A Day In the Life of… Rafaela Mota Lemos


January is typically a struggle with blues. So, I give you the sunny life of a fellow translator (working from EN, IT, ES, FR > PT ) and friend who likes travelling, blogging and being an all-year-round smiler. Welcome to Rafaela Mota Lemos 🙂

I’m currently carrying on a personal project as a digital nomad. I have picked 5 cities I wanted to live in (Rio de Janeiro, New York, Tel Aviv, Naples and Luanda) and I’m challenging myself to live 3 months in each one of them. Of course, since each city has its own rhythm, my routine changes accordingly. I’ve been to Rio and New York already (where I spent most of 2014). Now I’m back in Lisbon for a few months to focus on my business and on the  launching of my brand, Kaiango Communications. In May, I will move to Naples and in September to Tel Aviv. In the meantime, I’m writing everyday stories on my blog or Facebook.

My homebase is sunny Lisbon, Portugal, but I will talk about my usual routine no matter where I am. I will be in Portugal for 3 months now, focusing on my brand and my business at Kaiango Communications.

8 am

I usually wake up at 8 am. My alarm clock is N’Teri, a song by Mali musician Habib Koité. Waking up to this beautiful African melody sets the tone for the day. Before I had Joni Mitchell and I my days tended to be kind of sad.

I know this is frowned upon by all the productivity and wellness gurus, but the first thing I do is to reach for my iPhone. I check my email (most of my clients are on CET time, so I usually have already some emails on my inbox at 8 am) and I check my Facebook and Instagram feed. Every time I see Valeria’s pictures (or Sara Colombo’s) working out or going for a run, I always think: yes, I should definitely start exercising. Then, I turn to the other side and sleep for 15 more minutes.

When I finally get out of bed, I jump in the shower and do my morning routine. And usually taking care of my afro takes 80% of my time.

I never have breakfast at home. In Portugal there’s this beautiful tradition of “going for coffee” early in the morning, so I like the social aspect of that. I have a local coffee shop where I ask for an espresso, have some bread or a banana, hear the news and have some human contact before heading to the office.

9.30 am

I work at a coworking space in Lisbon. It’s called CoworkLisboa and it has an amazing community. Working with colleagues from several fields (designers, accountants, developers, journalists, lawyers) inspires me and gives me a good perspective of what people are working on in my country. Even when I’m travelling, I always work from coworking spaces (I did it in Brazil and was able to meet some of the most creative people in Rio de Janeiro and in New York, as coworking spaces are very expensive I’d spend my days in coffee shops), as this is super important for my balance as a freelance worker.

11 am 

This is the time when I’m most productive. I normally use the Pomodoro technique when I have tight deadlines: I divide work in 25-minute chunks. This helps me keep the focus. No Facebook, no email, no cell phone during this time. Only work. I can translate up to 500 words in 25 minutes, can you imagine? So, using the Pomodoro technique I can easily translate 2,500 words in less than one morning.

1.30 pm

When I’m working at the office, there’s always someone to have lunch with. I always eat outside as stepping out of your desk and your computer is healthy and promotes well-being. I prefer to not eat carbs at this time, because it slows me down in the afternoon. However, when I was living in New York (from October to January), my favourite treat was having organic chilli for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in the Flatiron District. And a glass of wine too… It always made me happy and warm 🙂

5 pm

I do enjoy drinking some tea in the afternoon. This is the time when I start getting distracted and checking Instagram more than I should. Sometimes I draft a blog post or a Facebook post and get excited with all the commenting: that steals my attention away from everything else. “Hi, my name is Rafaela, and I am a social-network-aholic”.

7-8 pm

Usually my colleagues leave the office around 6 p.m., so I can be more focused again around 7 and 8 p.m. I tackle my to-do list and usually make plans for the evening. I love going out for dinner with my friends, so usually we hit downtown for some wining & dining.

1 am 

I normally go to bed late. I do some writing in the evening and catch up with blog posts (I’m totally addicted to the best iPhone app ever, Zite: it gathers all the articles on the web according to your interests. Lately I’ve been journaling (something that I only used to do when I was 13) and this is my winding-down moment. I started journaling back in New York when I was too busy or uninspired to blog, but at the same time I wanted to log some events or feelings I was experiencing. If I don’t have any work to do, I’d watch some TV shows on my laptop.

Thanks, Rafa!

Share the series using the hashtag #ADayInTheLifeof.

2014: Rainy London’s end-of-year review

Put your best dress and shoes on. Eat up this new year!

Put your best dress and shoes on. Eat up this 2015!

