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Off topic: How do you improve your productivity?
Thread poster: Ivana Friis Wilson

Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Jun 24, 2008

Being a freelancer is relatively new to me and although I love it, I find it challenging to keep productivity up.

I time myself to track improvement - something I never did when I had a job and it's often rather depressing to see how little I get done in a full work day. 8 hours typically means 5 hours effective work.

To improve my productivity I try to have a 15 min. break after 45-60 min work. I also try to exercise (at the moment, 30 min. jogging 3-4 times a week) as I believe that you cannot expect your brian to work if you don't keep your body fit. But then I get a tight deadline and it all falls to pieces!

I have just put the book "Getting things done" on my iPod and I hope to listen to it when I do the dishes tonight

What do you do to improve productivity?

edited for typoes

[Edited at 2008-06-24 08:12]


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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 13:57
German to English
Similar experience... Jun 24, 2008

I often have the same problem... it's amazing how little you can achieve in a long day at the desk. I find setting goals and stopping work once I have achieved them to be very helpful - you just need to make sure those goals are realistic. That seems to help me achieve a reasonable balance between work and 'play'.

'Remember the milk' can also help you keep track of all the other things that you have to do - I have that set up as my default homepage. So whenever I open up Mozilla I am immediately confronted with all the other stuff that life demands... it might be a good way to avoid the temptation of just surfing the net.

Wordfast may or may not raise your productivity - it really depends what style of texts you work with. I find it very helpful for games and other repetitive material.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is also a nice toy that may or may not improve your productivity - it will certainly provide some much needed relief for your wrists and back. DNS is ideal for longer and more complex texts. I usually do a draft with DNS and then polish it up with Word on my keyboard.

Like you I also find that plenty of sport and regular breaks are also great. But I am not sure if it really raises my productivity or not.

Browsing KudoZ and forums is probably another good way of lowering your productivity BTW...
I often have to pinch myself and say "Get back to work!"

[Edited at 2008-06-24 08:07]


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
DNS? Jun 24, 2008

Hi Damian,

Glad I am not the only one...

Thanks for the software recommendation. So far I haven't even considered speach recognition typing software (is that what it's called?) but I might have a go now. But what is DNS?

I do have Wordfast, but I am much happier with Metatexis.

I am SURE that exercise makes my work better. At university I used to give up swimming and cycling in exam times - untill I realised that the lack of exercise was numbing my brain.


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Doreen Schoon-Hammermann  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:57
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
DNS = Dragon Naturally Speaking Jun 24, 2008

DNS is an abbreviation for Dragon Naturally Speaking ...

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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Time to take a break... Jun 24, 2008

Thanks for clearing that up, Doreen

My brain is definitely numb and it's a bit early in the day for that...


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Haiyang Ai  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:57
English to Chinese
+ ...
Upgrading equipment Jun 24, 2008

As a translator, I think it's a good idea not to save UI equipments. Such as a good keyboard and a wide screen display. My 22 inches Dell improves my productivity, because I don't have to scroll very often.

Regards,
Haiyang


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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Flemish to English
+ ...
Combination Jun 24, 2008

Combine the use of DNS, CAT and machine translation.

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Damian Harrison
Germany
Local time: 13:57
German to English
@ Williamson Jun 24, 2008

Is it possible to use DNS while translating with Wordfast? Where do you run DNS if doing so, in Word or in the dictation pad?

Trying not to hijack here, Ivana.

[Edited at 2008-06-24 11:29]


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:57
English to German
+ ...
Don't listen to self-help books - listen to yourself Jun 24, 2008

As soon as you stop structuring your day by whatever 9 to 5 established structures, you will figure out your personal peak times.

Example: I have a peak time between 11 am and 1 pm (when people go to lunch..) and the again between 5 pm and 8 pm. When people go home from work.

During those few hours I get the bulk of my daily tasks done. I would be an idiot if I would structure my day the usual 9-5 way.

Listen to your own biological rhythm and you will reach your perfect output.


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Jack Qin  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 19:57
English to Chinese
+ ...
Just translate the documents you are familiar with Jun 24, 2008

If the materials to be translated are your specialization, then you can obtain a higher productivity. Otherwise, the productivity will go down.

Jack


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Juliana Brown  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:57
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I agree wholeheartedly. Jun 25, 2008

Nicole Schnell wrote:


Listen to your own biological rhythm and you will reach your perfect output.


I have always worked best under pressure of some sort, and after trying unsuccessfully to sit 9-5, I've learned that I get the same amount done in intense spurts, sometimes in the morning, sometimes after dinner, or a combination, depending on the day.


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Satu Ilva  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 14:57
English to Finnish
+ ...
Finding your own pace Jun 25, 2008

I agree with the people who say find your own best times.

I am useless first thing in the morning, so I usually allow myself a morning surf time while I have breakfast, let the dogs out, put a load of washing on or whatever else needs doing in the house. Then by about 10-11 am I get down to actual work. That's when I get most of my useful work done - this is also because due to time differences I am not distracted by emails and other contacts until later in the day. I find that I can't do a solid 8 hours of translation per day anyway, unless I have to force myself due to deadlines, and then I need to be extra careful with proofing. I try not to overbook myself and set goals for each day depending on my workload. When I reach them, I either stop working for the day or if I feel like going on, I carry on for a bit to ease the next day's load. Breaks are also important but you have to be careful not to let them get too long

What Juliana says about pressure is also true though... if I have only a little bit of work to do, I'm much more likely to procrastinate.


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Yaotl Altan  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 06:57
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly Jun 25, 2008

Jack Qin wrote:

If the materials to be translated are your specialization, then you can obtain a higher productivity. Otherwise, the productivity will go down.

Jack



Exactly, otherwise we'll receive texts for translation....texts on electronics translated by attorneys.... There are a lot of clients losing money acting like this.

I used DNS with windows XP. Later, I bought a new PC with Vista and DNS didn't work. When I thought it was the end of th world, I found out there was a speech recognition system in Vista! It works fine. Maybe, DNS creators are losing money now


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:57
Italian to English
+ ...
I turn my Kudoz notifications to "off" Jun 25, 2008

I never bother measuring my productivity - I've always got a pretty good idea of what and how much I can fit in at any given time and when I'm busy I stop procrastinating and get down to work. The only change I do make is turning off my Kudoz notifications when I'm extra busy.

I already use WF where possible and am meaning to get DNS, but basically the trick is to get on with it.

I'd probably be horrified at how much time I "waste" during the day when I'm supposed to be translating, but on the other hand I find that giving my brain a five-minute break improves my concentration, so maybe I'm actually more productive that way. Anyway, as long as I've got enough money coming in I'm happy


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:57
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for all your input! Jun 25, 2008

Thanks to al, your ways of doing things are a great inspiration.

So far I have narrowed it down to:

* I am not buying DNS as it doesn't support Danish.

* I am going to learn to type properly, without looking at the keys, I have downloaded a free program.

* I am going to keep keep tracking my effective work time, even if it is depressing, so that I notice any change to the worse or better.

* I will *try* to be less active in the forums on proz

*I will keep receiving notifications on Kudoz questions, though, as my language pairs don't have that many. Besides, I ask a lot of questions myself so I like to try and give back to the community.


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