Like many other freelance workers and entrepreneurs, you probably struggle to maintain a proper life balance, especially if you work from home.
You are not alone!
I mean, just take a look at your social media feeds… Karen is still up at 2 in the morning with blank page syndrome—and the deadline is at 8 a.m. Steve did the dishes, planted new flowers, and managed to do the groceries today, now going to work for a few hours… at 9 p.m. Nancy’s two kids are homesick and she has to finish that urgent translation due today. Kevin just bought a spanking new Xbox with the first payment he received for a translation he has yet to start, hello productivity.
As for you, well you’re there scrolling through Facebook and LinkedIn, mindlessly procrastinating while you should be working.
So how do you establish and maintain a healthy work-life balance as a freelance translator? Here are a few simple tips that should help.
It is very tempting to accept every job that is offered to you. Many novice and seasoned entrepreneurs make this mistake. After all, we all need the money, right?
However, when you commit to delivering something, make sure you can actually do it without overworking yourself. What might seem like a great opportunity to make a few extra coins could quickly lead to you cutting corners and slashing in the quality of your work.
Then you will lose clients, you will have to close more sales, you will have to work harder to compensate, and you will become a breathing ball of stress. Besides, it takes years to build a reputation, but only one botched translation to destroy it.
Saying no every now and then can help avoid this.
If you realize a simple task turns out to require a lot more work than what you planned, raise the flag quickly and see with your client if you can extend the deadline.
If you think a contract is too much for you, just say no. Be more selective with the jobs you accept so you can focus on delivering high-quality results and reap the benefits too.
When you do accept a contract, make sure it is worth your time and effort. Don’t settle for a lower wage because you lack confidence. Don’t work for free in exchange for exposure because you’re new to the field.
Freelance workers sometimes feel uncomfortable when it’s time to talk about prices. But remember that you are running an actual business. The time you spend working is your source of income, not a hobby. Try to find out how much your competitors are charging, define what sets you apart (unique expertise, great speed, or some other talent) and adjust your fees accordingly.
Know your worth and expect nothing less. Then make sure you deliver what you promised.
You will feel good about yourself, you will not have to work extra hours on other contracts because you are not making enough money, you will feel less pressure, and you will have more time to enjoy doing stuff that is not job-related. This is what being a self-employed is all about.
If you’re looking for a simple and efficient way to reduce your stress level while also improving your work, look no further.
Maintaining a calendar of your upcoming deadlines and future events lets you know what to expect. You will not act all surprised when you realize that 500-page translation is due tomorrow morning. You will not be relying on last minute panic as your sole source of inspiration.
With a calendar, you can tell at a glance if you have enough time for one more translation job, or for some impromptu activity with your buddies, or for just one more episode of Friends. You can avoid conflicts between your professional and social life.
Your well-being and productivity are directly dependent on your being healthy. But hitting the gym may not be for everybody, especially if you belong to the couch variety of potatoes.
As it turns out, a walk outside can be just what you need.
Many great thinkers were known to take grand walks outside. This simple activity is an opportunity to breathe some fresh air, and it procures long-lasting effects that will help you focus on your work when you are back at your desk.
Walking is also an incomparable remedy to the dreaded blank page syndrome. It helps clear your mind and unclutter your thoughts.
You will feel – and actually become – healthier as you start taking regular walks outside. Your work will seem easier. You personal life will improve.
Walk, hike, run. Go out.
On the other hand, if you do have a surge of motivation and inspiration but still insist on binge watching the 27th season of your favourite series or doing the groceries like you planned, maybe you should reconsider. Put the remote down and start working instead.
Squeeze out all that creative juice whenever you feel productive. Keep translating when you are on a roll. Because there will be a time when you just can’t work at all. So cover all your bases, check those boxes out of you to-do lists, and get to work when you feel like it.
Later, you can kick back and relax, feeling you have achieved more than you planned, or celebrate a job well done.
If what you do makes you happy, this will change everything. You are probably going to read a lot more about your field, you are more likely to network and connect naturally with relevant players of your industry, and you will hustle with determination because you are actually passionate about what you do for a living. You will develop an expertise and build a reputation.
This reflects in the quality of your work, and helps you feel better as a person in every other aspect of your life.
When you’re out there hustling for new clients, they can tell whether you’re genuinely authentic or just trying to make ends meet because you can’t find a regular job. Don’t be afraid to show your inner language-geekiness. Stay authentic and focus on what you love. You will feel much happier.
Loving what you do is a fundamental part of the equation that will help you achieve your dreams of being successful in your freelance career.