‘Minutes are worth more than money. Spend them wisely.’ ~Thomas P. Murphy
An award-winning, qualified personal performance coach and experienced English-to-French translator, Christelle Maignan is passionate about coaching fellow freelance translators, whether they are new to the profession or have decades of experience under their linguistic belt. With a keen interest in personal development, and over 15 years of experience in the translation industry, coaching seemed like the next logical step in Christelle’s career.
Christelle offers tailor-made sessions to individuals seeking to move their business forward, and also teaches webinars and workshops as a means of imparting her wisdom to the translation community. These webinars and workshops can help to shed light on otherwise overlooked topics such as time management; a concept that does not solely impact on the day-to-day lives of freelance translators. Indeed, Christelle’s hints and tips in this area can equally be of benefit to Project Managers like me.
I was offered the opportunity to attend her ‘Interactive Time Management’ workshop, organised by the Institute of Translating & Interpreting (ITI) in September of last year, and signed up to attend straight away. Interactive and engaging, Christelle’s workshop details useful principles such as organising and planning how much time is spent on specific activities to ensure effective time management. In applying these principles, it is possible to achieve more in less time, even when those all-important deadlines are tight and those all-too-familiar time pressures are high. Work smarter rather than harder – a motto worth its weight in gold!
it is essential that newbie translators recognise the consequences of saying ‘yes’ to everything
Those new to the world of translation are naturally keen to build their experience and can be too eager to please – ironically, it often seems as if ‘no’ is a word entirely foreign to their vocabulary (surely saying ‘no’ is a cardinal sin?) Nevertheless, it is essential that newbie translators recognise the consequences of saying ‘yes’ to everything. For example, deadlines may be missed and free time could disappear altogether, ultimately impacting on their home life, as well as relationships with clients. Think of it another way: by saying ‘yes’ what are you saying ‘no’ to? Alternatively, you could suggest alternative resources if you yourself cannot take on a certain project or reach a compromise.
by saying ‘yes’ what are you saying ‘no’ to?
Managing emails is an issue that most will encounter on a daily basis. If this sounds familiar, David Allen’s two-minute rule could be just what you need! If you decide a task can be completed in approximately two minutes, it would make more sense for this to be done right away as the time taken to schedule or delegate the task and then review it would be greater than the time taken to deal with it there and then. Always try and consider what subsequent steps are involved and this could save you time in the long run.
Eisenhower’s ‘urgent/important principle’, otherwise known as Stephen Covey’s ‘Four quadrants for time management’, involves aligning tasks with energy levels during the day. In other words, when you are feeling less energetic, you should be focusing on the less urgent tasks. Tasks can be divided into four categories (or quadrants): ‘Important and Urgent’, ‘Important and Not Urgent’, ‘Urgent and Not Important’, and ‘Not Urgent and Not Important’. Focus on the important tasks, whether they are urgent or not (e.g. building useful contacts through networking), as opposed to merely focusing on the urgent tasks, which is a trap which many of us fall into.
All in all, the workshop proved to be a resounding success for all those who attended, motivating us all to improve how we organise our day-to-day lives. When it comes to time management, regardless of your Achilles’ heel, Christelle can help you to find a solution that suits you and your lifestyle!
Ruth holds an MA in Translating from the University of Salford and a BA in French and German from the University of Leicester. The latter involved a year abroad, during which she spent five months working as a teaching assistant in Salzburg and subsequently studied in Besançon. Ruth joined the team at Surrey Translation Bureau in September 2014 as a Project Manager, after gaining industry experience as a translation proofreader, working primarily from German to English. She is responsible for maintaining ISO standard procedures and documentation as well as coordinating internships.