I admit it. Earlier this year, I was fried. Completely dunzo, devoid of any good ideas, and devoid of the desire to even think of any good ideas. I was burned out. But I knew there was still a spark of something there, because I didn’t want to be burned out. I just was. I really wanted to be refreshed, and to find the excitement and joy in my creative job again. So I took a step back and realized that I hadn’t done anything to take care of my creative brain in recent memory. And I took action. Some of the steps I took were intentional, and some of them weren’t. But looking back, this is what worked for me. I took some time and invested it in myself and my creativity and now I’ve been feeling energized, over the hump of the creative block. So if you’re feeling under it, here are five tricks to avoid creative burnout.
Five Tricks to Avoid Creative Burnout
Go Somewhere Small
Go somewhere. Anywhere. Maybe you get inspired by walking through the aisles at Target. Maybe a breath of fresh air outside clears your blocked brain. For me, it’s taking my laptop to a coffee shop to work. I have a beautiful studio at home with a comfy desk and I love it there — but when I’m feeling burned out I need a change of scenery, especially when I’m working. And usually when I sit down in a new place with my computer, I get more done and the work that I do is better.
Go Somewhere Big
This one may not always be a possibility, but do your best to go on an adventure. See something out of the ordinary, perhaps out of your comfort zone, and out of your time zone if you can. 😉 Travel is my number one way to reenergize and see things with fresh eyes. Traveling pushes you to discover and try new things, and you can’t help but let the inspiration seep into your bones. Whether you try to or not, you’ll come back changed.
Overhaul Your Processes
This one is more technical, and one of the ways that I intentionally beat my burnout. I had a couple of assistants move on to do other work and I was stuck managing my business by myself again. I realized that they had systems in place that worked for them, but they weren’t working for me. So I invested a little time (and yes, money) on some new systems. We implemented new, easier, more efficient ways to share on social media. I brought my husband onto the team and we sat down for a few strategy sessions on what we each bring to the table and how to capitalize on our strengths. And even the process of examining all of our systems got me excited to be digging into the business. To be intentional about how we do things, and to really explore what works, what doesn’t work, and why.
Do Something for Fun
This one especially applies if your passion or hobby has become your job. I used to DIY all the time because I loved it. And I still do love it! But it becomes something different when it’s your job, right? So recently I started making things that I don’t share. Just for fun. I do a little hand lettering every night. I’m baking more. I’m putting together projects here and there that I don’t photograph and don’t write tutorials for. And slowly, I feel the joy coming back into making things. The really cool part is that the joy is back for the things that I make for work as well.
Choose a Single Focus
If you own a creative business, it can be so daunting to oversee it all. Creatives obviously excel at their art, but not always at the administrative end of things. And when you own a business there are a LOT of administrative duties. I found myself so overwhelmed after my assistant quit, so I adopted a new tactic: choose a single focus. Instead of worrying about how many things were on my plate and trying to sort of halfway do them all, I picked one thing to really go after. (It happens to be Pinterest, if you’re interested.) This quarter, we’re focusing really hard on Pinterest and giving it our all. Other social media, newsletters, new client outreach, contributor sites, affiliate sites — all of that is taking a back burner. We’re doing bare minimum upkeep there so that we can really focus our energy. Next quarter we’ll assess and decide if we want to continue our efforts there or shift elsewhere. But in the meantime, while we’ve been focusing on Pinterest, I’ve been developing a passion for figuring out what works and why. It’s helped me dig a little deeper into my business and get to know it in a different way. And that has me really excited.
I’d love to hear your stories of creative burnout and how you came out the other side. And I’d love to know your thoughts on our five tricks to avoid creative burnout! Do any of our tricks work for you too? xoxo