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Poll: When I'm overloaded with work, I generally sleep
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 03:28
Mar 26, 2008

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "When I'm overloaded with work, I generally sleep".

This poll was originally submitted by Madalena Ribeiro

View the poll here

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Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
French to English
At the risk of sounding pedantic Mar 26, 2008

it rather depends exactly HOW overloaded I amicon_smile.gif

Like many people, I imagine, it has been known for me to sacrifice some sleep to do extra work, but how much sleep is sacrificed depends how much extra work.....


Fernando D. Walker  Identity Verified

Local time: 07:28
English to Spanish
+ ...
Rest is important Mar 26, 2008

If you want to deliver good quality translations, sleeping enough makes the difference.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
I usually only need 6 hours anyway Mar 26, 2008

... what I give up on instead is leisure time - TV, socialising, exercise - etc. As Fernando says, rest is crucial ... even a quick 20 minute siesta sometimes works wonders...

[Edited at 2008-03-26 12:36]


Eleni Makantani
Local time: 13:28
English to Greek
+ ...
sleep well, work better Mar 26, 2008

If I don't sleep enough, then I'll be sleepy all day. If I'm sleepy, I won't work well. So, I try not to sacrifice on sleep.


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
Sleep is non-negotiable Mar 26, 2008

I often don’t mind working at the weekend or even holidays (like it or not, it’s part and parcel of our work) but I have little or no intention of losing sleep over a translation. I’m phlegmatic by nature and I’m not the least bit ashamed to say that I love sleeping. I even believe that naps are one of God’s gifts to mankind. I should have been born a cat.icon_razz.gif

I’d rephrase the poll question as a statement: “When I’m overloaded with work, I always sleep (period)”.

What I would like to know is if as in other professions that have to lose sleep due to work (fireman, police, doctors) anyone charges “overtime” or “on-call” rates for having to stay up. It seems like it should be the minimum any client should be asked to pay for.


Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to French
I don't sleep... Mar 26, 2008

...if I can't meet a deadline otherwise.
However, I am less and less overloaded to the point where I need to cut a portion of my sleeping time. In such cases, it means that I badly planned my workload. A 12-hour working day is already overloaded.
I had my share of sleepless nights and 3h naps to get things done. Now I am done with it and I just say no.
And I love sleeping too.



Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
+ ...
6-8 hours Mar 26, 2008

I may find it difficult to sleep when I'm overloaded to work (I usually dream about missed deadlines all night), but there's no way I could sacrifice my sleep time - if I haven't had enough sleep, I can't think straight. Simple as that.


Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
3-6 hours Mar 26, 2008

Closer to 6 than to 3, though.
I can work like that for about five days, then I collapse. So I would not recommend it.
Best not to get overloaded.icon_smile.gif

True story: a while ago, I was in bed with the flu. I had no pending jobs and thought I'd use the opportunity to give myself time to rest and fight the flu properly for a change, instead of filling myself up with paracetamol and just keep going....
Anyway, while I was in bed, my husband checked my email for me and found a request for translation of about 10.000 words, deadline in 4 days. So he replies to the client: I can see there's no other project scheduled for this week - she'll take the assignment. At the same time I answered the phone (still in bed) and spoke to another client, who offered me around 6000 words, deadline in 4 days.icon_smile.gif So I thought, okay, I can do that, that's not a lot and I'm not staying in bed for a week anyway.
My husband came up to me and said: hey, you have a new assignment. So I reply: How do you know?! I just negotiated it! End of the story: I had to get out of bed, fill myself up with paracetamol and work long, long hours, 4 days in a row. I did get over the flu, but I definitely felt overloaded.:-)


Deborah do Carmo  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Dutch to English
+ ...
I don't lose sleep over work Mar 26, 2008

Literally or figuratively. Life's too short to worry about work or sacrifice sleep for it. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

It's simple: take on what you can complete properly by the deadline and turn down the rest.

That said, I normally function on around 4-5 hours sleep - always have, weekends included - so there isn't exactly that much to lose.

But it certainly isn't all spent translating, that's for sure!

[Edited at 2008-03-26 18:38]


Ágata Sousa  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:28
English to Portuguese
3-6 Mar 26, 2008

Less than this I simply can't work. But I would rather be able to sleep a little more...

Marie-Hélène Hayles wrote:

I may find it difficult to sleep when I'm overloaded to work (I usually dream about missed deadlines all night), but there's no way I could sacrifice my sleep time - if I haven't had enough sleep, I can't think straight. Simple as that.

I have this type of "nightmare" with missed deadlines tooicon_rolleyes.gif


Mario Marcolin  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to Swedish
+ ...
Sleep often Mar 26, 2008

If very busy I generally start work earlier than usual , but also have at least one long nap during the dayicon_smile.gif


John Cutler  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Spanish to English
+ ...
I understand you. Mar 26, 2008

Ágata Sousa wrote:

I have this type of "nightmare" with missed deadlines tooicon_rolleyes.gif

I wrote a quick poll question a long time ago that never got published.icon_eek.gif

It said something like, "Do you have a recurring nightmare about translations?"



Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:28
Member (2007)
+ ...
Big difference between number of hours asleep and lying in bed Mar 26, 2008

I always allow myself the possibility of 7+ hours asleep ie I go to bed at a not too ridiculous time. However, if I'm really stressed out over problems in either my teaching or translating jobs I don't necessarily make good use of the time.

I usually go fast asleep immediately but then it slowly dawns on me just a few hours later that I'm not actually asleep any more. Then I start trying to solve the problems - sometimes I'm really relieved because I come up with stunning solutions, only to find that I can't remember them next morning. Probably all for the best really as I suspect they are probably not very practical (like changing the text so it's written in the 5th person, or teaching Dutch instead).

Sometimes I'll spend a couple of hours trying to think of a non-existent synonym, going through the same set of words time and time again, and all the time reminding myself that what I really need to do is go to sleep and work on it fresh in the morning.

Before I became a language pro., I could bore myself to sleep by concentrating on saucepans or something equally mundane. Now that just starts me thinking of all related utensils (in English and French), with their spelling and pronunciation, then onto cooking methods, regional dishes and their ingredients, then ...

It makes me want to scream, throw things, get up, etc, but somehow I can't because I'm stuck in that horrible state between waking and sleeping where your muscles are frozen. I generally drift off just before the alarm clock goes, of course.

If anyone has any tips for arriving at "8 hours in bed = 8 hours asleep", I'd love to hear them.


David Earl  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:28
Member (2007)
German to English
Sleep grazing Mar 26, 2008

Whether as a programmer or as a translator, my sleep pattern gets weird when I'm overloaded. I'll work 3-6 hour stretches (depending on the degree of difficulty/creativity/energy load), then nap for 30 minutes or a couple of hours, depending on whatever mystical forces/physical needs need to be re-energized. Of course, it's a behavior pattern, which I don't think many employers would find acceptable.

icon_wink.gif As long as the deadline(s) are met, I remeber to re-stock the fridge (when the stores are open), and I'm happy with it, does it matter?

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Poll: When I'm overloaded with work, I generally sleep

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