Written by Mo Stone
It’s midnight, and you’ve just finished a translation job in order to get it back to your client before a tight deadline. You know your health will suffer from staying up so late, and since you’re a freelancer, you also know you can’t afford to get sick. How can you stay healthy while doing the freelance hustle? Read on for our tips and advice.
Setting Boundaries And Avoiding Burnout
While working from home and being your own boss is great, a lot of freelance translators find that they end up working beyond normal hours and that their work ends up taking over their homes. It’s important to set some rules for yourself in terms of your schedule to keep some work/life balance. Choose set hours and stick to them. You don’t need to be working 9-5, 40 hours per week; simply pick the schedule that works best for you. Working from home also necessitates that you schedule not only your work projects, but also household chores and personal tasks so that they don’t pile up, which could even more work and less balance for you in the long run.
It’s essential to set boundaries with clients as well. While it might be tempting to take each and every job that comes across your desk, this habit could be setting you up for burnout. Raise your rates, take fewer clients, and limit communication to business hours only. Of course, there will always be intense work periods when you have to crunch to make a deadline, but try to make those the exceptions and not the rule.
Maintaining Diet And Exercise
As a project-based worker, it’s up to you to earn money, but it’s also up to you to take care of yourself! Good habits throughout the workday can have a huge impact. Stock healthy snacks like granola bars, nuts, fruit and vegetables to give you energy without the crash that comes from sugary snacks. While coffee in the morning or afternoon is great as a pick me up, it’s not a good idea to drink it continuously throughout the day, as this could lead to dehydration. If you struggle with remembering to drink enough water, a helpful tip is to keep a bottle that is large enough for the whole day at your desk for you to sip on as you work.
Exercise is just as important as a good diet. As freelancers, we often find ourselves trapped at our desks for long periods of time, and all that sitting is simply not good for our bodies. Take a break every so often to stretch and clear your mind. Pick a form of exercise you enjoy, whether that’s walking or cycling, yoga, a HIIT video online, or lifting weights. If your daily workout is something you like doing, you will be more likely to stick with it and make a habit of it! It sounds basic, but if you take care of your health in terms of diet and exercise, you will be at your best in terms of mood, energy, and concentration, optimizing your potential to provide quality translations.
Pro Office Tips
Even with breaks and exercise, you will still spend a large portion of your day as a freelance translator sitting at your desk. It’s necessary to sit with correct posture, you could be doing serious damage to your back and spine by working on the couch or in an uncomfortable chair. Invest in an ergonomic chair or switch up locations throughout the day. Make sure to sit up straight, with your weight evenly distributed, and your feet flat on the floor. Try to avoid crossing your legs, as this will lead to bad posture and constrict blood flow. A good idea could be to spend part of the day standing up. You could do this by getting a standing desk, or by spending certain tasks on your feet, such as taking phone calls.
Another health concern for translators who spend so much time on the computer staring at screens is eye strain. Avoid eye strain by implementing the 20-20-20 rule: after looking at a screen for 20 minutes, look at something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This will give your eyes a chance to rest and prevent them from becoming tired and strained. Use this quick break to stay hydrated and take a sip from your water bottle!
By setting boundaries to maintain work/life balance, managing diet and exercise, and making sure that you have a good office setup that supports healthy habits, you will set yourself up to be a healthy, happy freelancer. Are there any tips that we forgot? What do you do to stay healthy as a translator? Tell us in the comments below!