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.

About Val

London-based Rainy London Translations is offering a full range of top quality interpreting, localisation, translation, consultancy and voice-overservices for both businesses and individuals. Need something else? Just ask! It may sound like a cliché, but just get in touch: what you need can be done, at a reasonable price. Valeria is also offering a 'branding' clinic service, to help freelancers find their perfect business name or polish the existing identity by finding a logo, a tagline with sound creative consultancy. Based in the City of Westminster area, the heart of London, UK, since August 2011.

One response to “A Day In the Life of… Rafaela Mota Lemos

  1. Thanks for sharing, Valeria! Rafaela- what a great routine! Your digital nomad project sounds wonderful- has made me want to go travelling again! Maybe one day soon:). I also work in a coworking space but in London- you’re so right about having balance as a freelancer- I certainly feel as though the space I work in gives me that and it’s really important for me too. If you’re ever in London feel free to come in and join me for a day! Take care and keep on with your adventures! Claire

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