5 Steps to Avoiding Freelancer Burnout

Freelancer burnout happens much more than people are aware of. In fact, according to one Germany study, it happens to 65% of freelancers, compared to just 43% of workers in traditional roles.

Burnout can lead to a wide range of effects, such as decreased motivation, fatigue, and insomnia. It can even go so far as to cause alcoholism and drug abuse—any way for the workers to handle their stress.

It is definitely not a joke, and it requires serious attention. Although freelancers are more prone to it, there are some ways to manage, decrease or completely avoid freelancer burnout.

Get a separate office

One of the most important things in getting away from freelancer burnout is in organizing your working space. As a freelancer, you’re probably mixing up your work space and your living space, doing designing or content work in bed. That’s probably not the best step. You need separate borders for your work and personal lives.

One great way is to even use your own home, as long as it is a dedicated workspace with a door. You can go to Starbucks to work, but it presents too many distractions. Another alternative is to rent a desk or small room in a coworking space.

Set a work and social schedule

Another part of freelancer burnout is the bleeding of work life into social life (it is rarely the other way around). Unfortunately, for many freelancers, their social lives are slowly diminishing, and this is a great cause of burnout. Humans need social contact, and social isolation is just plain bad for your health.

Go set yourself a strict work schedule, one that allows you to work 8 hours. Start at 8, for example, and finish at 5, just like normal people do. Along with your strict work schedule, create a strict social schedule. From 6-7 you eat a good dinner, and then a few nights a week you read a book or watch a movie with friends from 7-10, or you go out and be social. Strictly, without any mention of work.

Cut costs

Freelancers work a lot, and like most people, they work harder to earn more money.

However, there’s another way to earn more money. Since Profit = Revenue – Expenses, you can increase your money by increasing your revenue. You can also achieve the same goal by decreasing your expenses. And it requires no need to do more freelancing work.

If you’re the type who loves buying new gadgets, ask yourself some serious questions first: do I really need it? Does the value that it brings outweigh the effort it took to purchase it?

For the most part, you can use that money somewhere else, such as investing it in your education. You can also just save the money for a bigger goal, or use it as a way to work less. You control your costs, and besides the most important ones, you can find many ways to reduce your expenses.

Use long term goals as motivation

After a while of doing similar tasks and services, you’ll get into a rut. A down time, where the sun doesn’t shine as bright and many things seem pointless. If you find yourself at this point, you’ll need to have a great big goal to keep yourself motivated.

Instead of just saying “I want to make more money and keep on designing,” why not change that to: “I want to be the biggest design company in my city?” “I want to employ 5 people by the end of next year,” or “I want to earn $65,000 next year?” Money isn’t usually the best motivator, but having a big goal (and time limit) will help you set great goals and give you fuel to continue working.

Just say no

Sometimes, your clients ask too much. Not only should you write that article, but you should do the visuals, the formatting, write the blurb and do the advertising on your channels while you’re at it. This is, even though they’re just paying you to write the article.

For your own mental safety, learn to say no. You may not get the money, you may lose the client, but you’ll gain respect for yourself. When you feel that pride and respect, that will begin to be a shield against burnout.

These are only a few of the ways to avoid burnout. It is important to remember, however, that sometimes burnout is at a level where no tips can save you, and you’ll need to get help from professionals. However, if you’re not there yet, these steps can help pull you back from that precipice and help you avoid freelancer burnout.

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