Beware. This is not an informational, useful, full-of-tips post. This is a personal story. I will talk about blogging and Twitter, but for once I won’t try to convince you to do any of them. It’s not complaining either, even though it might look like it 🙂
Fellow translators often ask me, either in person or in interviews: “How do you find time to work when you seem to be blogging or tweeting all the time?” Or the opposite. I usually smile and reply in a way as to encourage other people to blog or tweet as well, i.e. “It doesn’t take that long to find stuff to tweet, just a few hours every weekend maybe”.
I am a full-time translator and co-owner of a translation company. I maintain the company website and write regularly for our translation blog. I’m active on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+. What do all these roles entail?
Translating and editing on a daily basis
I’m good at what I do and popular with my clients. So, they keep me busy, usually very busy. Since I love my job, I almost never say no to some regular projects that I enjoy the most. I’m not a workaholic (although I think I’m close), I enjoy downtime and relaxing, but there’s rarely time for that.
Replying to emails
As a translator: potential work, ongoing projects, queries and post-delivery notes from clients, invoicing queries, first-time contact etc. I’m also a helpful person, so my clients email me to ask other stuff too, i.e. we need a translator in a different language pair; do you know any translation salespeople; I need a Greek interpreter.
As a company owner: CVs and applications from translators (sadly, most of those emails are either very bad or obviously spam, so I delete them), questions and requests for advice from translators, networking (emails about events, non-translation associations etc.) and accounting (although we outsource, there are always questions and clarifications…).
As a blogger and active social media user: requests for interviews, invitations to connect, new followers to check, blog comments to moderate and reply to and submissions for guest posts.
I do my best to reply quickly to all the aforementioned emails, at least when I leave the office in the evening I try to have no unanswered emails. Translation work emails also mean downloading the files, checking the analysis, logging the project and sending a confirmation email to the client. I leave the office late in the evening (9pm) and come fairly early in the morning (8am) and there are 10-20 new emails to reply in the morning, how is that possible? Yes, I know it’s because my clients are based all over the world, but still… I won’t even mention the number of emails to take care of during the workday.
I’ve tried all kinds of methods; Pomodoro, Pareto, checking emails every hour etc. Emails still pile up and take up a lot of my time. Goes with the territory though, right?
You have probably noticed that apart from the Favorites, I haven’t been very active in article-writing as of recent months. I have so many ideas, but no time to write about them. I can rarely write during a workday (this post is one of the exceptions), I need the calmness of the weekend to focus and express myself. But the weekends should also be spent with the hubby and my cat babies. So, the ideas stay in my head.
Our blog is updated every Thursday with a new post though, guest posts by colleagues or other writers who chose us to showcase their content. When I first created the Guest Posts tab in our blog, I wasn’t expecting so many people would like to write for us. It’s a blessing whichever way you see it. People write about different topics, the blog is updated with new content regularly and you meet new people. However, it also takes time. To choose the bloggers and posts, check online if they’ve been published before, proofread the articles, and then prepare them in WordPress.
If you think I’m going to share the exact amount of time I spend browsing on Twitter and Facebook and blog-reading to find tweetable content and then schedule my tweets, you’ll be disappointed. I honestly don’t know how many hours it takes each week and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you to avoid discouraging you from using Twitter or reading translation blogs. I’ll just focus on a few facts: I am subscribed to over 200 translation blogs, about 50 freelancing and social media blogs, plus a few blogs about travel and other topics (but the latter publish a ton of articles daily). I love reading the blogs but it’s very time-consuming. I wish I had more time to enjoy them more and maybe comment in the posts I find most interesting.
Marketing & networking
I try. Not hard enough, but I do, honest. I tell myself that blogging and social media are part of that (which is true, but the stuff I share are mostly for translators than direct clients). So, I only attend a few events per year. BUT they are truly very time-consuming. The pre-event preparation: checking the attendees, finding your ideal clients, preparing your pitch (and don’t forget choosing an outfit and having your hair/nails done for us women). Then, the event itself means at least half a day out of the office, which amounts to a mountain of emails when you return. Finally, the business card sorting, follow-up emails and interminable to-do stuff to do after the conference. I won’t even mention out-of-town events and traveling. I need 2 weeks of working like crazy before a trip to make up for a few out of office days and then at least a month to deal with the emails and things to do when I get back. Nuff said.
Today is a busy day and I stopped my work mid-afternoon (will pay for this later when I leave the office at 10pm again tonight) to write this post because I wanted to get all this off my chest and share my daily insane things-to-do list with like-minded people. 1,033 words later I realize that this ranting would actually be considered as procrastination but I feel better now so it was well worth it 🙂
As a final statement, I’ll reiterate this: I’m not complaining. I love doing all the above (schmoozing with potential clients not so much but I’ll get over my insecurities at some point and enjoy it as well). I wouldn’t change my fascinating profession and insane daily life for anything.
Btw, this is the first title I thought of when I started writing this post: There’s never enough time, a.k.a. I need a clone or two… Do you like it more than the title I used? And more importantly: Would you like a clone too? What’s your crazy everyday reality like? Have you achieved the infamous work-life balance yet?
If you feel like writing your story as a guest post, I’d be happy to publish it in our blog. Just send it to me by email.