Welcome to the blog! This week I take a break from scheduled programming to discuss goal-setting in the languages and translation industry!

One of my best friends hates his job.

And I really do mean ‘hate’.

Every time we chat, he tells me how soul-destroying the last shift was. How back-breaking the work is, how angry his boss and colleagues make him and how trapped he feels in a job with no career prospects – and a three-month notice period.

He describes it as ‘all stress and no challenge’, which is an awful position to be in at work.

 

Getting comfortable with ‘not quite’

So what’s the problem?

My friend has convinced himself that he can’t quit.

He’s not a ‘quitter’. It will let his colleagues down. He needs the money (spoiler: he’d find the same wage for less work elsewhere). It’s vaguely, tangentially related to his field (another spoiler: not really).

The fact is, his job isn’t serving him, his health, his career or his happiness. He’d prefer to be doing a PhD.

 

Life is too short to settle.

People don’t have a lot of time nowadays, and this applies all the more if you’re a business owner.

That’s why it’s vital that you think critically about where you’re channelling the bulk of your energy:

While doing a research project at uni, I found some material I thought would be extremely useful, but every time I tried to work with it I just felt utterly depressed. It sucked the life out of me. Fortunately, a very wise friend told me something I’ve not forgotten since: “Just read the first page; you’ll know in minutes if you’re really going to use it.” She saved me hours of misery in two sentences… and I still aced the project without the material I thought I needed.

This is a concept I now apply to everything in life.

If it’s sucking the life out of me and I’m not the problem (this isn’t an excuse for giving up when things are hard!), it’s got to go – whether it’s a friend, client, hobby or commitment.

 

A real-life example for business

This year, I subscribed to lots of new, fantastic marketing and PR blogs.

Unfortunately, I soon found I didn’t have the time to read them all, and my inbox filled up quickly. I promised myself I’d catch up over Christmas… but when the time came, I felt overwhelmed.

Over 100 newsletters, equivalent to 400 articles? Really?

The task seemed insurmountable, and even more so once I’d gobbled up my favourites – the ones that make me laugh or get me thinking.

I let the rest sit in my inbox for two weeks before I realised what I had to do.

A weight was lifted when I finally deleted them. I’d created a self-imposed burden that far outweighed the benefits of following through.

 

If it’s not in line with your goals, let it go.

It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking something is more important than it really is.

If everyone expects something of you or it’s ‘the done thing’, you may try to convince yourself you want it too – or that if it goes wrong, it’s the end of the world.

In the translation industry, this might be a failed bid for a large job that doesn’t quite fit your specialisms.

Yes, that 60,000-word freight transport documentation sounded fabulous (€€€!), but if you prefer translating internal magazines for airlines, it’s not going to help you be the best marketing translator in your niche.

So when the negotiations fall through or the client/deadline just isn’t right?

Let it go.

Bigger, better opportunities will likely be just around the corner.

 

When deciding on your goals for this year, let go of things that don’t serve you.

If something doesn’t serve you or your loved ones in any meaningful way, why suffer for it?

In my friend’s case, this something is his job. For you it may be a demanding, emotionally draining client who pays less than anyone else but demands all your time and attention.

Or perhaps it’s a specialism you’ve been trying to make ‘fit’ when it just doesn’t.

 

There is a lot of power in decluttering.

And as our New Year’s resolutions take centre stage, January is the time to do it.

Don’t choose your goals based on those of your role models!

Use your time wisely – on things that are better aligned with your personal and professional goals – and you’ll be a happier, healthier freelancer with more energy to dedicate to the things that matter to you.

 

Instead of telling me your resolutions, I want to know what you’re letting go of this year. What is no longer serving you and your business today? Let me know in the comments!

 

Want more inspiration for taking back control of your business?

Take a gander at these productivity-boosting posts:

 

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