At some point, every creative has to deal with burnout. It’s very common, especially amongst those of us wearing all the hats in pursuit of our passions and work that we love. What do you do when you’re burnout and struggling to find your way back? In this episode of Pimp Your Brilliance, I’m sharing my best 4 tips to overcome burnout.
So what exactly is burnout?
Burnout is a state of chronic stress. It manifests itself as physical and emotional exhaustion, physical symptoms like headaches and reduced performance.
It’s pretty much everything that you don’t want on your pursuit of building your dream creative business.
The scary thing about burnout is that it can creep up on you. One day you feel fine, enthusiastic even, but then you find yourself in this spiral of exhaustion, disillusionment, and frustration. You’ve hit burnout and you never even saw it coming.
How I Fast-Tracked My Way To Burnout
I want to share how I fast-tracked my way to burnout this Summer. In hindsight, I should have recognized the signs faster but it’s easy to overlook problems when you’re too close to the work.
Summer is usually my rest and reset season in my business. Having my son at home with me every day is a great reminder to work less. Going into this Summer I knew I would be busier than usual. I had a lot of personal travel scheduled but I assumed the frequent trips and time spent with friends would give me enough downtime. In reality, the opposite happened.
Right before Summer vacation started, I made a big change in my business. I decided to split Pimp Your Brilliance away from Keep Chasing The Stars and let the podcast be its own brand. This required a lot of behind the scenes changes that I felt like I needed to fix quickly. Suddenly, everything was urgent.
That was strike one.
On top of the changes I made, I also tried to develop a new product. I had this big idea that I would finally create and launch my signature course. The usual slowness of the Summer seemed like the perfect time to work on it. I gave myself an impossibly short self-imposed timeline and I was ready to go.
That was strike two.
Maybe it’s becoming clearer to you that I set myself on a stressful and unsustainable path but it wasn’t clear to me. I brought on two new clients. I mean it’s a slow Summer after all. Why not say yes to paid work?
Surprise! That was strike three.
The one thing I didn’t account for was how having a busy travel schedule would set me behind. That’s one of the challenges of being a solopreneur. You are the cog that keeps the machine running. If you aren’t working, neither is the machine. Every time I prepared to leave for a trip, I had to work to maintain my current projects while also trying to get ahead for the future.
Needless to say, a full travel schedule, re-branding, a product launch, and new clients set me on the path to burnout.
Luckily, I eventually recognized the signs and I’ve been working my way back to normal.
4 Tips To Overcome Burnout
1. Re-evaluate your current goals
Setting unrealistic deadlines and treating every project as urgent was a major contributor to my burnout. One of the ways that I’m pacing myself is by re-evaluating my current goals. I’ve taken a realistic look at what I would like to achieve before the end of the year and made some adjustments that feel do-able without feeling like I need to rush to finish them.
I’ve chosen to focus on just 3 things that will make me feel most accomplished and make room for related projects in the future. It’s plenty of work to keep me busy and I’m not adding any new projects until these are completed.
2. Scale back your content creation
This was an easy decision to make but I struggled with making it. Most creatives aren’t talking about this but many of us are burnout from creating content. When you think about how and why it’s not surprising. Most of the messaging around content creation is centered around the idea that we need to create more, faster and better on every platform. The algorithms of your favorite social network reward you for churning out content by making your stuff more visible. But the reality is it’s not sustainable to create content constantly.
I’ve hosted a weekly podcast show for over 2 years now. I enjoy it but I always refer to my show as a labor of love. That’s because it takes a lot of work and planning to stay committed to a weekly show that doesn’t have built-in breaks like a seasonal show. So I’ve decided to make Pimp Your Brilliance a bi-weekly podcast. I’m putting out two episodes a month and focusing on adding more value for my current listeners and promoting the shows to grow my listenership. I’m giving myself permission to get off the content creation hamster wheel.
3. Set firm boundaries for yourself
When you work from home, maintaining boundaries between your home life and work can become a challenge. I mean, it is easy to work at your desk while eating dinner. I’m very guilty of this and I’ve let the lines blur too many times.
One of the ways that I’m overcoming burnout is by setting firmer boundaries around my work hours. I’ve given myself a start and end time. Any work that falls outside of those hours gets shelved until the next day. I’m also going back to a morning routine so that I start the day in a good frame of mind.
If you’re a side hustler, you can set similar boundaries around how late you’ll stay up working or how many hours you’ll work over the weekend. Bottom line, you can’t work all of the time. Set some boundaries.
4. Take a break and rest
I feel like this is a given but I wanted to make sure it made the list. Give yourself a break. Rest, self-care and fun are essential in my life. I’m intentionally moving at a slower pace and making plenty of space for rest.
I’d like to hear from you. Have you experienced burnout? What were some ways that you overcame it?