As everyone in the industry knows a freelancer is his own marketing agent, accountant, time manager, technical support, etc. Balancing all of these aspects of the workday can be extremely hard. But also, some of the tasks necessary for the wellbeing of any good busy freelancer are detrimental to one another.
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Surviving in this industry as a freelancer includes being constantly connected and available. This element of the job is crucial in the modern age where freelancers want to stay competitive. On the other hand, incorporating availability into the actual work that has to be done for the client can be particularly difficult. Consequently, the aspect of working deeply is very often impaired by this element of accessibility and immediate responsiveness.
We do not necessarily have to sacrifice good communication in order to achieve deep concentration!
These are the two elementary aspects of the job and these two often cause deterioration of the other. One cannot exist without the other which is very clear to any freelancer. If someone has a problem with dedicating an equal amount of attention to communication with clients and the actual language work they will not probably end up as successful freelancers and for those people a better solution might be to work as in-house translators for an agency and completely disregard the responsiveness element. By being "available" freelancers sacrifice a crucial element needed for any type of work and especially for attention draining translation and proofreading. If not separated properly, different tasks of freelancer’s everyday workday can have a significant negative impact on the successful execution of each other. In my opinion, these elements must be kept as far from each other as possible and one must put an effort in managing them so the overlapping is reduced to a minimum.
By solving problems in batches and moving from one to another only when completed we ensure a concentrated and dedicated work for each segment, meaning that the tasks are most definitely of better quality if done separately and without overlapping. When we take these two tasks every freelancer is familiar with, answering client's emails and actual translation work, we need to put straight boundaries when it comes to mixing the two. One, for example, can feel a desire to interrupt the translation in order to check their inbox. This action immediately moves the freelancer from translation mode onto communication mode which definitely does not go in favor of translation quality. Also, the attention devoted to email reply is impaired since the translator is waiting to get back to his work.
While some of the emails require an immediate reply, the majority of others may be delayed for the purposes of quality of the actual work. Most of the clients and PMs do not really care whether the email is replied within 15 minutes or 3 hours, or even within a day (of course there are exceptions when dealing with urgent projects). Everyone would understand the need to have a well-defined time frame dedicated to dealing with emails. For example, if we check and answer, while being completely concentrated, the emails in the morning before we start translation and do the same at the end of the day but completely disregard the email distraction for the rest of the day, we will achieve a much deeper work without harming either aspect of freelancing. Furthermore, if we inform our major clients of this agenda they will expect our responses in previously agreed intervals and this will give us uninterrupted time for work which will even reduce the overall amount of stress this job constantly casts upon us.