How Do You Fight Creative Burnout?

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By: Alexander Bulat February 20, 2016 8 minutes
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Creative burnout is a term familiar to most freelancers. Those who faced it, for the whole life will remember feelings of guilt and despair, which arose from the fact that one have lost the ability to create something new, since freelancer’s work is actually building something new.

Of course, creative burnout does not appear out of nowhere – to burnout, you need some time of intensive “burning” work. This whole problem is that a freelancer’s schedule is not fixed, especially when the project is very interesting and very complex, one can work daily and nightly to get the job done.

Perfectionism and a desire to earn more – are the two main causes of creative burnout. They make freelancer work 16 hours a day (or even more).

The same as procrastination, creative burnout syndrome is a psychological phenomenon. Diagnosing it is simple – a person feels exhausted, his actions and productivity drastically reduce and he can’t cope with even with the easiest task. Later comes the apathy, a step-sister of the burnout.

But What Should You Do if You Feel Creative Burnout Coming?

To avoid fatigue, we must be able to plan the work effectively. Most often freelancers burnout before the deadlines, when the project needs to be finished urgently, and the progress bar still shows 10% completeness… Freelancer starts working without breaks and rest, drinks gallons of coffee, eats junk food and almost never sleeps. Then, after spending some time in the terrible stress, he passes the project to a customer… and feels that he’s burned out.

Having several subtasks in one task, that’s too bad. He could probably finish them, but there’s a monstrous effort of will needed, that will only aggravate the situation. Just because the work was badly planned, he could have had time to rest and he would hardly face the burnout.

Don’t be greedy. Many freelancers have one bad habit – they accept too many projects and they are not able to fulfill in time. Some are forced by the desire to earn more, others are just workaholics.

You must understand that too much work – is not always good. Overworking for a long time – is a straight path to the creative burnout. And when it happens it doesn’t matter whether one has work or not, burnt out freelancer is no longer a working unit.

Define your priorities, it happens quite often when several customers are offering job at the same time. It becomes really hard to refuse. If this happens, you need to start negotiations. Of course, everyone needs to get the job done as quickly as it’s possible. But it will not work. Some people still have to wait, and some will pass to another freelancer. Hope you got the idea.

How to Deal With the Creative Burnout?

As it’s mentioned above, the best way to handle creative burnout – is don’t burnout. But if it happened, just relax. Get more sleep, eat well, walk more often. Spend less time without computer. Switch to some other activity: paint walls in your apt, talk to someone, go to the movies or a restaurant, read a good book. What do you like – just don’t work. It is necessary to give your brain some rest – to get back your ability to create.

One of the advantages of freelancing is a freedom of action. Bet you have notices it that most job offers at freelancer’s websites are common, clients order similar things. Some need a new logo, others need a custom landing page or a website design. Luckily, you have a chance to ease your routine tasks using ready-made design goodies. Paying once you’ll get a set of universal solutions for your future assignments. Why wait? Choose some design sources for your projects right now.

Author: Alexander Bulat

Drowning in information, but starving for knowledge. This who I am.


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