10 New Year’s resolutions for project managers

2021 is nearly over and it’s time to start thinking about what the new year will bring. We wish you productivity and success, and we think we can help you with that! Check out these 10 awesome productivity resolutions for localization project managers.

#1 Optimize your calendar

Your calendar is your best friend when it comes to juggling things happening at the same time. Don’t try to commit every task to memory, it will only lead to frustration and missed deadlines. Instead, make a habit of regularly checking your calendar and adding new tasks or details as you go along. The best way, of course, is to make sure everything is managed in the same place, so try to have one single calendar or a joint calendar that you can share with your team.

  • Don’t rush to commit to meetings that aren't crucial – stop to think before saying “yes”,
  • Keep an eye on deadlines and make sure you set reasonable expectations,
  • Make sure your projects and campaigns don’t overlap,
  • Keep all drafts and files attached within calendar entries if possible so you know where they are at any moment.

Localization manager tip: Smartcat can help with your planning. For example, whenever you look up a freelancer in the marketplace, check their availability to see when you can book them to help you out. Get in touch, set up a task, and get it in your calendar! That way you’ll make sure everything is scheduled in and won’t be forgotten.

Smartcat freelancer profiles

#2 Outsource wherever you can

Delegating can be scary. Will it be worth it? What if the translator isn’t good? These are common fears, but the fact is, delegation is crucial for growth. Delivering projects faster, better, and in higher quantities can only be done through delegation.

Ideally, you should have someone in your team who you can rely on to guide your freelancers. With a carefully planned out process, hiring freelancers can be a lot easier, more efficient, and more cost-effective.

  • Start slow: delegate the easier tasks first.
  • Hire professionals: explore vendor ratings and other key details to help you choose.
  • Streamline processes: manage your team from one place.

Localization manager tip: Smartcat can help you keep things tidy and synchronized in one place:

  • Smartcat’s marketplace is the go-to place to find translators, editors, proofreaders, designers, and even project managers!
  • You can outsource the entire process or, better yet, automate it entirely with Smartcat Autopilot.
  • Or just manage your team and all the tasks right inside the tool.
Smartcat recommended freelancers

#3 Refresh your content regularly

It’s always wise to give your older content a new life, given the benefits you can reap. Needless to say, updating an old piece of content is much faster than writing a new one from scratch.

  • From an SEO standpoint, updating your content with new, more relevant information is a surefire way to help search engines know that it is still worth displaying.
  • Your target audience will also enjoy reading up-to-date information so they will engage with it more.
  • You can also uncover some hidden potential in your old pieces and turn them into something more popular by just changing the format.

Localization manager tip: When it comes to localization, you can count on Smartcat’s connectors. These are handy tools capable of highlighting any content that has changed, which makes it easier to translate into other languages. Update your content, and immediately see what you need to translate.

On top of that, translation memories in Smartcat will also come in handy if you rewrite a content piece and translate it afterward.

#4 Do audience research

The better you know your audience, the better your content will work. Audience analysis is now easier than ever, given the wide range of data available on the internet. As a result, you’ll be able to produce quality work faster and with fewer revisions, simply because you know what your audience wants. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to save a lot on misguided marketing campaigns and unconverted leads.

There are many ways to approach audience research. It could be brand audience (say, Facebook users), common product type users, competitor analysis, demographic analysis, and many others. Try to learn what your customers have in common and make sure your content matches their level of awareness (how familiar they are with the problem and your brand) and go from there.

Localization manager tip: Make sure you know what language pairs you should cover first and how deep you want to go with hyperlocalization. Getting this right will have very positive effects on your results.

#5 Vet your collaborators

Hiring professionals for a project can sometimes feel like a bit of a gamble. You might find a hidden gem or get the complete opposite. Ending up with a poor supplier can be a huge setback for your project, affecting timelines, cost, frustration levels, or a combination of all three.

But this shouldn’t stop you from seeking out the right person for your project. You just need to check for certain qualities more carefully. Thankfully, there is a way to determine that – their score. Most freelance platforms and marketplaces check their vendors’ qualifications before letting them in.  

