This past week, I said adios to full-time teaching and hola to full-time translating. The last three years I have been getting up before the sun to squeeze a few hundred words in before heading to school. On my lunch break, I became quite skilled at answering emails with one hand while scarfing down a sandwich using the other. Then, after dinner I’d curl up on the couch to finish any translation while insisting that I was definitely watching the Cav’s game (wait, who just made that shot? Thank God for replays). I worked every weekend, all weekend. All of this to the detriment of my back, my marriage, my energy level, and my social life.
I am so looking forward to a new rhythm of life, perhaps still chaotic and busy, but at least I can focus on being great at one job. I am also looking forward to creating a schedule and space that work for me and allow me to maximize productivity. Here’s what I need to create this:
- Reliable hardware with sufficient RAM
While I love my Macbook, and it is still pretty reliable considering its age, I needed something that could run translation software programs without sounding like it was ready for lift off. Based on reviews, friend recommendation, and the price, I purchased an Asus Zenbook. The jury is still out on how I feel about Windows 10. I’m also nervous about compatibility issues with some of my CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools, but that’s for another post. For now, I’m trying to become a PC person. Yikes!
- Ergonomic workspace
My back and neck are already thanking me for purchasing the Wobble Stool from Uncaged Ergonomics. It is a perfect addition to my adjustable sit/stand desk. I try to alternate standing and sitting every 30 to 40 minutes, which gives me an opportunity to move and get my steps (Hey, Fellow Fit Bit Buddies!). I also elevate my monitors to make sure that they are at eye level, so that my neck stays straight.
- Homey office space
A few months before making the official transition, I painted my home office. I needed a place that felt like my own. I organized my bookshelf so that all my dictionaries are within reach. My small mola collection and art from a local artist will be added to the walls very soon. Is this what they call nesting?
- ¡Música, Maestro!
My workspace is not complete without a little music. This article gives some interesting insight into what kind of music can be distracting and what can increase productivity. Here are my favorite albums to play while I work.
William Tyler – Impossible Truth -Indie-Folk-Rock-Pop guitar
Sigur Ros – Med Sud I Eyrum – Icelandic post-rock
These three albums are either instrumental or a language I don’t speak (Icelandic!). If I listen to music with words in a language I understand, I inevitably starting singing along (which is why Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” will forever be banned from my work playlist) or paying attention to the lyrics instead of just allowing it to be background noise.
And last but not least…
- A human-sized dog bed for Timo.
When I didn’t have a place for him to lay down in the office, this ball of energy would just wander around and demand my full attention. Since he is a one-year-old puppy, I really don’t expect him to be a calm anytime soon, but this at least gives him a place to chill out while I work. I also have an arsenal of hooves, peanut butter Kongs, and rib bones to keep him distracted until we can get out for a walk.
With all of the above, I am ready to jump into the full-time freelancing world!
What do you need to be productive in your workspace?