Avoiding Burnout: AKA How to Keep Your Creativity Alive
When I first started Reux Design Co. I didn't know what I was doing in a lot of areas. Like many new business owners, my process was basically "wing it and find out." Those months consisted of designing and redesigning my site, trying to price my services, growing a social presence and MANY long days working well into the night.
If there's one thing that really killed my business during that time, it was burnout. After working myself to the bone day in and day out, I was struggling every day to find the motivation to get up and work. By the time I opened Photoshop, I had no ideas in my head and I found myself staring blankly at branding boards trying to design logos.
A lack of structure, working WAY too many hours, and no self care left me feeling completely deflated. It took some (more) trial and error, but eventually I figured out a few ways to help myself feel more excited about work and avoid that nasty burnout feeling. I pulled everything together into a quick video to share, because I'm sure some of you have also dealt with this issue in your business. Read on to see the tips!
In case you skipped the video & was to read what I talked about, here are the six tips I have for avoiding burnout like a pro! You don't have to do them all, all the time, but even a few each week will help immensely. Or at least that's been my experience.
ONE | Make your personal projects a priority over client work.
This is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately. And after reading a post from a fellow designer Melissa, I definitely think it should be number one on your list. Make it a priority to take time away from client work and do things just for yourself, just for the fun of it, or simply because you're inspired.
TWO | Embrace the cycle of ups and downs.
Just like everything in life, creativity is a cycle. Similar to nature, seasons, our bodies even, being creative has it's ebbs and flow. Make sure to listen to that & use it as a guide. When you're feeling inspired & on top of the world, get sh*t done! Work hard, take on new projects, get it all out into the world. On the other hand, if you're feeling slow or uninspired, take time off. Sit outside, read a book or just unwind for a while. Don't force yourself to be creative when you aren't. It just doesn't work that way.
THREE | Avoid checking your email right when you wake up.
You can't ignore emails forever. But it's definitely not the most inspiring way to start your day. Avoid checking your emails until noon, or even 10am. Work first, do something creative for yourself or clients first. (**As a note: if you're more creative in the afternoon/evening, then reverse this! Do emails first and reserve your creative time for inspiring work.)
FOUR | Set true working hours and limits.
Take the weekend off. Take the evenings off. The biggest mistake I made when first starting Reux Design Co. was working ALL. THE. TIME. I seriously never gave myself any real time off. And it caught up to me fast! You have to give yourself some time to live life & enjoy those around you. This will make it easier to come back to work on Monday feeling refreshed & motivated.
FIVE | Go out into the world!
This is one of my favorite things to do. I would happily work from a coffee shop every day if given the choice (and the budget, ha!). Being around other people, even just in the same space as them, makes me feel excited and productive like no other place. So, go be in the world! Whether it's a coffee shop like me, or a museum, a park, a bookstore. Just get out of your house/office and into a new environment. It's quite refreshing.
SIX | Start a personal project or challenge.
Similar to No. 1, this is all about doing something fun, without client limitations. It doesn't have to be extravagant, but even a week long challenge can spark some renewed creativity in you. Don't put any pressure on yourself, but just explore some new ideas or concepts that have been floating around in your brain. It might even get you more attention on social media, or be the beginning of a new product for your business!
I know for myself that I always go through phases. I've have a hard month where I feel super unmotivated and uninspired with everything that I'm doing. That was may for me. But coming back to these 6 things helps a lot to find my footing again & feel like my creative self.