We all know how it is to be an established freelance translator. You get to a point where you are so overloaded with work that you think to yourself “it would have been easier had I been an in-house translator with a 9 to 5 schedule”. You often find yourself going shopping on a Monday morning and working on a Sunday. But I think that’s what makes our work so cool. We set the deadlines, we set the working hours, and as long as the clients are happy, we’re our own boss and we handle our business the way we want to.
Having said that, I have come to a point in my life where it is nice to have some kind of “working hours stability”, given that I have a family, which requires a lot of time and dedication. So here is how a typical day in my life goes by:
6:30 am: My ‘human’ alarm (yes, that’s my 3-year old kid!) goes off. He wakes up with so much energy and just pulls me out of my bed. I try to snuggle up for a couple more minutes, but in vain, so I get up.
7:00 am: I help my son get dressed and ready for school.
7:15 am: My boy’s breakfast is served. If you have to ask, it’s probably oatmeal or a cheese sandwich plus a glass of milk.
7:30 am: The kid’s off to school and now I can enjoy my morning coffee and browse through my social media feed. I would read a couple of blog posts and reply to some comments and private messages.
8:00 am: I have a quick breakfast and start planning my to-do list.
8:15 am: I always start my day with checking all my emails and replying to them. Only then can I actually begin work.
8:30 am: The actual work begins: I either finish the pending projects I had from the day/week before or I start with the new ones if I had nothing on the previous to-do list waiting to be checked off.
9:30 am: I hate sitting at my desk for more than an hour so I get up to take a quick break, during which I make a few phone calls.
9:40 am: I resume working.
10:30 am: I take my second break and grab a snack (a banana or an apple) and a glass of water.
10:40 am: I get back to my desk and carry on working.
11:30 am: I leave my desk, put on my workout outfit and do a quick but intense workout. I’m currently obsessed with Beachbody’s Focus T25 which was designed by famous trainer Shaun T. It’s only 25 minutes so no matter how many excuses I might want to make, I always have time for a 25-minute workout! The reason why I don’t work out first thing in the morning is because I love to have a meal before my workout as I find that I have more energy this way.
12:00 pm: I take a quick shower then head to the kitchen to prepare lunch. It’s that time of the day where I really feel like I’m actually taking a break from work because I absolutely love cooking and find it to be a great stress reliever.
12:30 pm: Even though I love cooking, I am a very busy career mom and I can’t afford too much time in the kitchen, so lunch is usually a quick and easy (and most importantly healthy) meal that takes very little time to prep and cook. A typical quick and healthy lunch idea would be a grilled steak/chicken breast with a side salad and some oven fries.
1:00 pm: I work for another hour before my son gets back home from school. I also attempt to answer a few more emails and confirm/decline possible translation projects.
2:15 pm: My son’s back home and I have to play Mommy now for a while. I make sure he has his lunch and gets some rest, and then it’s TV time for him and nap time for me!
3:00 pm: I strongly believe in naps although I don’t like sleeping for long periods of time. I take a 30-minute nap and then I’m up again.
3:30 pm: I grab a quick snack (a pear or an orange) and then I head to my desk to finish a little more work. Around this time, I usually finish all legal translations scheduled for the day to be hand-delivered around 4:30 pm to the offices I deal with.
4:30 pm: I prepare a snack for my son and spend some quality time with him. That could be either by going out for a walk or heading to the park.
6:00 pm: Back home, it’s still Mommy time. I prep dinner for the family and then it’s bath and bedtime for the little one. Once he’s in bed, I can sigh in relief and head back to work.
8:00 pm: At this time, I’m exhausted and all I think of is to get it over with the small translation jobs and prepare invoices. I spend around 90 minutes before I actually call it a night at 9:30 pm to enjoy my evening with the hubby.
You might think that I haven’t worked for that many hours all day, but I believe in breaks or else I would go crazy! If you count the working hours which stretch all along the day, they would be around 7 or 7.5 hours, which is fair. Again, this is a typical, normal business day for me. There are of course days that witness crazier, more hectic schedules where I have to skip the cooking, the workout and the afternoon fun time to finish my work, but then again there are days where none of my translation projects are urgent so I have the freedom to take the day off and just sit back and enjoy it, and that’s what I absolutely love about being a freelancer.
Do you prefer an in-house job with fixed working hours or working as a freelancer and being in control of your schedule? Share your opinion below!