Localization manager tip: With Smartcat you can go even further. Choose a freelancer and assign them a free test task to see how they handle it. Or go big and scale this process by testing as many suppliers as you like at the same time. Once you’ve done this, assess the results and select the best supplier for your project.

Smartcat test tasks

#6 Prioritize even better

Without the big picture, we are lost in the torrent of ever-shifting details. Without a proper prioritization of tasks, you’ll be less efficient and could miss deadlines or end up with low-quality work. Thus, it’s crucial to organize your work and prioritize like a pro.

While there are many approaches to task prioritization, you need to focus on what’s important and urgent right now. You can try the Eisenhower Method and apply it in a project management tool of your choice.

Localization manager tip: There’s no need to resort to third-party resources for project management because it’s all easy to handle in Smartcat. Oversee all your ongoing projects, their progress, the suppliers or teammates assigned to complete them, and much more. Simply keep an eye on things and make sure the most important things get done first. Don’t get lost in a myriad of small, unimportant things.

Smartcat freelencers

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#7 Stay away from your inbox

While every single one of us is a unique person with unique habits, there are some overlapping approaches to work in general. Some people only shift into gear (me included) when nothing else is competing for their attention. Incoming emails or messages often break this flow, and jumping from task to task can seriously hamper productivity.

Put a stop to it now. Try scheduling an inbox check twice a day in your calendar and only check in then. That way, you can focus on being more productive while curbing an unhealthy habit.

Localization manager tip: Smartcat Autopilot can make email temptation even less of an issue for you. It will automatically communicate with your suppliers and sort out all the details on your behalf.

#8 Automate the trivial

Get rid of the boring and the trivial by automating repetitive tasks. Reducing manual work will not only save you from boredom, it will also make you much more efficient and productive.

There are hundreds of tools that help you automate almost everything, from task status change to customer outreach.

Localization manager tip: Smartcat connectors are a great start with routine task automation. As a localization manager, you should definitely look into your own project flow and see what you can cut out or simplify on a regular basis. We can always help you out with the setup, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

Smartcat Autopilot helps you get the best results with machine translation, post-editing, paying your freelancers automatically, and much more. If you’d like a full rundown of the features, check out the Autopilot whitepaper.

#9 Optimize budget spending

Budgeting looks easy to everyone who doesn’t do it on a daily basis. It’s only natural to look for absolute efficiency in what you do and want to get more bang for your buck. Most people struggle with that and tend to overspend and underdeliver. You don’t want that to happen to you!

A good strategy is to plan ahead for any unexpected events and set aside some of your budget for that. Make a contingency plan in case things get sour. Don’t be afraid to ask your superiors for help if you’re unsure of how to proceed, and figure out the core costs of the project. That way you’ll know what you absolutely must spend money on and where you have a little more leeway. This way you can reduce the risks and ensure a successful outcome.

Localization manager tip: Smartcat is all about efficiency and driving down your costs. Translation memories and Smartwords (a technological mix that will automatically get you the best machine translation possible) can save you up to $0.05 per word and 27% of the time you need to spend on translation. Try it out and see how much you can save straight away.

#10 Address problems before they happen

Any business is risky but you’re safe if you know what to expect. That’s why a clever risk-management system in place will save you time and money, and of course, many headaches. Here are a few tips to start with:

  • Keep a record of past issues to learn from mistakes,
  • Make a habit of reassessing processes and understanding why things didn’t go to plan,
  • Take steps not only to eliminate the consequences of problems but to prevent them from happening again.

Localization manager tip: Avoid human errors by adopting automation whenever possible. Any of the automation options listed above will be of great help.

Final word

Efficiency is great, but the most important asset in your entire arsenal is yourself. Take good care of your own well-being in 2022 and beyond, and never forget that you are instrumental in the success of your projects! For everything else, there is always an approach, a solution, and a helping hand nearby.

Use these resolutions to improve your habits, and achieve more, faster, and for a lot less. Happy New Year, and we wish you great success in 2022!

Daria Andronova
Daria Andronova Content Expert at Smartcat