metamorphosis of a too-busy translator? Have you experienced those times of having so much work that you hardly have time for anything else?
I sure have. In fact, I just came out of this translation feast time when I had to get up at about 4:30 a.m. every day and went to bed around midnight; otherwise my work wasn't going as fast as needed. When I initially agreed to take those projects I thought I negotiated the deadlines pretty well. But later I figured out it was a mistake. So why did I make this mistake?

Well, it's because I am still getting used to my daughter's school schedule. The kindergarten she used to attend was just 1-2 minutes' walk from our house, but it takes us about 20 minutes to get to her school now. Not too long, I know, but with the time spent on waiting till she gets dressed (my FB friends probably remember me asking for advice how I can teach my little daydreamer to put on and take off her clothes faster), reading all the announcements for parents, attending class meetings for parents about once a week etc. the time quickly adds up. Besides, Delia doesn't want to go home straight after school. I know she needs a break. It's a good thing that there's a park right opposite her school, so we often take walks there. She loves this time, I do, too... But guess what? Riiiight, then it takes us over an hour and a half just to come home from school. Did I think about it when I was negotiating those deadlines? No, I didn't, because the negotiations took place before school started.
At first I thought that wasn't a big deal. But then I realized that I was getting off the schedule. So what did I do? Of course, I started getting up earlier and going to bed later. Did it help? Yes, sure, it helped to get the work done. But at the same time it wore me out. Finally I got sick and couldn't get better for about 2 weeks because I was awfully tired. The projects were finished on time, Delia and I were never late to school, but I was really exhausted...
Then I remembered reading this article in Logos Noesis blog. Here it is: Is your work worth dying for?
And then I realized that I really need to make a difference in my schedule. I need my weekends, and I need more time for all my family duties and for the time with my husband and my daughter. So here's my small list of decisions (actually, promises to myself) that I will do my best to keep in order to not kill myself over my work:
1. I will take no more than 2 projects at the same time (preferably one, but sometimes I get too bored doing just one project, so I need another one just to stay alert). Of course in this case I need to make sure the projects have different deadlines, not too close to each other;
2. If I see that working only on 1 or 2 projects at a time doesn't provide me with good income (although I am pretty sure it should) I will raise my rates.

How do you keep this work-life balance? How do you negotiate deadlines when your life changes and you don't know whether your normal schedule will work under new circumstances? Looking forward to your comments!


  1. Very interesting article, I would think about it in such way! But I will do as I'm getting more and more work.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Translation Forum Russia 2017: my report

A few days ago I came back from Translation Forum Russia which took place in Ufa, Bashkortostan . My daughter Delia went with me because she never visited Ufa before (neither have I) and because of the trip to the Southern Ural mountains we planned to take after the conference with a small group of colleagues. Ufa is not considered one of the primary tourist attractions of Russia, though I am convinced now that it definitely should be. Some pictures of the city (not all of the pictures are mine, some were made by the official photographer of the conference Elena Ekaterininskaya, our company CEO Fedor Kondratovich and some other colleagues): The bee is a symbol of the region as Bashkortostan produces the best honey in Russia. We saw installations shown below in different parts of the city. There were still covered because of the cold weather, but they will be full of blooming flowers as soon as the warm weather comes. The bee as we saw it That's what it

How to Reply To a Negative Feedback About Your Translation

We are humans and we screw up many times! And receiving a negative feedback about your translation work if one of them. As translation professionals, we work daily with people from different cultures and backgrounds. So, it is quite important to keep a level of etiquette while we do our business communication. Whatever your years of experience or your educational background, there are times when daily life affects our business badly. It is how we react to these situations what makes a big difference between professional translation service providers and those who are not. I was lucky enough when I started my translation career back in 2004 to read about the “ A Complaint Is a Gift ” business book and receive my training by a true professional Arabic translator. My colleague taught me the tactics of a professional’s reply to a negative feedback and the book mentions the bright side of receiving a complaint about your work. If the client does not like your work, he can just m

15 interesting facts about the English language

I prepared this list for one of my English classes. And then it dawned on me that I can share it with you, too! So here are 15 facts about the English language that I find very interesting. Hope you do, too ;) Rudyard Kipling was fired as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. His dismissal letter said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don't know how to use the English language. This isn't a kindergarten for amateur writers." No language has more synonyms than English.