KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How Does an Editor Switch Mental Gears Between Projects?

A colleague asked me today, "What techniques do you use to transition from one project to the next within the same day?" She asked because yesterday I had posted to my Facebook wall that I was switching mental gears to move from editing Japanese medical English to editing a historical novel.

I replied that these are the steps I take:

  1. I move away from my desk for a few minutes and do some physical task or go outdoors for a while.

  2. If I had been sitting when I finished the first project, I stand up to start working on the next one. And if I had been standing, I sit down.

  3. When family members are home, I try to get them to give me total silence for a few minutes while I start the new project. With my husband and two sons having attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, I don't always get that silence, so sometimes I use my cabinetmaker husband's hearing protection (which looks something like this) for a little while.

If you're an editorial professional, how to you switch mental gears? Please share your techniques in the comments. Maybe some of your tips will be helpful to a colleague.



ErinBrenner said...

I get up and take a break or do a quick chore, like shifting the laundry. I might do a five-minute task instead, such as scheduling an appointment or quickly answering an email.

Stephen said...

I try to step away from the computer (though admittedly sometimes succumb to perusing social media sites), at least away from my workspace, preferably stepping outdoors for a few minutes. Fresh air and some form of nature usually do wonders to clear my mind and shift gears.

Unknown said...

I find that doing the business housekeeping for the project (emailing the invoice and, for print jobs, packing up the proofs) gives me mental closure and readies me for the next project.

Unknown said...

I have to switch between editing projects less often than I switch between editing and writing. Regardless of the sequence, however, when moving from one project to another, I always take a pronounced detour of some kind. This can include answering emails or social media, but as a form of writing, it has to involve leaving the desk--if only to put away books or papers, but more often to get something to eat of drink, or run an errand.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

It sounds like we all find a change of activity helpful.

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