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Time management for a part-time translator
Thread poster: xxxwonita
xxxwonita
China
Local time: 17:19
Apr 18, 2008

Hello everyone,

I am a part-time translator. Apart from taking care of my kids, who are at school for only half of the days, I also work as a language teacher and a tourist guide if I get an order.

Normally, if there is no PC work, I check my e-mails only twice a day, once in the morning between 11 and 12, and once in the evening after the kids are in bed. Result: I lose some very interesting job offers, because the client needs an immediate confirmation.

On the other hand, if I left the computer on the whole day , I couldn't really concentrate on other things even if there is no correspondence with the client necessary.

I'd love to know how you manage your time if you are in a similiar situation.

Bin


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Margreet Logmans  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:19
English to Dutch
+ ...
Smartphone/Blackberry Apr 18, 2008

I've recently arranged for email and Internet services on my cell phone/mobile.
Works really well.

I work almost full time as a freelancer, but I like to be away from the computer on 'slow' days and feel more comfortable in doing so if I know I can check my e-mail on the way.

It gives an acoustic signal when email comes in, and it automatically checks every hour or so (I think that's a personal setting). So I just keep my phone nearby and turn on the computer only if I'm interested in responding to the mail I receive. I feel this gives me a lot of freedom.

Warning: playing silly little games on your phone can become addictive


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Blackberries Apr 18, 2008

I totally agree with Margreet about getting a Blackberry or another phone with email capabilities. It gives me that little bit of extra freedom which means that I don't feel guilty about leaving my desk during "normal" working hours.

However, a lot of people don't agree - take a look at this poll discussion - http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/97394-poll:_do_you_have_a_blackberry.html


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Elisabete Cunha  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 20:19
Member (2006)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
With Margreet Apr 18, 2008

I also use my PDA in order to get away from the computer once in a while. I understand your problems with time management because I've been working part-time for a very long time and I know it can be really hard to cope with. I'm only working as a full-time translator since last year and I can tell you it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Now I can really concentrate on my work without having to worry with lots of things, like it happened before.

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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:19
German to English
Alternative to Blackberry Apr 18, 2008

My e-mail provider has an "SMS alarm" service which I can set up with a few clicks if I'm out during the day. It sends me a text message when I get an e-mail from an address on the list of customers I set up, so I just get a notice about messages from those customers, and not spam or other e-mails. The text message has the heading and first line of the e-mail, so I can see what it's about. If it looks urgent I can phone the customer.
I also have a phone with Blackberry and e-mail, but the service is expensive, and you pay to get all your usual spam, e-mails from mailing lists, EBay notices and whatnot, which means I never use it these days.


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 15:19
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Smartphones Apr 18, 2008

I'm in the same page with Margreet, Rebecca and Elisabete. Only, I prefer a smartphone over a Blackberry. The concept is the same but you don't even have to have a plan, you can check you emails with your phone, the smartphone will download only the titles and that'll make you save money, you can download only the messages you're interested in. Or you can get a Wi-Fi phone and use your home's Wi-Fi (or any other place with Wi-Fi).

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Laura Tridico  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:19
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Joining the choir... Apr 19, 2008

I have a BlackBerry Pearl and I love it. I have three kids, but I work almost full-time around their schedules. This wouldn't be possible if I couldn't have access to e-mail during the day, whether or not I'm home. If my clients want to send me a project during regular business hours, I need to be able to respond even if I'm not actually working at that time. With the BlackBerry (or any other PDA device with the ability to download attachments), I'm not tied to my computer, but I don't miss out on interesting jobs. Also, if a client has a question about something, I'm available to answer.

I think if you're regularly away from the computer during business hours, it's a must.


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:19
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Don't switch it off several times per day. Apr 19, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:
On the other hand, if I left the computer on the whole day , I couldn't really concentrate on other things even if there is no correspondence with the client necessary.

I think you should leave the computer on the whole day, for the sake of reliability. I mean, once it is switched on, it's best to leave it on until the last time you use it in that day. Switching them on and off many times will shorten their lives; but, of course leaving them running for weeks or months will consume power unnecessarily. I think the best compromise is to switch them on and off once per day - that's what I do.
Quote from Scott Mueller's book "Upgrading and Repairing PCs":
"When a system is turned on the components go from ambient (room) temperature to as high as 185 deg F (85 deg C) within 30 minutes or less. When you turn off the system the same thing happens in reverse..." "Thermal expansion and contraction affect not only chips and circuit boards but also things such as hard disk drives." "Based on these facts my recommendations are that you power on the systems at the beginning of the workday and off at the end of the workday. Do not power the systems off for lunch, breaks, or any other short periods of time... I'd normally recommend home users turn off the system when leaving the home or when sleeping. "

Oliver


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 21:19
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
If you can't afford a Blackberry Apr 20, 2008

Bin Tiede wrote:
Result: I lose some very interesting job offers, because the client needs an immediate confirmation.


You could set up an autoreponder on your mail program that says "I'm away from the computer for an hour, if it's urgent, call me on my telephone". You'd have to get into the habit of disabling this feature when you're actually at the computer, otherwise you might lose jobs because clients only read the autoresponder.

I wonder if it is possible to delay autoresponders by, say, 1 hour?


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
Agree - autoresponder/cell phone Apr 21, 2008

I noticed that a *lot* of people are using Blackberry(s) and Smartphones, etc., at least from reading that other poll.

My issue is that I almost never accept a job unless I can review the text, and I'm not sure a) if those devices will let you do that, and b) if they do, will they let you do it at a "reasonable" rate? So even if I were notified of a potential job, I would have to be able to check my eMail and open documents.

On the other hand, I can easily set up an eMail autoresponder, as one poster suggested, telling clients to please contact me at xyz number if there is an urgent request (or any other message I choose). Almost all of my regular clients have done this with little or no fuss.

That way they can give me a quick call or text msg, I can let the client know if I'm interested and tell them when I'll next be able to check eMail, or in those few, exceptional cases, confirm the job right away.

Additionally, if you and your clients work with Skype or an instant messaging program, you can leave messages there that clients can check to learn of your whereabouts/availability.


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