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‘Tis the season for no work/life balance December 12, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Random musings.

My fellow translators on Twitter are commenting how clients are throwing tons of work at them in the end-of-the-year-rush-to-get-things-done. Traffic on Twitter has been fairly light as a result. I have been pretty busy too, as is evidenced by the lack of posts in the blog recently, but (like most people) I have been trying to get holiday preparations finished while attending to my uncle’s estate (not like most people). For example, we pulled up the carpets in the house last week, but I haven’t put them on the curb for the garbage men yet. They can wait… I have my Christmas letter printed and now all I have to do is print the labels and send them out. I have my tree up and the lights are on, but I haven’t gotten around to putting the decorations on it. I threw up a few decorations on the mantle yesterday in preparation for the meeting of the NOTA Executive Board that I hosted (my first time in 8 years when I wasn’t in charge – it was wonderful!), but my apartment is a little lacking in the decoration department. I imagine that will change in the next few days, because we are getting a huge snow storm any minute now that is expected to last through Wednesday. I plan to be snow-bound, so hopefully I will get everything I need to get done finished. Is it bad that I am actually looking forward to the snow storm so that I will be forced to stay inside? I’m all stocked up with food, blankets, hot cocoa, etc.

Managing a work-life balance can be tough this time of year. How do you handle the end-of-the-year-rush and balance it with family and social obligations? It certainly isn’t easy. It is a matter of prioritizing and only doing the things that are most important to you. Do I need decorations on the tree? Not necessarily… Do I need to attend every holiday party? Not necessarily, but there are a few that I absolutely want to attend. The rest can slide. You can’t do everything and maintain some kind of healthy balance. My stress level has been off the charts lately (as I’m sure is the case with most of you too), but I am doing what I can and not kicking myself about not being able to do everything. Once you have enough work to keep you busy feel free to refer a colleague to the next client who contacts you. Do some of the end-of-the-year business stuff at the beginning of January once the holidays are over. Make sure you get out and exercise to get rid of some of that stress. Most importantly take care of yourself, because you won’t be any good to anyone if you burn out.



1. Corinne McKay - December 13, 2010

I agree with you about prioritizing and letting go of the to-do items that you don’t really care about. My saving graces are minimal house decorations, small but meaningful homemade gifts for family and friends, and lots and lots of hot yoga 🙂 I also really, really try to get things done early so that vacation actually feels like a vacation. Great post!

2. Tess Whitty - December 14, 2010

My best friend these days is “Online shopping” and I am happy to pay the extra fee for wrapping. Lots of time saved there. I get my holiday cards online too, you can even have them mailed online. Speaking of mailing, you can have the post office pick up packages for you.

Grandmother from Sweden was just visiting and she took care of all the holiday baking. My children help wrap presents (both have stopped believing in Santa), and decorate for Christmas.

My dear laptop follows me to all the childrens rehearsals and of course the word “No” helps out sometimes.

Happy Holidays to all, with emphasis on happy!

3. Judy Jenner - December 20, 2010

You are right; it has been extremeley — very crazy work month thus far. We preserve our sanity by turning down projects and referring colleagues. We also shop for presents all year long (and keep them in a basket), so there’s no shopping craze in December (and we do minimal presents anyway). We try to focus on the most important handwritten holiday cards, and if we get more than those done; great, if not, that’s OK, too. After a hectic first two weeks for my translator/interpreter association, I am also taking it slow for the last two weeks of the year in terms of administrative work.

Last but not least, asked a great new repeat client to reduce the amount of copywriting words for the next week so I can head out of town and we can go whale-watching off the coast of California.

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