Freelance translators: How to stay motivated

There are advantages and disadvantages of working as a freelance translator, one of them (which can be both) is to organize the way we use our time.

Distractions in our work environment can range from television to a simple pack of cookies. Also, very often the source of most of our distractions are the social networks, our favorite websites, the latest news, our kids … or anything that interests us in no relation to our jobs whatsoever. And it always manages to find a way to creep into our work environment and delay our work.

Distractions can sometimes delay the start of a translation and negatively influence your performance. It means you don’t have the will and desire to get working, and you are using the distractions to avoid work.

This can be extremely detrimental if your translation is time consuming due to being laden with difficult terms that need time to be researched on the internet. To avoid get distracted during your working hours, be it in the morning, afternoon or at night, I have prepared some tips based on my own personal experience.

How can we motivate ourselves to be more productive? Here is how.

Early bird gets the worm. Yes, you can work in the evening or at night, millions do it all over the world, me too, but this is no good when you need to start with your work fresh and rested. Do not postpone your tasks for the afternoon. Remember we’re talking about motivation, so do not listen to that voice in your head that says “only half an hour more and I’ll get up”.

Get up, take your time for a leisurely breakfast (so that hunger will not distract you later) and plan your day. A meticulous planning means fewer opportunities to lose focus.

If you manage to wake up half an hour earlier every day of the year, you’ll get a week’s worth of time. Imagine what you can do with that week (and the money you will earn) … so get up and start your day early!

Clothing. This means changing your pajamas for something that you would wear to leave your house (and I hope it is not your pajamas!). It is believed that what we wear affects our way of acting and thinking. Of course, you do not need “professional work clothes” to work from your home. All you need is that feeling that you have “gone” to work so that you can focus your mind on your work.

Ironically, my work clothes seem to always be “pajamas“. But hey, that works for me! Find your work clothes that will get you motivated and activate your work-mindset in the mornings.

Speaking of sleep … if you are one of those whose motivation is lowered by working in pajamas (thank god I am not one of those), then working in bed will kill it completely. Even working in the same room that is used for sleeping can affect you, so if you have some extra space at home set it up as your work place… your personal and professional office.

If you do not have such space, try to find some way to keep the bed out of sight while you’re sitting at your desk, like orienting the desk in another direction, or placing a division between the desk and the bed.

Schedule your day and meet that schedule. This means that you must set your office hours, and those will be the hours during which you are going to actually work. Organize your tasks you are going to do during the day, whether it is a translation project, updating a glossary, billing or promoting your service. It doesn’t have to be a continuous working period.

I find it best when I divide my work throughout the day, that way I have time for something else in between, like personal activities, socializing or hobbies, which in turn maintains my motivation.

Reward yourself . Find a reward that motivates you: watch your favorite series, go to the gym, have tea with friends. Write all of that in your schedule and then work toward the goal of finishing your work so you can stop and enjoy your “reward” without feeling guilt or pressure.

Restrict the time for social networks, both professional and personal. If you have to finish a translation, get away from your social networking accounts. You can get back to them when you do not have a project to finalize. You should use your personal accounts (and message services like WhatsApp) in your personal non-working time.

Take a walk. This works best if you are one of those that gets motivated best by actually getting away from your desk. In addition to reducing stress, there are studies that show that a trip outside the work environment can boost creativity and concentration, which are two important factors in the completion of a translation.

So get out for a breath of fresh air and then get back to your work.

Finally, make connections. You’re not alone! Lack of motivation is something that many freelance translators have experienced at one time or another in their careers. Try to share and immerse experiences from other translators. Try some interesting books like The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Successful Freelance Translator.

There are even applications that will help you avoid distractions, eliminate indecision, increase productivity and reduce the possibility of fatigue: Tomighty, YAPA and ActionAlly are just a few.

Do you have any tips or tricks that trigger your motivation?

Share them with us!

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