There are all kinds of names for this feeling: At some point in time, you simply stop creating. You feel like the well of ideas is dried up, or that no ideas come after spending several minutes looking at a blank screen.
Writer call it writer’s block. Others call it burnout. Creatives broadly call this burnout.
It’s a nefarious state that many people have talked about and some have managed to overcome. Regardless, being able to overcome creative burnout is important for your future.
The methods and systems I’ll be discussing in here will help you in being more active on social media, creating more videos, and in general content and other business ideas or offers you can provide to your customers and audience.
As such, it’s crucial you keep the well full and that you don’t risk burning it down. Which is a surprisingly easy thing to do, once you employ one – or more – of the many methods I’ll outline below.
Plan Out “Slow Downs” In A Yearly Calendar
What I mean by slow downs is break days. Days where you do less work or no work at all that day. Why do this though? Because once we get into the cycle that our time is flexible, we start to cram everything we can into our daily lives.
While work and your business is certainly important, nothing is more important than the people around you and the time you can spend to live the life you are building. Your business can survive a few days without you paying attention to it.
By taking this break, you are allowing your brain to wind down in the process and start to destress and begin to enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Treat Work Like It’s 9-To-5, Even When It Isn’t
This advice can be tricky for those who run their business as a side hobby, but the principal is still there. The idea behind this is essentially scheduling in time to work your business during hours you know you are at your best.
This is key because entrepreneurs are known to working excessive hours. Some people have even bragged about the fact they are working way over 40 hours each week on their business. This attitude makes no sense from a mental standpoint, but also on a productive standpoint.
Anyway, by putting yourself into a sort of structured work schedule, you then have more open time to do other things. Spend time with family in the morning and evening, hangout with friends, watch TV, or a read a book.
Practice Saying “No”
Once you have a firmer grasp of how much time you have, you’ll begin to understand the value of your time and what’s worth saying yes and no to. This doesn’t apply to work, but other events in life.
Should you hang out with friends or call it an early night and get some sleep?
Burnout doesn’t just stem from the work we do, but the various commitments that we make in our lives. By learning to say no, we’re allowing ourselves to not overwhelm our lives with various tasks. Even if those tasks will help us, we can always squeeze them in later.
Remember That Your Work Isn’t Something You Need To Escape From
One practice that pops up at time is the retirement model: work really hard and then never work again. While it may seem like a sensible idea in the first place, it’s not the reality that we face today. With the price of living rising up all the time, we need to be in a state of working regularly.
On top of that, the model instills the idea that the work we’re doing is work that we need to find a way to escape from. Work for extended periods of time and then hit the beach or go for a vacation for several months.
It’s an ineffective and can stifle creativity as you can easily develop the idea that your work is always something you want to run away from. So why bother trying to come up with new ideas? Keep doing the same thing you’ve always been doing. It sounds dreadful.
Multitask A Little
While multitasking has it’s flaws, a little bit on occasion can help particular people. It’s not the idea of trying to jumping between task to task while you’re in the process of working on one. Rather, it’s the idea of having several tasks on your plate to hop to.
For example, some people have several books on the go. Instead of reading one book at a time, they hop between three or four books, devoting an hour every day to reading a section of one book for that day.
Your work can be the same. Schedule your time where you devote an hour to one task and jump into a different task the next hour. It sounds inefficient for some, but this level of multitasking can ensure that you stay engaged in the task when you do get into it.
Be Honest When You Need A Break And Take One
Breaks boost productivity. While it sounds counter-productive there is a lot of science behind taking breaks and general work attitude and productivity. But when you are running a business, we again run into the scenario where we don’t always know when to stop.
So do yourself a favour and after a few hours of working, ask yourself whether you need a break. That or before you begin the task, set an arbitrary marker for yourself.
What I mean by that is say “After two hours, I’ll take a break,” or “After I finish this short to-do list, I’ll take a break.” By quantifying how much work you need to, you are setting those markers.
Understanding When Creative Burnout Happens
Everybody experiences burnout but each story is different. In some cases the circumstances are out of their control. That being said, we can always point back to one problem that sparked it all:
you are not recharging your batteries. You make a point of being constantly
engaged in work and with commitments that you never prioritize breaks.
have no health boundaries between your work and the rest of your life. You
never seem to “leave the office” physically or mentally.
- Or you have not been doing any healthy activities. This doesn’t mean only exercising, but eating well or having a technology detox. In other words you’re not taking care of mental or physical needs either.
The best way to fix that is of course by indulging in those activities. Take breaks, exercise occasionally, eat healthy, do other activities outside of those and work.
Talk To Someone
Burnout is like any other problem out there. As such, one of the many ways to deal with it is to address it and talk about it. A family member, a mentor, a peer, your boss, etc. If you are thinking in extremes, chances are you are at your wits end and that person can add some sense of reality back to your life.
They can help you identify the core reason, work out a reduced schedule, or collaborate on various solutions.
Naturally, you want to talk to people who will actually help you rather than brush off your issue. Make a point of talking to people who will actually help you.
Go Out And Have Fun
Watch a movie, or go to a concert. Even going to the local library and getting a book and reading can help tremendously. Whatever the case is, go out and do something fun with your life once in a while.
This all goes back to enjoy the fruits of your labour. While these aren’t scratching off any life goals you have, they are small things that pull you away from work and help you to live and experience in that moment.
Spend Time With Kids
If you’re a parent then this is great bonding time with your kids. Sure they may not be smart enough to help you solve all your work issues but they are great at other things. Kids are amazing at reminding us there are more important things than our work.
Not only that but some can remind us of some basic principals: Don’t take things so seriously, or learning to find the good in some scenarios.
There is a lot we can learn from kids.
How you end the day sets the tone for the next day. If you’re someone who stays up until 3 am on average, you’re going to have a rougher time compared to sleeping earlier. Do yourself a favour and get some sleep before that time. Make a point of getting to sleep at 9 pm or 10 pm.
The earlier you get to sleep the more refreshed you’ll be to tackle the next day. After all, getting ample sleep can do wonders for our health but our productivity.
Whether it’s work related or merely a creative topic or a topic you’re interested in, there are thousands of courses and material on various topics. Best of all, there are a number of free resources to consider. All you need is a computer and a stable internet connection.
Taking a course can help you in enhancing your business or enriching your life. Regardless, learning is a way to take us away from our work. And while we are still working in a sense, its a way to destress.
Learn To Cook Or Try Cooking
Not necessarily through a course, but cooking in general can be rewarding. If you know your culinary skills aren’t great you can always play the role of sous chef and cut up the vegetables, boil water, or get pots and pans when needed.
Believe it or not, some people find these activities calming and can pull you away from work as well. Besides, nothing beats smelling the delicious smells of a cooked meal.
Take Work Out Of The Office
No, I’m not implying for you to work after hours or anything. Rather move your “office” somewhere else during working hours. If you have the luxury to work anywhere, work in a café or if you have some cash to spare, take a drive to another town or fly somewhere and work there for a few days.
The whole idea of this is to mix up your environment once in a while. It does wonders to you, your health, and work.
Change Your Diet
We are what we eat as they say and I couldn’t agree more. Depending on what we are putting in ourselves will impact our attitude and productivity immensely. If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to give up drinking alcohol and drink strictly water. Do you have a sweet tooth? Try going without any sweets or pastries for a month. Do you eat fast food a lot? Make a point of cooking a meal.
By making these subtle changes to your diet, you’d be surprised how your attitude and productivity will change.
One other sign of burnout is that you are constantly down on yourself. If you’re writing up social media posts, you may find yourself doubting yourself or spending several minutes putting together a short post on Twitter.
If you find yourself doing that, make a point of reassuring yourself. Tell yourself that you are creative and that you got this. Or focus on some other ways to boost your confidence.
Stop Being A Perfectionist
Another sign of burnout is that we are incredibly picky to the point that everything has to be perfect. Perfectionism isn’t realistic and is incredibly toxic. After all, one of the byproducts of that is being too hard on ourselves and doubting ourselves.
Make a point of recognizing what perfectionism is and make a point of being less harsh on yourself. Recognize that a creative process can take time. Not only that but if you are always harsh on yourself, you will only be hampering your creative spark.
Beat Up Burnout
Creative burnout happens to us all, even if the task is as small as putting together social media posts. With any kind of creative work, take these methods to heart and practice some of them when you feel stressed out.
There is no shame in taking a break or taking time to work within yourself. Your body will thank you and creativity will spark once again in no time.