This is the second 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. If you have not read the first post in this series, you can see it here.
“Work/Life Balance as a Freelancer (continued)”, by Konstantin Kisin
I hope that in the time since the last blog entry, you have had the opportunity to reflect on the question of how much you want to work, what level of income you want to have and, crucially, what you need to do to achieve this.
When I first asked myself these questions, one of the things that became instantly apparent to me was that if I wanted to make more and work less, I would have to increase my productivity.
Most freelance translators I have met at conferences and training events seem to focus their attention on things they cannot control: the low rates their clients offer, the short deadlines they impose and the difficulties of dealing with them. As in anything else, complaining is as thoroughly enjoyable as it is pointless.
Achieving a balance in your life as a freelancer requires focus on things you CAN control. Productivity is one such aspect of your work and most of us are nowhere near fulfilling our potential in this respect.
Every time I speak on the subject of productivity the same pattern repeats itself: I share with the audience my experience of becoming more productive to the point where I now translate up to 8,000 words a day while working only 4-5 hour days and the bulk of those listening react with a mixture of shock, sometimes rapidly shifting into disbelief. Yet, interestingly, there are always a handful of people in the audience who report similar or even higher levels of productivity. The only choice to be made is whether you prefer to be skeptical about their claims or inspired by their example.
In the Boost Your Productivity Now Presentation, I share a range of techniques that can help freelancers improve their daily output. One of the most important elements of productive work is the ability to focus on the task at hand.
Consider a 100 metre sprinter who runs 20 metres, then stops and waves to his mother in the crowd before running another 20 metres and then gets sidetracked into giving an interview to a nearby camera crew. No race is won (or indeed completed!) in this way because performing to the best of your ability requires complete concentration.
So, as usual some questions to think about for next time:
- What do you do that prevents you from concentrating fully?
- How much more productive will you be when you stop doing it?
- How can you change your working environment (including people around you) to achieve better focus on your work?
- What are you prepared to do to make this happen now?
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: