This past weekend, I attended the 3rd Annual Conference of the Colorado Translators Association. As usual, I ended up leaving with a head full of ideas on how to improve my translation business, my productivity, and my work/life balance. In the past, that’s usually where it ended. But in the spirit of making 2013 a year of professional reinvention, I decided to actually implement some of my new-found knowledge. Here’s my progress report:

1. Decluttering my inbox

I have a Gmail account where my personal email, business email and “subscription email” (the address I use to subscribe to blogs, social networks, etc.) converge. On any given day, I receive countless emails from prospective and current clients, discussion lists, news alerts, my kids’ schools, friends and family… The email app on my iPhone is constantly going “Bing!” to remind me that yet another message calls for my attention. After listening to a presentation by Corinne McKay about time management skills for freelancers on the weekend, I decided to follow her advice and declutter my inbox by creating filters. I can’t believe I never took advantage of the filters option in Gmail before this week! I now have filters in place for messages from mailing lists, LinkedIn and other social media channels, and various other sources. These messages now bypass my inbox and go directly to their respective folders (or, in some cases, the trash bin). The result: My inbox is almost empty, and my phone doesn’t constantly bother me with new message alerts anymore.

2. Starting a structured note-taking system

During the CTA Conference, I attended a session on note-taking for translators by Riccardo Schiaffino. He recommended a program called CintaNotes for taking notes directly on the computer rather than on post-its – or the only slightly more high-tech version, “Sticky Notes,” which has been cluttering my laptop screen until now. With CintaNotes, I can turn any text on my computer screen into a searchable note simply by highlighting it and pressing Control + F12. That’s even less work than scribbling a note on a piece of paper! There are more advanced features that come with the program, of course, which I will have to explore in the future. But for now, I’m happy to clear my desk of all the random pieces of paper I’ve had lying around.

There you have it, two goals down, a bunch more to go. I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

About the author - Marion Rhodes

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CTA Conference Takeaway - Part 2