Time and Motion Study

I’m keeping a record of how much time I actually spend working. This is because I’m doing a revision, and I charge by the hour instead of by the word. So I need to know how long I actually spend doing it. It’s quite a revelation.

I thought I worked more or less solidly all day, with just a break for lunch, but it’s not like that at all. It seems I am incapable of working for more than an hour and a half at a time. I start off well, but after half an hour or so I begin to slow down. Then I get stuck. I look up something online, and then I find I’m reading an article about dissecting brains on the Guardian website. It has absolutely nothing to do with the paper on Bronze Age Greece I’m supposed to be revising. Before I know it, the best part of an hour has disappeared.

Back to work, for a bit. Ah, I need a pee. On the way to the bathroom I see the washing bin’s piled high, so I think I might as well put on the washing. And since the kettle is near the washing machine, it seems a good moment to have a cup of tea. I’m waiting for the kettle to boil, so while I’m here I’ll just wash these few dishes. That’s another hour gone.

Right, I’m definitely going to get on with it now. I note the time and decide I’ll work for a whole hour before I allow any more distraction to creep in. I remind myself how much an hour represents in euros: every time I get side-tracked I’m throwing money away. And since I’m thinking about money, I decide to check my bank account and see if anyone’s paid me. They haven’t. Back to work.

Distraction comes in many forms, digital and otherwise, although when I start looking up my clients’ addresses on Google Maps I know I’m suffering from an acute case of procrastination. This blog is a form of procrastination, in fact I suspect it’s my attempt to raise procrastination to a fine art. You’re a procrastinator too, or you wouldn’t be reading it. You’re probably another translator.

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