If you are not a native English speaker, then you will probably find the proverb “A stitch in time, saves nine” very confusing. What on earth could it mean? Well, it means that if you sort problems out as quickly as possible, this will stop the problem from becoming more serious and difficult to solve later. It refers to sewing, because of course, if a seamstress is making a garment and sees a hole, if she doesn’t repair it straight away, it is likely to get bigger, and more difficult to repair.
I like this ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach to translation. Better make a list of all your outstanding tasks now than forget something and have to work all night. Planning and automating your day as much as possible will free up more time for doing the things you enjoy. Here are some tips I either have put into practice or want to. They might be helpful to you, too.
- Get up early and spend at least 30 minutes planning out your day, checking if you have any appointments and numbering your tasks in the order you want to complete them.
- If you find yourself writing the same types of emails repeatedly for situations such as confirming your availability, turning tasks down, sending invoices, why not create email templates to save time? You won’t just rap a few words out in a hurry, so it will give a good impression to the addressee, too.
- Sort out your email inbox and file things neatly in folders. There’s nothing worse than wasting time scrolling through hundreds of emails trying to find a job, and there’s a risk you may delete something by mistake. It’ll take you a couple of hours to sort everything out, but you’ll streamline your life.
- Don’t hop about from one task to another. Switching around makes it difficult to focus and do your best work. It’s difficult, I know when you have Skype open and people keep asking you to translate odd words and sentences, but interruptions can have a seriously detrimental effect on your work. Turn off your phone and block your messaging services and you’ll work quicker and better.
- Learn keyboard shortcuts. I learned to use a computer without a mouse, so I know them all. Not having to take your hands off the keyboard to cut, paste, delete and change programmes may only save an instant, but add all those instants together and you’ll soon have an hour. Just type ‘keyboard shortcuts’ into your browser and you’ll find hundreds of useful suggestions.
- Lastly, the biggest time saver for me is logging all my jobs in an invoicing programme as soon as they come in. It used to take me a couple of days to do my invoices, but now I have everything ready in half an hour.
- Empty your downloads folder and don’t leave 200 projects in the project view of Studio 2017! Just looking at it will make you feel tired!