How to Maintain a Healthy Work/Life Balance
This post originally appeared on Trados blog and it is republished with permission.
Jamie Hartz of Tilde Language Services is an ATA-certified freelance Spanish-to-English translator who provides services to clients in a variety of industries. The juggling act of trying to maintain a healthy balance between the professional and personal facets of life as a translation professional is something Jamie is all too familiar with, so she has kindly shared some of the top tips she uses to combat the common issues that arise when trying to achieve equity between the two.
1. Resist the temptation to be ‘always on’
For agency or corporate freelancers it’s different, but there may still be pressures to be ‘on’ after hours or at weekends, and you need to be careful about drawing clear lines if necessary.
So when you step away from your desk, resist the temptation to obsessively check your phone for work emails, and don’t let ‘always on’ notifications become exhausting.
2. Dispel the pervasive guilt
If you are diligently working on your translation projects, you may feel guilty for not paying attention to your children or spending time with your spouse. Alternatively, you may go off and spend an hour in the middle of the afternoon playing with your children or taking a walk with your spouse and then you feel guilty about not being available for your work.
I think there’s a certain level of guilt which we experience no matter what type of balance we try to strike between work and life — and that isn’t really fair because the guilt is not productive for us. Make sure you set aside allocated time for your family and don’t let guilt paralyze you when it comes to setting those boundaries.
3. Don’t take on more work than you are comfortable with
During the pandemic, in particular, I’ve noticed that the busy weeks are busier than ever and the slow weeks are slower than ever so there is that temptation, when something comes along, to feel that I have to take it because I don’t know what will come next week. This is part of what makes the 2020 pandemic so problematic.
The key for me is to ask: can I do a good job of everything I’ve committed to? Whether you’re a freelancer like me or not, always ask yourself this before you agree to new projects.
4. No matter how busy you are, take a break —and eat!
5. Set realistic expectations for your day-to-day work
One of the most important things to note about setting a schedule is that it has to be adaptable. It has to be flexible to change because things can and do suddenly come up – that’s the nature of the business we work in.
6. Use an out-of-office responder
7. Take part in a stress-reducing activity
8. Make technology work for you
A colleague also recently mentioned the Timeular app to me. I haven’t used it personally but as I understand it, you buy an eight-sided ‘tracking die’ which links to your phone and you flip the die onto the correct side that is associated with the task you are currently working on. The die tracks the amount of time you spend doing each task and tells you where each minute of your day is spent. It sounds really interesting!
Rebecca White is a Digital Marketing Executive for Translation Productivity at RWS with a passion for creative content generation, social media engagement and product analysis.
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