Freelance Lessons

How to Avoid Burnout in Your Business

Want to know a secret? Towards the end of every project that I work on, I’m usually so exhausted and creatively drained that I just want it to be over with. Even the total dream projects. I get to this point where I’ve worked on it for so long – staring at concepts for hours, making tweak after tweak – and I just can’t look at it anymore. It’s good ol’ burnout and I’ve struggled with it time and time again in my business. So I wanted to take some time today to talk about it openly, share about how it has effected me and, hopefully, some tips to avoid it.

But first, let me just say that it’s completely normal to get burnt out. Even as a “creative”, I really struggle to be creative all the time. And it makes sense! Most of my projects last 1-3 months, which is a really long time to be pushing all of my creative energy towards one thing. Sometimes I feel a little guilty for getting burnt out so often. Creativity is supposed to be my thing, right? But the truth is that getting burnt out is normal, everyone struggles with it and you simply have to learn how to navigate it.

Words to Remember
Words to Remember
Words to Remember

“It’s completely normal to get burnt out. Even as a “creative”, I really struggle to be creative all the time.”

Now although I get these mini-burnouts towards the end of every project, I’ve also had a few major burnouts so far in my career. I’m talking about the “crying at your computer, thinking about quitting” types of burnouts. They were awful and totally overwhelming. It felt like everything was crashing down on me all at once. But now, looking back, I’ve noticed a few trends that seem to pave the way to those major moments of burnout. Here are a few of them that I’ve found to be the most common for me:

Every time that I make these mistakes, they tend to lead to burnout. So moving forward, I have to be way more intentional about avoiding them. Here are a few things that are helping me:

So like I said, sometimes you just can’t avoid burnout. It happens to the best of us and honestly, if you’re passionate about what you do and work really hard, you should expect it occasionally. BUT there are things that we can do to shift our mindsets and create healthier work habits so that it doesn’t happen as often. And to close us out, I wanted to leave you with some steps to take if you ever start to feel burnout sneaking up on you.

  1. What I’m going through right now is normal. It’s not the end of the world and it doesn’t mean that I’m bad at what I do. I will get through it.
  2. What brought me to this point? Did I make any specific decisions that might have contributed to me feeling burnt out?
  3. Now that I’ve pinpointed some of the things that might have lead to my burnout, let’s examine them. Is there a way that I can change them? Could I outsource them? Could I limit them? Could I set up better boundaries within them? Could I eliminate them from my process altogether?

If you’ve found a solution by that point, great! Implement it as soon as you possibly can! If not, let’s take a step back and see if we can tackle burnout through other aspects of your business. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Where am I currently feeling the most stress in my business in general?
  2. Is this part of my business that I can change/outsource/limit/eliminate?
  3. If I could change any part of my business, what would it be?

Hopefully those questions are a little eye-opening for you. Sometimes the things that are causing our burnout are things that we feel we can’t let go of, and therefore, don’t recognize as the source. It’s important for us to keep an open mind and trust that everything can be streamlined in some way to lighten our load as business owners. This was exactly what I went through when deciding to outsource my web development. I was so stubborn and felt like I couldn’t give that up even though is was such a burden on my business. I finally had to recognize that it was the main source of all my stress and there was a simple way to fix it – I just had to be brave enough to let it go.

So look, we’re all going to face burnout. It’s just part of the job sometimes. BUT the key is learning how to recognize it + make adjustments so that each time it happens, it gets easier and easier. I’d love to know, what are the common trends that have led to your big burnout moments? How have you learned from them?

One thought on “How to Avoid Burnout in Your Business

  1. Wow, such great insight and practical steps to thrive above the suffocation of burnout. Love it, Abbey! Thank you for investing in people and taking the time to write this invaluable information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *