Dealing with the pressures of working from home

Distractions and temptations are present in any working environment, of course, but there’s something about working from home that seems to make their allure even stronger. Maybe it’s that being in a familiar environment makes us more relaxed, or maybe there’s

pressure to get your head down and get on with your work when there are no colleagues in sight doing the same. The following are some of the most common issues that freelancers have to work to overcome, along with a few tips on what you can do to avoid them.


Picture the scene: It’s 9 a.m. on a weekday. You sit down in front of your computer – because, as a good and conscientious professional, you certainly wouldn’t start your working day late – and take a look at your to-do list for the day. Let’s see… a couple of invoices to send out, a non-disclosure agreement to fill in for a new client, and a moderately sized, somewhat dry press release to be translated by tomorrow.

Well… it can wait, right? Let’s start the day by reading the headlines. Oh, and you should check in and see what everyone’s doing on social media. That’s an interesting-looking link somebody shared last night, I wonder where it leads to?

Fast forward to lunchtime and you’ve still got nothing done. What’s more, a few more emails containing translation requests have landed in your inbox. Suddenly, your existing deadline is starting to feel a bit like a time bomb. You’ve fallen victim to procrastination.

Don’t let it get to this point. Be mindful of the time you’re spending, both on work and on play. Take breaks, by all means, but don’t let yourself do something fun until you’ve done a piece of work. Finished your paperwork? Allow yourself to read one news article as a reward. First draft of the press release finished? Okay, now you can stop for a coffee. Always get the job done first, then indulge yourself.

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External distractions

As if your own boredom and attention span weren’t bad enough, you may also have to cope with distractions from third parties. If you share your home with family or flatmates, they may come into your office to chat or ask you to help with something around the house. If you have a pet, it can keep demanding attention or food – and we know how hard it can be to resist when they make that face at you. But even if you’re alone in the house, you’re still not safe from people demanding your attention. Phone calls and emails can end up demanding more of your time than you can spare, restricting the amount of time you can spend doing actual paid work.

  • One important thing you can do is to set boundaries.

Make sure that everyone you share your house with knows that when you’re in your office, you’re working and shouldn’t be disturbed unless it’s really important. For the same reason, your office probably shouldn’t be located in the living room or any

area where people will come in on a regular basis. Partition off a space of your own in some corner of the house where you can isolate yourself at least a little bit. And try not to let the cat in.

As for emails, remember that they usually don’t have to be answered the very second they come in. If stopping to read and respond would break your flow of concentration, just ignore the message until you have a few minutes to deal with it properly. Phone calls tend to require your attention more immediately, of course, but you can minimise their impact by keeping conversations direct (but always polite) and avoiding idle chitchat. This will probably also be appreciated by the person on the other end of the line, who presumably also has other things to be getting on with in their day.

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Overworking yourself

On the other hand, working from home can also make it harder to know when the working day is really over. Your work computer is never far away – and if you use the same smartphone for work and personal matters, it can keep chiming with email notifications all night. In the long run, this can leave you feeling exhausted and stressed, like you can never really get away from the job.

There’s no easy way of getting around this except to force yourself to keep your work life and your personal life separate. Decide in advance when you’re going to stop for the day, and when that time comes, save your work and close every window on your computer – don’t just minimise them in case you come up with a way to tweak that one fiddly little paragraph five minutes from now. Stand up and walk out of your office – maybe even go for a walk around the block to clear your head. Don’t answer work calls or emails after a fixed time of day – and if your clients persist in trying to reach you in the evenings or at weekends, politely request that they respect your office hours.

With a little force of will and a sense of professionalism and self-respect, these little tips can make a big difference to your working life. You’ll get your work done faster and more efficiently, and your quality of life can improve immensely. Give it a try and see what it can do for you.

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You can read more articles like this in The Ultimate Guide To Becoming A Successful Freelance Translator. Hurry up to get this ebook at a discounted price until May 31, 2017.

Just apply the code “hannasles30” during checkout to get a 30% discount.

In our ebook we also discuss such important topics as:

  • Why go freelance as a translator
  • The skills and qualifications that translators need
  • The basics of a home office
  • How to make contacts and win your first jobs
  • Translation agencies versus direct clients
  • How to get over the fear of not getting paid
  • Learning to trust a translation agency
  • How much to charge
  • Marketing yourself
  • Social media for translators
  • Finding unique selling points as a translator
  • Technical and marketing translation
  • What does it take to be a literary translator?
  • Top tips for readable technical translations
  • Finding a place for SEO in translation
  • CAT and QA tools
  • and more.

You can start reading right now. Get your copy of the ebook at www.translatorsbook.com or Amazon.

About the authors

Oleg Semerikov
Oleg had a passion for languages and entrepreneurship since he was just nine. That’s why he chose to be a translator and in 2006 successfully started his career as a freelance English-Russian translator. Soon afterwards, he founded a team of translators, which today is a rapidly developing translation agency, Translators Family, based in Poland. Oleg is fond of discovering new trends in the translation industry and applying them to his business. He keeps a blog on translation as well as publishing his articles across a variety of magazines and web resources for translators.

Simon Hodkinson
Simon is a British-based translator who works primarily from German into English. After completing a degree in German Studies at the University of Warwick and spending a year living and working in Germany, in 2011 he set up as a freelance translator, editor and copywriter specialising in marketing and information technology. His experience of life ‘in the trenches’ as a freelancer helped provide practical examples and insights into the real world of translation.

By |2017-11-06T15:56:39+00:00May 10th, 2017|

About the Author:

Oleg had a passion for languages and entrepreneurship since he was just nine. That’s why he chose to be a translator and in 2006 successfully started his career as a freelance English-Russian translator. Soon afterwards, he founded a team of translators, which today is a rapidly developing translation agency, Translators Family, based in Poland

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