Dealing with Burnout

I’ve been feeling a little burnt-out lately. I think this happens to everyone regardless of your working situation but I find it’s more common with those of us who freelance. From one perspective the work never stops – there is always something to do and someone to email. On the other hand you’re not obliged to do anything (other than wrap projects for clients). For me burn out creeps up after I’ve been working for a while without a clear view of the finish line, just pushing through a never ending pile of work. This has happened many times over the last few years and there are a few things I’ve found helpful when dealing with it.


It’s ok not to be working 100% all of the time. We’ve been trained to be hyper competitive and are in a very competitive industry but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it easy. Numerous studies show that one of the top regrets of those who are about to die is that they wish they had worked less. So do yourself a favour and relax, it’s ok.

Work Slowly

Depending on your industry, it’s probably important that you keep the ball rolling at least a little. Keep sending regular updates to potential clients. Stay on top of bookkeeping. Practice your craft once in a while. Do a little bit each day and you’ll keep things moving forward even as you ease of the throttle.

Find Support

Hanging out with other freelancers can be great in terms of giving you support. They know what you’re going through and can offer words of encouragement when you’re down on yourself for not working.

Pat Yourself on the Back

Look back on what you’ve accomplished in the last few months. We often underestimate how much we’re actually moving forward and taking a moment to celebrate your accomplishments can be invigorating. Don’t just think about it either, look through finished projects, write down your successes, and read encouraging emails and letters that you’ve received.

Do Something Else

What often happens is that you’re just sick and tired of something, it might be working in Photoshop or perhaps writing. Work on something else for a change – make some music, go biking, read, paint, anything. Just get your mind off the thing that’s frustrating you and work on something that you find interesting.

I hope that helps, often you’ll be much more productive if you take some time off and get back to it in full force rather than trudging through. So don’t feel guilty, go grab a book, find a hammock (if you’re lucky), and take a break.

Image by: themichaelsmith