Burn Out | Long Term Solutions
You know what caused your burn out, and you’ve figured out some solutions in case of burn out, but now it’s time to talk about some long-term processes to have in place to keep yourself from ever burning out.
You are your own boss. You set the rules, and you have to remember and think of yourself as an employee that you want to be able to work sustainably. Work ON your business not IN your business.
Set business hours. If you start work at 9, you’re off at 5. Or, you work from the time your significant other leaves the house until they walk in the door. Just like they have to try and leave work at work, you have to try and leave work at your desk.
You will feel most good about setting business hours if you create a schedule and to-do list for the day and actually complete everything. Use your time wisely, and setting business hours will help you get more things done in the time allotted.
Once you leave your desk, the work is done. If you don’t have an actual office in your house, designate an area that is only for work. That way, it’s physical and mental when you’re done with work, you’re literally leaving the space behind.
Give yourself breaks during the day. Just like in a 9-5 job, you need breaks throughout the day. Breaks that have nothing to do with work. Take your dog out to play, have a snack, read a book, watch some TV.
Distribute work where you can. If that means outsourcing editing, do it. If that means hiring a cleaner, do that. If that means getting a media manger, do it. If that means asking your significant other to take on some duties, communicate that to them.
Use a client management software. This will just help keep you organized, and make the processes or emails, contracts, invoices, taxes, and analytics easier.
Unfollow all the negative bitches on social media. Or anyone that makes you feel bad about yourself, and YES this includes those ‘encouraging’ or ‘productivity’ positive people that makes you feel less-than. People should be ACTUALLY inspiring, not just professing to be inspiring and then showing off their awesome lives without also showing the hardship. People who don’t make you feel great usually aren’t authentic, and that is what really makes you feel shitty.
Be authentic. Anyone who has ever had a meeting or business interaction where you had to act not-entirely-like-yourself in order to be polite to someone new, knows that it can be DRAINING. That’s why it is so important to be authentic in the rest of your life and ESPECIALLY on social media. Just like you don’t want to follow the negative bitches, don’t BE one of the negative bitches. If you swear, swear. If you have a messy house, don’t try and always hide that part of yourself. Let yourself be who you are, otherwise, you will most definitely burn out just on trying to be someone you are not.
Surround yourself with other creatives that you trust. This will be your support system when things get tough. Network with them, and make sure you’re not just seeking friendship, but willing to also be a good friend in return.
Have interests outside of your business. Have activities and friends that you can go to when you clock out and need to blow off steam. If you let your business consume your whole life then it will absolutely take what it can. If you can’t think of two things that you do that don’t relate at all to your business, stop what you’re doing and go figure it out right now.
Create passion projects. Everyone needs projects within their art that are purely for passion and fun, not profit. It doesn’t matter if your photos, video, makeup, florals, or a DJ, find a way to exercise your LOVE for your art.
Go see a therapist. This is good for anyone, at any stage in life. But having a third party perspective on your life, and someone who can listen to you vent is really helpful for a lot of people. They can help give you ever more tools to deal with anxiety and depression.
Address burn out when it happens. If you start to feel the seeping of burn out into your life, it’s time to figure out what the trigger was. Where/when did you start feeling it? Refer back to identifying the problem, and figure out exactly where things began taking a turn for the worse. Then, ADDRESS it right then, don’t wait till you’re in full panic attack to tackle something.
Stop procrastinating. Sometimes our worst enemy is ourselves not wanting to face shit. Face the music, get shit done, and you’ll feel better.
Start moving. We are creatures of movement, our bodies LIKE to move. Maybe it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, but we move to survive. So, get off you butt and go for a walk, join a yoga class, do a exercise video in your living room. It’s not about exercising, it’s literally just about moving your body in a way that feels GOOD.
I’ve put a post a little late this week, because I was at the Together Experience and wanted to wait in case there was anything to add from what I learned. So, here are some things I learned, and I’ll tag who I learned it from.
From Dannie: Have a work project that has nothing to do with your business. At Google, they call it the 20% project, and you can implement it in your own life. Take 20% of your work week and devote that time to something that has nothing to do with your business. This is to promote innovation and it WORKS. For me, that’s writing books. For you, it might be learning to cook, playing the guitar, running, etc etc. BUT it shouldn’t be something you already know how to do. It should be something that you can show PROGRESS on by the end of a quarter.
From Ben Burns: Raise your prices. Seems obvious. But we don’t do it because we are afraid, we’re not confident in our work, or we have a voice in our head that says ‘you’re not good enough’. Fuck that voice. That voice is one of your past selves and it should hold no weight in your current business. Raise your prices, believe in those prices. If you’re booked out, if don’t get a ‘no’ every three inquiries, if you feel ‘comfortable’ in your pricing, it’s not high enough. Guaranteed making more money and doing less projects will help with burn out.
‘But what if I stop getting my ideal clients if I charge more?’
You have two options: start saying ‘no’ more often if you’re REALLY getting enough ideal clients. OR, realize that not 100% of your clients are ideal anyway and charging more will just help weed out those few that aren’t. You’re afraid you’ll NEVER get an ideal client if you charge more. Well, it’s just not true.
If you are burning out, and can’t figure out why, one of the solutions above WILL help you if you put it into practice. You are in charge of yourself and your business. You have the power to change the way it affects you. But that doesn’t mean you have to do ALL of them, especially if it doesn’t come as naturally.
For me: I consistently unfollow negative bitches, I work out, I spend time on work that isn’t my business, I don’t procrastinate, and I’m working on being better about clocking out.
Yours might be: Setting hours, finding a community, being authentic in your social media, and working out.
Or: Saying ‘no’ more often, raising your prices, seeing a therapist, and finding a few new hobbies.
Whatever it is, just take a deep breath, you’ve got this shit.