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Burnout



Oh yes! I've been there, I've been there several times. Burnout is something that creeps up on you until you don't want to see another computer screen, another email job offer. You feel like you don't want to translate ever again, or at least for a very long time. What is certain is that you're earning more money, and that may be encouraging — it has been for me — but in the long term, you are shooting yourself in the foot, and most likely affecting those around you.


So how does burnout start? Well, it starts with accepting too much work. That's easy to do because project managers, or your direct clients, can oftentimes be desperate to place a job, which means to meet a deadline, which means the satisfied client. No one is keeping tabs on how many jobs you are working on, what time you get up and what time you go to bed. They just keep rolling in your inbox. And if you have any memory of some of the financial crises that have ravaged the translation industry (and many others), you may feel that if you're not working full speed ahead, you may fall into the abyss and see your income plummet.


However, the feeling of burnout — being burned out — can lead you to the exact opposite: not feeling like working or not being able to work as much as you need to or would like to. So, even though you are itching to work more, what has worked for me is to set up a schedule and stick to it. At least most of the time.


Exercise is something that keeps me going. I do CrossFit three times a week and I feel so much better than when I don't exercise.


Having some kind of hobby or people to be with that has nothing to do with translating or sitting at a computer is a good idea. If you have a commitment, a specific day and time that you need, then you will be forced to shut down computer and walk out the door.


Take some time off. No one is going to cross you off their list just because you take a long weekend or even a week, or even two weeks if you're going on vacation. And even if they do, if you attained a full-time income from agencies or direct clients once, then you could do it again. After all, that is a strong point of freelancing. You are your own boss and you are responsible for when you working when you don't work.


So, avoid burnout and enjoy your freelance freedom.

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