Before I became a professional translator, I had a whole load of misconceptions about what it was like to be translator.
I thought I’d have lots of free time.
I figured I’d be able to take time off whenever I wanted.
If you’re a professional translator, you know that if you want to be a success, you have to work harder than you’ve ever worked for anything before, like making sure you pay attention to details, for example.
And it can be exhausting.
And sometimes you might need a break.
And that’s OK.
Most people that work hard need to take short breaks to rejuvenate. There’s nothing wrong with it.
Just make sure it’s short, and gets you back to where you need to be in order to make your business a success.
It’s funny, though.
I recently read an article about entrepreneurship and the drawbacks to having your own business (especially if it is one where you work from home).
Having a career as a freelance translator where you are working from the same place you live can be tough, but this isn’t the only thing you need to think about if you decide to become a freelance translator.
According to the article I had read, one of the drawbacks about owning your own business was that you could never take time off or go on vacation because your work would require 24/7 supervision.
One of the biggest reasons why you want to work for yourself as a professional translator is so that you can do something meaningful while also not feeling like you have to slave away every single day for someone else.
If this is you, then you might not know how to relax.
How do you take a step back from your business without it all falling to pieces?
Write Down Your Daily/Weekly/Monthly Plan
Don’t tell yourself that you’ll get something done someday.
Because that something and that someday will never come.
You will not do something consistently until you have a plan of action and you stick to that plan.
Here’s what you can do.
Make a list at least each evening of what you want to get accomplished the next day.
But don’t just stop with a list of activities.
Write down that tomorrow from 0900 – 1200, you are going to work on and finish Translation Project X.
If you don’t write down your plans, one of two things can happen:
- you’ll bounce from one project to the next without finishing any in a reasonable timeframe, which will make you fall behind; or
- you’ll spend all day reading the news, wasting time on forums, responding to unimportant emails, or refreshing your Twitter feed, and won’t accomplish anything
Schedule Your Downtime
Don’t just plan you work.
Plan your rest and relaxation.
If you don’t, you’ll get burned out too quickly or you’ll feel guilty about not prioritizing your time with your family.
Schedule your time so that you don’t have to find time later.
Plus, your family will know when your time is with them and help them respect your work time.
Scheduling this time can be as simple as scheduling a day each week when you will be away from your computer and any work.
Or you could block out a certain time each day.
Either way, your schedule will dictate to you and others what your priorities are for that specific time period.
Learn to Say No
The best thing to do for your sanity as an entrepreneur?
Learn to only do what you want and need to do.
Don’t waste time on things that won’t give you what you want.
And don’t tell people you’ll help them when you don’t want to.
You don’t have to be a jerk about it.
Maybe something like this:
“I’m sorry. I just don’t have the time to take that on.”
You don’t have to give excuses and you don’t have to explain yourself. Don’t feel guilty for putting your own needs and interests, as well as those of your immediate family, ahead of the wishes of others.
Use the Power of Delegation
Here’s a secret for translators:
You don’t have to advertise yourself as a translation agency to be able to act like one in a small way.
If you’ve got too much work on your plate, there’s nothing wrong with having a competent friend or colleague help you out.
This can not only save you time and headaches, but it will still allow you to remain in the good graces of your clients.
Everyone stays happy, which is what you want in the end eventually anyway, right?
Not everything is always hunky dory in outsourcing land, of course.
There is always a danger with outsourcing your work but you can mitigate the risks by making sure that the person you outsource to has the same quality standards as you do.
The last thing you want to do is have someone translate something in your name for a client of yours, and that translation be sub-standard.
But if you work with someone that you trust, it can be a good idea to outsource to them in order to free up some of your time.
Recharge your batteries, recharge your desires to succeed, then get back to work.
Until next time.