Bad Habits

It's time to confess that, not surprisingly, we have plenty of bad habits. Some of them are translation-related while others have to do with business practices. We would love to hear yours, but we figured Judy would start out with a list of her bad habits:

  • Eating at my desk. I know it's good for you to sit at an actual table, enjoy a meal and not multi-task while eating. However, for one reason or another, I frequently find myself at my desk, wolfing down my miso soup or organic kale salad while trying to prevent getting food on my keyboard. This is not a very relaxing way to spend my lunch break, and I shall improve on this.
  • Shiny object syndrome. While I am quite proficient at working at several projects and assignments at the same time, I do have to admit that I frequently stop what I am doing to turn my attention to new and perhaps more interesting (if not more pressing) things. I've tried to not check my e-mail every five minutes, but that does not to seem to work very well. Going after shiny objects is definitely a bad habit.
  • Not getting up from my desk frequently enough. While I try to do some sort of physical activity every day (Bikram yoga, running, tennis, stretching, weight lifting), I do have a tendency to get very highly focused on some projects and tend to forget time. My unofficial goal is to get up once an hour to do sit-ups and triceps dips, but I must admit that doesn't happen that often. I must improve on this.
Next time we will bring you a list of Dagy's bad habits. In the meantime: what are your bad habits? Please share them by leaving a comment!


11 comments:

Adri on February 25, 2013 at 2:18 PM said...

Hi, I guess nobody wants to confess. I will!
I don't eat at my desk, in front of the computer (mainly because my husband doesn't allow food outside the kitchen and the living room!), but I do eat in front of the TV - which is not good either. But we have so little time to see the shows we like...

I also stay on the same position (sitting down!) for too long. I manage, though, to get out of the chair every hour or so.

I go to bed too late, and I don't sleep enough. And I know I could improve on that, if I could be more organized with my time (and stop looking at shiny objects, as you said!).

Lack of exercise... hmmm, this should be the first item! As with sleeping, I'm sure I could do it with more discipline at the working hours.

Procrastination with everything that is not the translation itself. Invoices, organizing the office, my closet, preparing health options for lunch and dinner, etc...

Well, they say you must recognize you have a problem, and only then you can do something to change it. :-)

Adri on February 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on February 25, 2013 at 8:56 PM said...

@Adri: Thanks for being brave and for going first! :) It sure sounds like we have similar bad habits. Too funny hubby doesn't let you eat outside the kitchen and the living room, but it's probably a great idea! Thanks for reading and for commenting.

Mulleflupp on February 25, 2013 at 11:43 PM said...

Well, let's hope that being aware of one's weaknesses is indeed a first step… "Einsicht ist der erste Schritt zur Besserung."

• I have to confess being affected by the Hänsel and Gretel syndrome alias breadcrumb trail alias Wikipedia trap, i.e. when wanting to look up just one little thing online, I come across an interesting link which leads to another interesting article which…

• Another big problem for me is not moving enough, be it during or outside of office hours. I'm aware of the problem for a long time, and it is always the same: "I really have to start looking after myself" but somehow there is always something apparently more important.

• Since I'm on the rather geeky side of the translation business, it sometimes happens that I spend more time trying to find (or to write myself) an application, script or program which can help with a particular problem related to translation memories, termbases or bilingual files than it would have taken to fix the problem manually.

Mulleflupp on February 25, 2013 at 11:45 PM said...

Let's hope that the German saying "Einsicht ist der erste Schritt zur Besserung." is indeed true!

• I have to confess being affected by the Hänsel and Gretel syndrome alias breadcrumb trail alias Wikipedia trap, i.e. when wanting to look up just one little thing online, I come across an interesting link which leads to another interesting article which…

• Another big problem for me is not moving enough, be it during or outside of office hours. I'm aware of the problem for a long time, and it is always the same: "I really have to start looking after myself" but somehow there is always something apparently more important.

• Since I'm on the rather geeky side of the translation business, it sometimes happens that I spend more time trying to find (or to write myself) an application, script or program which can help with a particular problem related to translation memories, termbases or bilingual files than it would have taken to fix the problem manually.

Kim said...

Great advice! Especially about sitting and (versus) exercise. I'll just add that since a scary blood clot episode years ago I've made a practice of setting a kitchen timer at 11 (eleven) minutes at the far end of my office before I sit at the computer. When it goes off with an irritating buzz I have to get up and stop it and maybe take a quick stroll around the house before I set the timer again and resume work. It doesn't cost too much time or disrupt my concentration.

It may sound extreme but it works for me, and I urge my wife and other people I cherish to get up frequently from the machine.

Bad habits? Sometimes I don't feel like getting an early start on the day's quota and put it off until mid-morning. But the alternative is poverty and disgrace.

Let's see: time to check my emails!

Tim Windhof on February 28, 2013 at 8:40 AM said...

My number one bad habit - caused by the occasional feast or famine syndrome - accepting too law rates!

Judy Jenner and Dagmar Jenner on February 28, 2013 at 11:10 AM said...

@Mulleflupp: Thanks for commenting! Looks like we have very similar bad habits, well, except we are not nearly sophisticated enough to write a script to solve a techie issue. Very impressive.

@Kim: Thanks for your insight. We love the suggestion about the kitchen timer. Brilliant! You are absolutely right: blood clots are very dangerous indeed. That said, let me put the laundry in the dryer.

@Tim: You are killing us. :) Accepting low rates is not a bad habit, it's a cardinal sin! We recommend spending time on professional development, doing client acquisition, getting files organized, or just taking a rest when you have no paid work rather than accepting low rates. More work will come: it always does. Accepting low rates is not good for your budget and not good for the industry. Thanks for confessing, though! Here's to feast, not famine.

Silvia DAmico on March 8, 2013 at 9:30 AM said...

Here is 3 different aspects of one of my bad habits:

1) When I get stuck on a word/sentence, I start checking all my social network accounts as if I would find inspiration.. and waste probably 5-10 mins every time!

2) When I remember a to-do item, or simply think of a new one, I have the urge to do it right away. Instead, I should write it down and do it later.

3) In general: I struggle with focusing on work for too long (like 2 hours straight): I have to get up and get a snack or water, do some house chores, answer emails and other minor activities.

Stephanie Mitchel on March 8, 2013 at 9:41 AM said...

Ooh it's nice to be able to share this - my bad habit is the opposite of some of yours: getting up too often! and also clicking over to social media sites. I blame Linguee - it's a great resource, but getting out of Trados or Word to get over to Chrome means it's only too easy to go see what friends are doing on Facebook. I try not to scold myself too much - after all, we aren't machines! - but I do wish I could ignore it more easily.
Another bad habit is letting invoicing be the last thing on my list when I'm swamped. It should be the first thing I do after I finish a job! I'm getting better at record-keeping, so I know I can get better about submitting my invoice along with the translation.

mohammadchughtai on March 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM said...

I am exactly the same way - all three of those bad habits apply to me. Another bad habit I have is getting lazy with emails - sometimes when I know an email has a late response deadline, I will put it off till the very last moment. Definitely something I have to fix and definitely holds me back from increasing my productivity.

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