In order to stay on top of your freelancing game, you need to battle burnout.
I love what I do. I feel extremely lucky and blessed to be able to freelance write from home, earning a living for my family. However, even though I love to write, and I write about topics of interest to me, there are times that I start to feel burned out a little bit.
That feeling of burnout can lead to sloppiness in your work, as well as to a serious creativity block. And, in some cases, it doesn't matter how much pay you receive for something — burnout can still happen. It's happened to me on more than one occasion. Sometimes you just can't anymore. And in today's world, with the weight of everything that's happening and crisis after crisis, burnout can be even more common.
5 ways to battle burnout in your freelancing career
If you're struggling, figuring out how to battle burnout can be tough. I still don't completely have the hang of it. But there are some things I've learned to do when the overwhelm starts to set in.
Take a break
Sometimes, a break can really help. Whether you just need a two-hour break during the day to do something you enjoy or play with your kids, or whether you need to stop working and power down for the weekend, getting away from your work can help battle burnout.
Focus on the most important items on your to-do list, get those done, and then take a break. If you can arrange it, take a day or two off from your freelance work. It's amazing what a break can do for you. You come back feeling refreshed and ready to go.
Or you realize that you are really burned out and that it's time to do something else entirely.
2. Cut back
One thing that I did not too long ago was to cut back on the amount of work I was doing. It's not easy to figure out which clients to cut, and which freelance jobs to take, but sometimes you need to cut back. If you are going full throttle all the time, trying to keep up with everything you need to do, eventually you will run out of gas.
Be picky about which jobs you take on, and which clients you work with. Try to focus on jobs and clients you are more likely to enjoy. That way, you will feel less inclined to burn out. As a writer, it's easier to burn out when all I'm doing is writing repetitive keyword articles. However, if I get to write interesting web content, or ghostwrite a fascinating book, it's much easier to get things done and feel good about it.
3. Remember: balance
Don't forget to balance your career with other important aspects of your life. You should balance between career and family, as well as consider other things that you like to do. Know when it's “quitting time.” Be ready to set aside the work so that you can do other things you enjoy. You might enjoy designing ads, but doing it all the time can get really old after all. Make sure there is room in your life for other interests. With a good balance in your life, it's easier to battle burnout.
4. Share your feelings and frustrations
Sometimes, all you need to do is get your frustrations off your chest. Sharing your feelings with someone you trust can help you release your frustration and let go, avoiding burnout. You don't want to always be complaining, since a positive attitude is vital if you want to avoid freelancing burnout. However, sometimes it can help to share your feelings.
Plus, sharing your feelings can help you examine your current situation, and maybe help you work through ways to better enjoy your freelancing career, or find a creative solution to a problem. Don't bottle up your feelings; share them, and then move on to a more productive future.
I have other freelancer friends who help out. We share with each other and sometimes even lighten the load for each other. Building that network has been huge for me.
If you're looking for jobs that are less likely to burn you out and connect with others, join the Freelance Writer Academy. In addition to courses and coaching, we also offer an exclusive community where you can ask questions and share frustrations.
5. Take care of yourself
Sometimes, burnout comes because you feel crappy. I know that I feel less like writing when I don't feel at my best. When I'm tired, haven't been exercising or if I'm eating poorly, that affects other parts of my life — including my desire to write.
When you take care of yourself physically you feel better mentally and emotionally, and you are less inclined to burn out. Get adequate sleep at night, eat better and try to include some physical activity in your routine. You will have more energy, feel better, and be ready to face your freelancing day with optimism.
Feelings of burnout are a regular part of any career. As a freelancer, though, the fact that you are struggling to keep motivated on your own can make burnout a little more challenging. Indeed, potential burnout is one of the reasons that some feel that doing this full-time is impractical. You can battle burnout, but it requires planning and dedication, and the recognition that sometimes you just need to take a break for a while.