I promised that I’d do this again, as I did for the past ones, 2012 and 2013. It’s a grey Saturday and I’m trying to tidy up my inbox and my ideas to start the next week in style. As you may remember, I could say that 2013, well, was well below special. As my grandmother said, it’s just like when you buy a shiny apple. For as gorgeous as it may look from the outside, that’s all you see. You cannot be inside the fruit until you bite it. I don’t have many good memories for 2013, apart from the interesting events I attended, perhaps – even at my lowest, I always try to nurture my professional skills and grow – and the socialising part, while I was at it. So, after a year that I would easily forget – I tend to do that when things are not as I like and it is a good strategy, just turning the page and try to move on – how is the balance for the long-awaited 2014? 
Look up to the sky and believe you can.

Look up to the sky and believe you can.

What can I take away from this year?
  • My health: it stayed a priority, even though I was overworked and the sickness had the most of me. I was sick almost the entire month of November and part of December and interpreting like crazy did jeopardise my health even more. But I came out of it. Takeaway? Don’t overdo it and carry propolis with you ALL THE TIME!
  • Work-wise, as last year, my second half of the year was crammed with interesting projects and work;
  • Travelling: this year was exceptional and (re)visited Porto, Bilbao, Madrid, Braga, Glasgow, Faenza, Bologna, Mantua, Paris, California, Barcelona, Croatia, Logroño, Derby, Castellón, Valencia, Forlì, Lyon, Bratislava, Budapest, Athens… and many more. I’ve been very lucky AGAIN;
  • Networking: don’t even get me started. And I am so proud of some of the people who really enjoyed my talks and sent me so many notes to say thank you for the inspiration they found in me. THANK YOU indeed and well done, you!
  • Family: it’s a cliché but the more I grow up, the more it’s obvious that I should have cared for them more. And care more now. Do it. Seriously.
Have a look at the best visuals from this year on my Instagram

What I want to achieve in the New year:
  • exercising – better and with new goals to feel fitter and more energised.
  • being more organised. To some, I may look very much so, but there’s a lot of room to improve. Especially in the way I track work and clients, or set goals.
  • start a new, non-translation-related blog – I shall keep you posted on this.
  • refreshing my Portuguese – I know it’s been on the list for ages but hey, I’ll make it.
  • cleaning my closet: I’ve got CLUTTER I do not need or wear or use or want. It’s a good start to live a more organised life.
  • writing (and/or translating) a book and starting new exciting projects.
  • seeing more art and exhibitions. This year I loved the one on Horst in London and the one on Givenchy in Madrid.
  • saving more and starting a pension – alas, I’m almost 33, folks!
  • keeping on being just who I am – WYSIWYG.
  • enjoying the little things. I recently found myself failing badly at this. It does not necessarily mean that I don’t enjoy watching a pink sunset or eating a good ice cream – I prefer pizza, but you get the picture! But sometimes you just need to stop and realise you’re enough; and that little things are cool; and they are the salt of life. Sometimes things do not give me any feelings as before, and I believe it’s called “can’t-get-enough syndrome”. Yet, just because you’ve done many things or seen many places, it does not mean you shouldn’t be amazed at the idea of a trivial thing, like – say – a puppy or a new set of oven mitts. And I want to change that. Starting from the little things.
  • finding new clients and shaping my business in yet a new way, under the idea of diversification and stratification.
So did I manage to stick to my resolutions from last year?
  • Efficiency. In everything I do -> STILL WORKING ON IT
  • Early starts. Follow my #earlyrisingchallenge on Twitter -> I FAILED. Miserably!
  • Exercising, more and better -> CHECK, YES!
  • Routines, because they are good for mind, body and soul -> ON MY WAY…
  • More CPD and traveling for work -> CHECK
  • More content on my many platforms. And more #rainytips -> CHECK
  • Publishing an e-book -> FAILED! STILL WORKING ON THIS.
  • Focused business plan: where I am, where I want/need to go -> NEED TO IMPROVE.
  • Learning Portuguese (hey, seriously this time) -> AGAIN! FAILED!
  • Getting myself a proper holiday -> FAILED! I did travel but never for relax.
  • Continuing finding more direct clients and people who appreciate my work ->IN PROGRESS…
  • Keeping up with my blog – and making it more client-oriented, with fresh content and interesting stuff -> STILL WORKING ON THIS!
  • Working hard with Rainy London Branding, helping more colleagues finding their brand and voice -> I AM HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS. Thanks to those who believed in me and Fabio.
  • Continuing being an inspiration for many (THANK you everyone for making me such a lucky person!) ->HOPEFULLY. Only you can tell that.
Here’s was I took from last year’s strategy and re-applied:
– I relied on my closest circle: this was thanks to some people that really made the difference this year. THANK YOU.
– I believed in it. You can be your worst enemy. Just keep busy.
– I trained hard: very much to stay focused. It does help. See more here
– I networked a lot: that is where you find inspiration – again and always – and a source of fun, friends and work.
In 2015 I want to… be more ME. How’s that for a change!?
In a nutshell: I want / need just light, positivity, truths, friendship and little things. Along with travel, lots of coffee, photography and seflies, why not – as a way to create memories – and more structure. Too much to ask for?
I wish you a smashing 2015.


#inspire #workhard #love #rainylondon

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