You’ll find this post interesting because unlike my usual ‘how to find more work’, I’m going to advocate for finding time off work. This year I worked flat out until the 15th of July and I planned a longer period of downtime right through until the end of September to concentrate on writing the book, developing a new course (stay tuned!) and finishing off my cloud computing research project (you’ll hear more about it, too). Not even two weeks in this downtime, I’m already experiencing the benefits, so I thought you’d like to hear how to make the most from a ‘break’.
I kid you not, take a few days off and just rest. I thought making sure you take weekends off regularly is enough to keep your brain rested, but I only realised how tired I was when I went to the mountains for a few days and I just switched off.
Learn, study, read
As translators, we are privileged already and we’re learning almost with every project. But when was the last time you learned something for yourself, something that sparked interest? I’m enjoying that a lot today, it feels almost like a study break.
Work on a personal project
I’m sure you have this idea, this project you wanted to work on since forever but you never had enough time to do it. I’ve just started working on a little personal project with my family that we’ve been putting off for years, and I can tell you it’s very rewarding.
Update CV, portfolio, marketing collateral
Downtime periods are great for all sorts of reflections and updates. In August, I’ll be going through my marketing materials and tweaking little bits. The best approach is to first carry out an audit (analyse your current situation) and then decide what and how to improve.
Archive and backup your work
If you don’t have enough time to do some archiving and backuping during the normal course of your work, take this time to build up an archive of your projects and go through the existing archives, too.
You probably have a set of processes and some sort of organisation strategy in place, but what happened to me is that the system I’ve envisaged to organise projects, files and folders was too small to manage the complexity of work that soon arose. And then, mid-way through a busy project, I didn’t have enough time to tweak my organisation. It’s going to change soon!
Without much time pressure, I find it much easier to go to networking events and enjoy conversations there. Plan to attend some of those.
Create or develop a marketing plan
Enjoying some clear mental space during downtime, work on your marketing plan. Think about the ideas you’ve always had to promote your business and start putting them into practice.
Research new or niche markets
Usually we’re too busy researching for translation projects and we never have enough time to do any market research for our own business. Now is the best time.
I don’t know about you, but every now and then I feel I miss doing creative things. I enjoy drawing and painting (for my eyes only!), and I know it has a positive impact on my creativity at work, too.
What about you, what do you do in your downtime?
Oh, and have you noticed it’s lesson no. 100? Almost like my blog’s birthday!