This is the first in a series of guest blog posts on the T.O. by member Konstantin Kisin. Konstantin has some valuable tips on communication, negotiation with clients, productivity, and striking a balance between life and work (be sure to check out the interview with him in last week’s podcast as well).
“Work/Life Balance as a Freelancer”, by Konstantin Kisin
During the London workshop on Negotiation Skills, I asked the attendees to raise their hand if they felt they were “too busy” and more than 50% did. I then asked the group to answer the question of “How busy do you want to be?” and most people looked at me with a mixture of bemusement and disbelief!
You see, a lot of us think that the answer to this question is obvious: we “should” be as busy as possible. This belief is so ingrained that even when we notice the impact of being “too busy” on our lives (poor health, relationship problems, stress, mental and emotional suffering), we “get on with it,” “get through it,” “tough it out,” “try to stay on top of things” and so on.
As language industry professionals, we spend a lot of time with words and it can sometimes be useful to look at them very literally. Take the word “freelancer” as an example – whatever it means, one of the things it tells us is that a freelancer is someone who is free… or is she? Many of us become freelancers to enjoy the flexibility being your own boss can offer, and yet “having freedom” and “being free” are very different things. If you have the freedom to work your own hours but end up working 12 hours a day with little or no time off, you may not be as free as you think.
If there is one thing I know to be true, it is that the success of your business and your quality of life depend on the questions you ask yourself. Only if you can answer questions like “How much do I want to work?,” “What level of income do I want to have?” and “How do I need to change what I am doing to achieve this?” can you understand what you want and how to get there.
Many people who attend my webinars, presentations and workshops comment that the ideas we discuss apply to all areas of their lives, not just their business. This always delights me because I don’t believe you can separate the two, especially as a freelancer. Whether you are happy or unhappy, healthy or unhealthy, excited or bored, energized or tired, pleased or frustrated will affect how you treat your clients, how many mistakes you make, how you handle difficulties and misunderstandings, how motivated you are and all this determines how successful you are in your business.
In the next few blog entries and podcast interviews, I will share ideas and suggestions for achieving more of the balance you want in a way that creates more happiness, health, excitement, energy and freedom.
For now, I invite you to ask yourself these important questions and listen carefully to the answers.
Stay tuned for the next guest blog post by Konstantin, coming soon!
Konstantin has done in-person workshops on this and other subjects, and some of his presentations can be seen in on-demand video format: