Most creative entrepreneurs will face creative burnout at some point or many points in their careers. It’s the feeling of disinterest with your work, lacking creativity and motivation, and general exhaustion with work. That mental block that keeps you from pursuing what you love. It’s a something that leaves you drained and your work will suffer. I found myself facing that early last year, feeling generally disinterested with projects, little motivation to go out and film, and found myself with a growing backlog of work. What I found was many factors all playing together that caused me to burn out with my work.
Here are nine ways to break free from creative burnout (and avoid it):
1. Make time For Creativity
Last year, I found myself lacking a creative drive for a couple months and I no longer had the passion to go create. What I realized was the real issue was that I had stopped creating and only focusing on the day-to-day client projects. I learned to make space in my schedule to go film things I’m passionate about. These are the things that keep you sharp and that you have complete control over. You don’t have a client constraining what you can do with the work so use this time to dream big, have fun, and develop work you’re proud of.
2. Change your scenery
Many creatives find themselves working at home – it’s free and simple. I daily fight the urges to do everything but work when I’m at home…. walk the dog, do the dishes, do the laundry, clean the house, go pick-up groceries… You get the idea. One of the best things I ever did freelancing was joined a co-working space. Especially around big cities, you’ll find a variety of options around $250/month which gets you a space to work, fast internet, printing, and most of all community. If you’re not needing to make that kind of investment, coffee shops are a great alternative!
3. Clean your space
Have you ever found yourself doing every other task on your to-do list, except the one that really matters? A messy workspace is a constant distraction of that other thing you should take care of. Take five minutes to clean your space up, and then hop back into your work. It’s one last thing to have on your mind while you work.
4. Get Organized
Having good organization strategies will help you focus and get more things done. If you don’t already keep a calendar, start using one! This will help you plan your week and keep on track. For to-do lists, I use Todoist which syncs across all my device and helps you roll tasks over simply using an AI system (neat, right)?
Excercise has had a direct impact on your energy levels, focus, and ability to breathe. You’ve probably heard this all your life. If you’re like me and running sounds terrible, try something like the 7 Minute Workout app or join a local gym. This takes dedication but pays off so much in the end.
6. Take a class
There is such an incredible wealth of knowledge online. If you stop learning, you stop growing as a creative. Whether it’s YouTube or sites like CreativeLive, you can access course content on pretty much any subject for creative development. I try to watch at least one course a month to learn something new or even brush up on something.
Building a network of similarly minded individuals provides a sense of community, combats loneliness, and even can help build your business. Attend local networking events for topics in your field.
8. Take a break
If you’re just completely burned out with work, take one day off and go do something you enjoy. Maybe go see a matinee movie, go kayaking on the lake, take a walk, meet up with friends. Do the things that you wish you had time for! Allow yourself to unwind, not think about work for a day.
9. Set Clear Goals
Without clear goals, you’ll feel like you’re always chasing the wind and making little progress. Make clear, actionable goals that you can measure and check your progress with often. When you’re feeling lost and unsure what to work on, look at your goals and choose something that supports something on that list.
Creative burnout is a real thing that most people will experience at least once in their career, if not many times! What other methods have worked for you in overcoming and avoiding burnout?