Let’s face it : Being a freelance translator can be really stressful sometimes. Especially those days when you have multiple assignments, some of which are urgent, emails to write and respond, quotes to make, plus the dog made a poo-poo on the carpet because you didn’t have the time to walk him. It’s those days when you feel really burnt out and just on the verge of losing it. Is there a way to be both productive and organized, and even have a little time for yourself ?

The answer is yes. Tough, but definitely doable. Here are a few tips you can try out.

1. Clean your desk. 

Before you start working, organize your desktop. Yes, both the desk and the computer. Label some of your paper documents and sort them away. Add a new folder and categorize the files. You will feel less anxious and locate what you need faster later.

2. Prioritize and Focus. 

Decide what is more important and what to do first, then stick with it. If your nearest deadline is in one hour, push that to the top of your schedule and don’t be distracted. Keep the phone calls short and to the point, if there is any during that one hour, and check your mailbox later. Set an email alert for your most important clients. Or try setting up an autoresponder to let people know you will get back to them later.

3. Make Plans Beforehand. 

When we talk about prioritizing, it’s always recommended to set up the schedule beforehand rather than coming up with ideas as you go. A rough outline with approximate deadline will do. And don’t be too rigid.

4. Make full use of technologies. 

There are zillions of apps and software that will help you organize your work. Find the ones that suit you the most ! Have an integrated software to manage your clients, quotes, projects, payments, invoices and reminders. Download a calendar app or to-do-list app. Have a designated driver and hard disk for all work related files. Use CAT tools and build your own corpora. You don’t have to be too tech-savvy, and technologies will make a freelancer’s life much more pleasant !

5. Mini Round-up at the End of The Day.

Don’t forget to wrap up your work and summarize at the end of the day ! Make note of what has been accomplished and what needs to be dealt with the next day.

6. Exercise. 

Freelance translators lead a sedentary lifestyle. I spend most of my time staring at the computer and knocking away on the keyboard, which have led to some unpleasant results – frozen shoulders, neck strain, painful wrists, dry eyes, weight-gain… They just come with the package. To remain healthy and productive, allow yourself once in a while to take a short rest, but don’t just lie down and eat ice cream – move around ! stretch ! a short yoga sequence, or 30 burpees (a great way to burn calories) ! You don’t have to exhaust yourself, just get yourself warmed up. Studies have shown that physical exercises can actually improve memory and cognitive abilities. So have your training mat ready in the living room !

Those are the tips that have helped me a lot and allowed me to better multitask without going crazy. What about you ? Do you have any tips to boost productivity while remaining organized? Leave a comment to let me know, or connect with me now !