What to do
(when you have nothing to do)
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of work out there (there probably is, but it hasn’t found its way into my inbox).
Yet, I’m feeling strangely fulfilled.
Paid work has been a bit thin on the ground, but I’ve managed to fill my time with lots of other things.
So if you’re in a drought like me, here are some ideas to keep motivated and busy, and stop panicking. I’m sure there’ll be a point later in the year when this kind of peace and quiet would be a dream come true.
Here’s what I’ve been up to:
I was super busy at the end of last year, and my accounting was a state. The first thing I did was make sure that everything was in order in my spreadsheet. And because I did this, I found some money that hadn’t been paid, so it was a good time to chase it up. Win!
Next, on to my CV, which hadn’t been updated in six months, and lots has changed since then. It’s ready to go now if someone asks me for it.
Finally, I did a bit of maintenance work on my spreadsheets and file structure, to better optimise my system and hopefully save time later down the line.
Continuing Professional Development
This is something that every professional translator should be doing. It’s something that I’m doing constantly, but I’ve never actually logged it before. So I did, and it turned out I’ve smashed through the recommended 75 hours without really realising (mainly thanks to LinkedIn and Lupin on Netflix).
But with a bit of extra time on my hands, I was able to go further. I’ve been learning about SEO translation, which I would like to offer in future, and I’ve been doing some more CAT tool training. I know I’m going to thank myself for investing this time when I’m translating like the wind.
Clients don’t generally come to you, it’s normally up to you to make the first move. This is my least favourite part of freelancing. Agency clients come and go for various reasons, so we’ve got to keep making contact with people who might need our services. For some reason, I get all awkward and flustered over doing this, so I’m challenging myself to wheedle my way into 10 inboxes a week and see what effect that has on my workload. I’ve started logging who I’ve contacted and what the result is. Will let you know.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I have to be in a certain mood to either socialise or travel, and when I’m in the thick of a busy period, going out is the last thing I want to do. I’m also not a fan of this time of year, so making a couple of plans has cheered me up. I’m looking forward to a trip abroad with my husband in a couple of months, and a hen do later in the year.
Tackle the to-do list
January was the month that I was finally able to sew on all of the club badges that have been piling up. Then my son went to his club, and got four more badges for me to sew on. I also planted some garlic bulbs yesterday. My house is pretty clean and clear. Except for Mount Ironing. Mount Ironing is the ultimate last resort. Please don’t make me do it.
Everyone keeps telling me to enjoy it while it lasts. I know that this is great advice. It’s hard when you’re panicking about not earning enough money, but I’ve got faith that things will pick up again.
Meanwhile, I’m having fun behind the scenes, because I don’t want to chain myself to my desk and wait for jobs to appear. A watched pot never boils and all that. I’ve been going out for walks, reading books and magazines, cooking, doing puzzles… anything that brings a bit of joy to January.
After at least six weeks of at least one person in my household being ill at any given moment, I’m excited to have a quiet weekend at home this week. We’ve decided to make an ultimate cardboard castle. I’m so excited that I’ve bought a Makedo cardboard construction Toolbox so that we can screw the cardboard together rather than waste a load of parcel tape. (Here’s the affiliate link if you’re interested: https://amzn.to/3GHWYL2). It’s nice to have a non-work project to focus on, and we’re already drawing up epic plans. 🏰
Quiet periods are a good time to write up some future social media posts. Even better now that LinkedIn has the schedule feature.
I’m also using the time to write blogs and articles, so that I have some in the pipeline for busy periods. When I’m busy, these things are the first to go, and they shouldn’t to be honest. They should be a priority.
I also updated my business logo and LinkedIn banner using Canva, and updated my LinkedIn profile. The blank space above my head has been annoying me for ages, so getting that done was a relief. What do you think?
I’ve recently signed up to Charity Translators. It’s a volunteer network that places translators with charities or NGOs to support. You accept projects and activities as and when they (and you are available) – no large level of commitment required. Volunteering is a win-win. Help support charities and communities across the world, and gain precious translation experience.
This month, I’ve also been creating a social media calendar and content for my local museum. I love writing content about translation, localisation and culture, but it’s also been fun to write about something else for a change.
The best thing is, when you come out of a quiet period, you can look back on the good old days and think about everything you’ve accomplished. Try not to worry. Keep plodding on, work on your business in the background, and things will pick up. January sucks, not you. ❤️