Have you ever felt like your translating capacity was based on pure luck? There are some days when things go better than expected. You plan to translate ten pages, but you get carried away and you outreach that goal. You're so busy smashing targets that you feel you don't need time management tips to better your output.
Other days, in contrast, feel heavy. You’re forcing yourself to go through a single page of content and you’re not happy with the results. At that time, you don’t feel like a successful translator. If the burnout continues for over a week, you start worrying about the deadlines and feeling like a complete failure.
How do you beat that state of being? How do you get more of those lucky days? By following some simple time management tips.
It’s all about time management, in fact. A successful translator needs a system, which will guide them through the good and bad times.
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Maintain a Time Log
Sandra Miles, an academic content translator working for Essay Geeks, explains that a schedule without a time log is useless. Master of time management tips, she shares:
“Keeping your Google Calendar on point is a good thing. However, this plan won’t help you reach the highest level of productivity. When you combine it with a time log, you become aware of the way you’re spending each and every minute. Add a new entry whenever you engage in a new activity, such as calling a friend, checking Facebook, or making coffee. You’ll notice that you’re interrupting your work with things you could do later. When you become aware of that habit, you’ll start fighting against it. Suddenly, you’ll notice you’re beating the daily plan.”
Understand Your Circadian Rhythm
Top of the time management tips? When you maintain a time log for one week, it’s time to analyze it! You’ll notice you’re more productive during specific times of the day, and you start procrastinating during others. You have your individual circadian rhythm, and you have to understand it if you want your productivity levels to explode!
If you notice you’re most productive in the morning, then that’s when you should do the most important work. If you can’t reach your full capacity too early in the day, it’s okay to sleep in and do more work in the afternoon and evening.
The good thing about being a translator is that your job is flexible! As long as you meet the deadlines, it doesn’t matter when you work and when you sleep. So be aware of the times that work for you. Of all the time management tips, this is the one that will have the biggest impact on your work.
Eat the Frog First
Mark Twain had a simple rule on productivity and time management tips: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
You’re a translator, so you can read between the words. You know the meaning of that recommendation is not literal! Just imagine if it were! It means you should prioritize the tasks you’re most stressed about.
If you have a really challenging translating task with a close deadline, deal with it first thing in the morning. If you start procrastinating it, you’ll become more stressed and less focused by the time you get to it.
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You Need an Office
We’ve all tried doing the work on our favorite couch, with the TV on and people around us. It doesn’t work. When your surroundings are full of distractions, all time management tips are useless.
Working at home does not mean you can do some translating whenever you feel like it, while talking to your partner at the same time. Once you identify the working hours according to your rhythm, you have to pay attention to the surroundings, too.
Pick a private area in your home. Get a nice desk and a comfortable (but not too cozy) chair. Eliminate all distractions, and you’ll have a home office. If you can’t do that, then rent a space or find a nice coffee shop with environment that allows you to focus. Then use the other time management tips to help you sail through your day.
Manage Your Inbox
Having an important message by a client buried among spam is a translator’s worst nightmare. You need a system for managing the inbox, too. You receive dozens of messages every single day, and not all of them are important.
Gmail lets you filter the messages in a simple way. Once you have the inbox organized, you should reserve a special hour of the day for checking and responding to emails in a professional way.
You don’t want this activity to interfere with your work. Another important thing: make sure to unsubscribe from email campaigns whose messages you never read. That will make your life much simpler and save you valuable time, which is what time management tips are all about, after all!
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Plan the Weekly Schedule
As most other translators, you probably make a daily schedule with tasks you plan to complete. Take things a step further: plan the work a week in advance! Put these time management tips in place and list the tasks you have to complete this week.
Follow that list with things you want to accomplish. The first list contains priorities, and the second one will motivate you to work faster, so you can cover some of the goals you want to meet.
With all that time you spend in front of the computer, it’s easy to get tired and unmotivated. That’s why you need to include some rest among all those tasks.
Good Time Management Tips Will Change Your Life
With proper time management tips, you’ll notice you’re getting way more productive. You’ll be translating more material, but your work will be better at the same time. Why? Because you’ll eliminate procrastination and you’ll stay focused all the time.
When you work according to a schedule, you keep a time log and you keep the surroundings free of distractions, you’ll notice you’re reaching greater levels of productivity as a translator.
Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a translator. He loves to write, learn new languages, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.