This time last year, I attended ND Focus, the first ever conference for Project Management organised by Elia, the European Language Industry Association. That first conference took place in sunny, warm Barcelona and it was a great way of meeting colleagues across the industry and to develop further skills as a Project Manager. Needless to say, when Elia announced a sophomore conference in (less sunny, colder but gorgeous) Prague, I was more than happy to attend again.
Although there were different tracks and exercises this year, overall the content still focused on the importance of PMs within the industry, highlighting several aspects of how better to serve our clients and provide the type of good service they expect and need. Two of the best ways of doing that are: being efficient with your time and keeping cool under stress/working under pressure by using Mindfulness. I talked about the former in my recap last year but the latter was more or less new to me – especially in a work environment. Guest speaker Joanne O’Malley was excellent in sharing her expertise and experience and I know I am not the only one who found her track to be extremely useful.
So just like last year, I brought back tips to share with my co-workers and with you – translators and clients alike – because I know how we all find ourselves at times working under stressful circumstances. What should we do to cope better?
- Awareness: be aware of what you are doing at all times, paying attention to your body and mind. Sometimes we get so busy it is easy to lose track of time, to find ourselves in less than ideal situations where we suddenly feel overwhelmed. Stress and overwork doesn’t happen without warning, however – they are a build-up of situations. Be aware of what is happening so the build-up doesn’t hit you like a truck.
- Learning to be with the experience: you have a huge workload and a lot to do. Excellent, you are aware of it – now, learn to ride that wave. Engage with it, run with it, act rather than trying to react to it.
- Making wise choices: how do you act at times of stress and overwork then? Stop and take mindful breaths multiple times per day. Be aware of the curve – when you know you are about to feel overwhelmed, take a step back, breath in and out for a couple of minutes, and step back into the fold with a clearer mind because you took a break to create a space in which you can see different options to act skilfully rather than in a knee-jerk way. Take longer breaks if needed, manage your technology well so you are not interrupted when you need to concentrate, cull your to-do list when possible.
These tips work really well with the tips from last year too with regards to time management: to organise better, learning to prioritise and schedule your tasks.
And remember to always: breathe, drink plenty of water and do go out at lunch time.
(post by Ana Grilo, Commercial Translations Manager)