METM15 presentation

The right mind-set for the job: a customizable map for time management

Susana Valdez, Lisbon, Portugal
Organizational skills are a transferable and transversal tool for most professions, and even more so for freelancers and small business owners. Translators and editors are asked to juggle between high-volume projects with short deadlines and replying promptly to emails, invoicing, and other administrative tasks. In this demanding and fast-paced profession, the key to success is the ability to create a plan and stick to it. But how many of us were taught to be a competent jack-of-all-trades and have enough time at the end of the day for our personal lives? Many freelancers express the frustration of having to work through the night or at weekends to keep up with the demands. Not only that, but also the inability to keep up with emails and dreaming of the so illusive inbox zero.

Ready-made time-management solutions tend to be foreign and non-adaptable to evolving challenges. Translators and editors need a versatile solution that can be adapted to new challenges as needs and goals change. With a practical approach to productivity, the aim of this talk is to propose — through examples about the top time management problems that we as translators and editors face — varied solutions in order to create a map customizable to our tasks and needs so that we can achieve real and attainable short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. The solutions are based on the 80/20 principle (Koch, 2000), time-management best practices, and advice from productivity and translation gurus like Anna Vital, Marta Stelmaszak, Steve Jobs, Mark Hurst, David Allen, and Tim Ferriss. With these solutions in mind, I will help participants build their own customizable map of time management, i.e. a mind map of priorities for every working day adaptable to the evolving challenges. Participants can then visually refer to this map every morning in order to help create their to-do list for the day.
Susana Valdez – author of the blog O Tradutor – is a scientific and technical translator (since 2004), an invited professor at NOVA University, and a translation studies researcher at ULICES. She has attended postgraduate courses in translation studies (Lisbon University, Portugal) and terminology (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain), and holds an MA in translation studies (Lisbon University, Portugal). She is currently working on her PhD in specialized translation.