Organization for Dummies – How to Manage a Scattered Mind
Is your lack of organizational ability causing you to loose valuable contracts? Time to upgrade your skills and take your career to another level.
You may be the most talented translator, writer, designer in the business but if you aren’t organized, you’re going to lose your clients. It’s a hard truth but an important one to accept. The freelance market is saturated and you need to be the absolute best at both what you do, and how you do it, in order to enjoy any sort of success.
But what if you’re like most creative people and are a little naturally ‘scattered’? What if deadlines and meetings seem to sneak up on you, or worse, bypass you entirely? It’s hard truth time again – you ‘re going to need to do something about it if you want to survive.
The Four Keys to Freelance Organization
- One Step at a Time: Although our culture seems to cherish the skill, multi-tasking actually does more harm than good. This is particularly the case when it comes to freelance translation work. As you scramble to make deadlines, you’re most likely dividing your attention between contracts throughout your day. Big mistake! Multi-tasking has been shown to reduce focus and memory while at the same time, adding unnecessary stress. Your best bet is to focus on one job at a time. Not only will you produce a better product, but you’ll be less frantic while you work.
- Make Your List and Check it Twice: Having multiple to-do lists can make a huge difference when it comes to keeping yourself organized. A true freelance professional should have daily, weekly and even monthly lists depending on their workload. At the beginning of the day, review your lists and schedule your day in ‘blocks’ to tackle each project one by one. At the end of the day, review the list and create a new one for the following day. Too cool for such details? Think again- when you have your day well planned and you stick to it, you will not be surprised by missed appointments or worse, lost contracts.
- Never, Ever, Ever Put Anything Off: Procrastination will single handedly destroy all the work you’ve put into changing your work habits. Having a list means nothing if you’re going to keep putting things off to the last minute. Even if the project is massive and too daunting to even think about, if you stick to your schedule you’ll be able to manage it without a great deal of stress.
- Speaking of Stress – Take a Break: Health experts have recently determined that our bodies are simply not designed to handle hours hunched over a computer. No matter how busy your day is or how many projects you’re behind on, you must schedule at least a five to ten minute break for every hour you work. Get up, take a breath or go outside. Working yourself hard to compensate for your lack of organization skills will only cause you to make more errors and get farther behind in the long run.
You are not alone. There are plenty of creative freelancers working in translation or other fields who’ve had to teach themselves organizational skills in order to meet their career goals. If you’re anything like them, you’ll realize that it is really not as complicated as you think. By implementing just four little rules, you can not only get on top of your game but stay there, no matter how abstract your creative mind is!