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How to Create a Translator’s Home Office that Inspires Creativity and Productivity?

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Freelance Balance / Marketing Basics

How to Create a Translator’s Home Office that Inspires Creativity and Productivity?

As a translator or a remote interpreter (or a web designer!), you spend a long time in front of your computer. We spend most of our week in the office, so it makes sense to work in an environment that inspires creativity and productivity.

Especially since the pandemic has made home working the new norm for many other professions as well, and we get fewer opportunities for leaving our office, it’s important to create a home workspace that enables you to focus on your tasks and is simply comfortable to work from.

Whether you’re just starting your career as a freelance translator, converting from out-of-home office to at-home office or just interested in maximising your productivity, here are a few tips for creating a work-friendly home office.

1. Create a dedicated space that you enjoy working in

Translation demands close attention and concentration. You don’t necessarily need a separate room as your office, but you do need a designated space with no distractions that you can dress up as your own creative work station.

Once you have found that space, try personalising it to your taste. Make it yours!

Hang a painting, motivational quote or beloved photo on your wall. According to Patrick McCrae, CEO of UK art consultancy ARTIQ, art has been proven to increase productivity and creative thinking. He also advises freelancers to paint your office a desirable colour and fill it with motivational images like vision boards. Because what we see and interact with directly affects our well-being.

Not a fan of art or photos? Choose to keep your walls entirely clean if that is what brings you more concentration.

I like to add flowers and a nice card from a customer on my desk to keep myself motivated, and I recently (almost) finished decorating a new office which had a massive impact on my productivity. Working from a space you love can change your day completely!

2. Look beyond a wall and your computer

I saw a post the other day from someone (I think on LinkedIn but I cannot find it!) about how depressing facing a wall is for 8 hours a day and how she enjoyed moving her desk around to a brighter spot and instantly felt her mood lifting. I couldn’t agree more!

Sometimes, something as minor as a desk shift can be enough to help clear your mind and boost your work performance. I, for instance, like to have my desk facing the window (for now) so I can look beyond my computer and refocus my eyesight when I need to. It’s worth experimenting which space works best for you. In my previous space I tended to shift my desk every couple of months, which brought me renewed energy and new ideas every time. Try it!

3. Invest in quality office furniture

A good desk, big screen (or two!) and a comfortable chair adapted to your best posture are the best investments you can make when it comes to enhancing your work performance. If you’re like me and spend eight hours a day or more in front of your PC, you’re going to want to make sure you’re comfortable.

Over the years I have remedied my back problems with an appropriate chair, and my eyesight & headaches by changing the screen I worked from – those were fairly simple things to swap, but it was weeks before I realised that they were causing me pain.

Choose an adjustable chair that supports your upper and lower back and allows you to face your screen without straining your neck. Adapt the chair and desk heights. Also, choose a screen and resolution that is the best for your eyesight – this is not a joke as our eyes are super important. Spend some time figuring those out – your body and mind will thank you for it!

It’s not just an investment in your productivity – it’s also an investment in your health.

4. Light it up

As great as natural light is for boosting your mood, it’s worth supplementing those not so sunny days with good artificial light. Studies show that full-spectrum light sources like daylight desk lamps help to enhance mood, productivity and mental awareness.

Choose bulbs with cool colour temperatures for your workspace and place warmer light temperatures in other areas of the house. Find the strength that works best for you and your eyes.

5. Clear away clutter

Swimming through papers daily only delays your progress. Any clutter accumulating on your desk (or around it, guilty!) will quickly detract your concentration. From your sticky notes to piles of paper, extra books to half-full cups of cold coffee – it’s time to clear them away and make room for items that will pick up productivity. Like your favourite pen, dictionary or glossary that you use daily.

As for your sticky notes and papers, place them in a folder or create dedicated folders for different projects so you can easily find what you need when you need it. I pack everything away in drawers and boxes and leave some key elements outside.

It’s a constant battle for me to keep my desk clean but honestly, every time I clean it up I feel a motivation boost. Every. Time.

6. Spritz productivity-stimulating scents

Did you know that certain essential oils can help you get your work done?

Peppermint can give you an energy boost, while rosemary increases concentration. And if you’re currently handling a stressful project, try sweet orange – it’s proven to ease anxiety. But don’t worry if you’re not a fan of essential oils. Fresh air works just as well at invigorating your mind!

Try letting some fresh air in a few times a day and enjoy the cool (or warm, depending on your location!) breeze while pondering over the next translation task.

7. Allocate a Zoom-friendly call background

Let’s face it, we’ve all had enough of “virtual anything” but it does look like we’ll be doing it for quite a while!

If you’re regularly on Zoom or Skype video calls, it’s worth spending a little time on creating a background that reflects both your work and your values. A dictionary-filled bookcase with the occasional novel, for example, would illustrate both your commitment to your work and your passion for reading.

A white wall with framed quotes that are important to you will look neat and can be a conversation starter on those tougher-to-get-into calls!

You can be as creative as you like with your background. Just make sure it still looks professional and tidy!

What’s in your home office?

It’s often all about the little things when it comes to creating your own personal workspace. Whether it’s a pen you love, a chair that you can spend hours in or a good lamp that brightens your mood, I’d love to hear what’s inside your home office and how you keep your creative juices flowing as a freelance translator working from home!

Share your own tips in the comments below!