About the author: Priyank Aggarwal is a full time freelance French-English language service provider based in New Delhi, India. He specializes in French-English translation, proofreading, DTP, and language training services and has more than 5 year experience in translation field, ranging from automotive, IT, engineering fields to fields like litreature, fiction texts, etc.
This article does not aim to teach anything to anyone, rather presents a time management approach which I have tested and found useful, especially for people like us. As per my perception on the life of a translator is concerned, it is very unpredictable. When a project comes to an end, I do not know from where my next project would come, holidays are never planned; whenever I get time, I take the week-end off and head to a place where I am far away from my laptop, mobile phone, etc. My only objective at that time is to just discover the place and enjoy. And when the project comes, my life revolves around it with an objective to complete it successfully.
Sometimes, I feel that our lives are more like those of “fire-fighters”. Whenever the alarm rings, we have to be there, no matter what. It becomes the most “urgent” and “important” thing at that time. Therefore, when this tug-of war between “urgency” and “importance” was happening more than often in my life, I decided to follow the time management matrix read in one of the books of Dr. Stephen R Covey.
Here is a matrix of a translator (at least mine):
Q1: Urgent and Important
Rush hour projects
Last minute changes in translation, suggested by the client
Sudden shift of deadline by the client
Urgent client meeting on site
Q2: Important but not Urgent
Further studies (for improving our mental abilities)
Taking backup of our work
Reading (in our Source and Target language)
Spending quality time with friends and family
Q3: Urgent but not Important
Answering unwanted phone calls
Other distractions coming in way of our objectives
Q4: Neither Urgent nor Important
Unnecessary TV watching
Low quality relaxation (Sitting idle)
As a translator, one should always try to strike a balance between Q1 and Q2, for living a quality of life. I know that Q3 and Q4 cannot be completely avoided, but can be minimized to a great extent in order to achieve our goals.
I know that the above-mentioned matrix is not something I invented, but used and found really useful and time-saving. The best thing about this is that it is beyond time management, it is actually Life management.
I hope that this article proves useful to my colleagues.
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