Translation musings: “Time is your most valuable asset”

Dec 6, 2016 | First Edition Translations, Miscellaneous

elia conferenceLast week I was in Barcelona (oh, warm and sunny Barcelona, how I miss thee) where I attended ND Focus, the first ever conference for Project Management organised by Elia, the European Language Industry Association. There were about 100 attendees of 29 different nationalities and beyond the great scope for networking (always a good thing), the conference had different tracks that covered time management, negotiation skills and above all, the ability to communicate effectively in order to understand our clients’ needs and passing them on to our translators correctly.

In that way, ND Focus was great in how it reinforced how important project managers are within the language industry. I’ve been a project manager at First Edition for the past 12 years and I’ve always known how essential this position is to keep things going smoothly. However, the conference really hit it home that project managers can make or break projects: a good project manager will ask the right questions to pinpoint and address the exact needs of our client; will negotiate costs fairly for all sides (the client and the translators) so that everybody is happy; and will manage each project with the care, attention and quality control that they need. And we will do that by effectively using our time – and this is perhaps the one specific track from the conference that I thought would be super useful to all of you reading this blog regardless of which industry you work in.

Time management is essential: according to Romina Kohei, the expert who walked us through on how best to use our time, “time is your most valuable asset”. From juggling different tasks during the day to making sure those around you are happy, from learning how to identity and use your peak time (the time during the day where you are most focused and can do your best work) to working toward your goals, this was perhaps my favourite track during the conference. Here is my takeaway – 3 tips – about time management that I’d like to share:

  • Make a list of tasks, prioritize from most important to least important;
  • Identify your peak time: for most of us, this will be between 7 and 11am. Make sure to work on your most important tasks during that time, without any interruptions. This means:
  • Divide your tasks by smaller blocks i.e. check emails between 9 and 9:15 then – if you can, of course – don’t look at them again until you have finished the next important task on your list and so on and so forth.

I’ve started doing this since I came back and I dare say it is actually working: I wrote this blog post in one sitting, as one block during my peak time. 🙂


Post by Ana Grilo, our Commercial Translations Manager