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Beat Out Creative Burnout with These 10 Tips

Chances are, like many of us, you have experienced some form of burnout in the workplace. Some of us find it hard to keep up with it all, or even find ourselves in a creative rut. Earlier this year, Buzzfeed wrote an article “How Millennials Became The Burnout Generation” about how many of us, not just millennials are experiencing chronic physical and emotional exhaustion from a never ending to-do list. 

So if you are feeling stuck, sinking in a quicksand of funk you just can’t get yourself out of, you are not alone. Together, with these10 tips, we will beat out burnout before it even has the chance to knock you out. 

1. Schedule Out Your Slow Downs 

Work can be a never-ending to-do list with not enough time in the day to complete each thing that comes your way. But you owe it to yourself to cut yourself a break every once in a while, whether it’s treating yourself with a trip or just taking time to recharge those creative juices. Schedule out your slowdowns ahead of time so you do not find yourself feeling burned out. 

For instance, if you have a vacation or weekend getaway coming up, put it out on your calendar. Also, find time during the week to set time aside for yourself. By doing this, you are not slowing down, but simply recharging so you can feel good and be productive. 

Remembering that your slow downtimes are not a time for you to cram projects in. But to step away from the computer and to set down the phone. This time is for you to ditch technology and only allow yourself check-ins at certain times, so you get the most out of your slowdowns. 

2. Find an Unrelated Creative Outlet 

Some of us work in a creative  field (photography, graphic design, etc.) for a living, while some of our work in a technical environment (engineering, accounting, etc.) where creativity is not necessarily needed. No matter where you work, find an outlet completely unrelated to what you do for work so your creative juices don’t run dry-- playing the guitar after you get home from working at a desk all day is a great example. 

Finding an unrelated creative outlet can help you feel balanced, as well as helping fuel those creative juices. Simply put, engage your creative spirit in a way where no strings are attached and you don’t feel pressured since this will help you explore your creativity and expand your skillset in the meantime. 

 

3. Work on Saying No 

You don’t have to be a yes man to get where you want to go. You can say no  to a request you simply do not have the time for. Saying no can also be a form of  self-care, in which you are free to focus on what’s important rather than spreading yourself too thin which makes it hard for you to perform at your best level. And if you choose to say yes to every task that comes to your way, you may run the chance of burning out quite quickly. 

Even if you do not feel comfortable saying no, start with treating ‘no’ as a special skill since this will help you navigate the pressures in the workplace and at home also. Next, think about why you take on too many tasks and responsibilities. Once you figure out what triggers you to say yes, work on changing your mindset so you do not end up getting burnout. Lastly, focus on your priorities, so you do not end up spreading yourself thin. Saying no is hard, but saying yes quite often can have you taking on tasks that you just don’t have the time for at the end of the day. So yes, work on saying no from now on. 

4. Switch Between the Things You Work On

Working on different things  can help with you not burning out from constantly work on the same thing time and time again. 

Moving your headspace from one thing to another can help keep your mind moving, while also making it easier when you go away from something and come back to work on it. I myself noticed I see something with fresh eyes when I step away to work on something, then come back to work on it. 

So if you are feeling stagnant or not making any headway in what you are working on, consider moving to a different workspace or switching up your routine. Reason being, we as humans are used to following a routine day in and day out, so simply changing our creative or work process can help you from burning out. 

5. Focus on One Thing At a Time 

We live in a culture where many of us are always multitasking to get things done in a timely manner. But if you do not want to end up burning out then you may want to focus on one thing at a time, instead of being all over the place. By  focusing on one thing  at once, you will be able to be more productive. 

For instance, monotasking (single-tasking) minimizes the potential for interruptions until the task has been completed. Studies also show that multitasking can decrease your productivity by 40%, as well as decreasing the grey matter in your brain that is associated with empathy and emotional control. 

While you do not have completely stop multitasking, here are some tips that can get you into the monotasking mindset:

  • Deep Work 
  • Locate your peak performance time 
  • Getting rid of distractions and focusing on what’s important 
  • Create and schedule time off during the day 

Remember to slow down, take a deep breath in and out a couple of times, and then focus on one thing at a time. 

6. Disconnect for a Day or Two 

Many of us are glued to our devices, and some of our jobs even require us to be on them all of the time. So try disconnecting for a day or two if you can, or simply putting limits on the time you spend on technology, such as turning off notifications or setting aside a few hours a day when you are not on your phone or computer. Make a point by signing out and off, such as not answering work emails when you are off the clock. For instance, you can start with a small technological break by, like not sleeping with your phone in the bedroom or deleting a time-occupying app from your phone. 

To fight burnout you must disconnect, you must stop making yourself readily available through technology, so take a break from answering emails and responding to calls for a couple to a few hours after getting home from work. You’ll notice by stepping away from your phone and computer will give you  time to recharge and refocus. At the end of the day, disconnecting does not mean you are simply not choosing to work, but you are choosing not to burn out. 

 

7. Be Realistic About Expectations 

Keep your expectations in check with setting a to-do list that is in the realm of reasonable possibility. Also, look at ways your expectations are getting the best of you, then trim them back a bit. 

Next, work within reasonable hours, do not overextend yourself because eventually you will be left feeling burned out. So, if you are overloaded with work, find how you can set better boundaries without the pressure to work beyond what you already are doing. Something to keep in mind is that sometimes employees end up being loaded with more work than they can realistically handle. Ultimately, it is up to you to be realistic with the amount of work you can handle, so you do not get overwhelmed and burnout. 

8. Find Joy in the Work You Do 

Each day find something positive about your job  to make it more enjoyable. And if you can take a couple of days off or a vacation, do so. When you return from your break from work, find things you really love about your job and focus on those things for a week or so. 

Having a positive attitude at work will make the day more pleasant for your co-workers and help with your productivity. One of the best ways an employee can find joy in the work they do is feeling a sense of success and fulfillment that comes from meaningful work. Meaning this feeling of fulfillment comes from an employee seeing they contributed in some way or form to the workplace. 

Keep in mind that joy may not be something you find overnight, but switching your mindset to be more joyful may help. So, finding joy in what you do personally and professionally can help you in being resilient and hopeful when you encounter an obstacle. 

We all know that work can bring obstacles, but with joy, you have the resilience to overcome any obstacle you face. Another way you can find joy is through choosing to be a lifelong learner, so you have something to look forward to. When you put your headspace into a place of continuously learning then you protect yourself from professional atrophy and joylessness in your life. Overall, finding joy in what work you do can keep us going through times of fatigue and burnout. 

9. Find a Healthy Balance Between Work and Life (Self-care) 

Work and life can both be stressful and burn you out sometimes, but finding a balance between the two is important for your overall well-being. You can find a work-life balance through prioritizing your job responsibilities and career ambitions with important lifestyle aspects, such as family and friends. Making this balance will help you reduce your overall stress. 

Self-care is very important when finding a work-life balance. You can practice self-care by practicing mindfulness, which is the act of focusing on your breathing and awareness of your surroundings. 

You can also try a relaxing activity such as yoga, meditation or tai chi if you do not find mindfulness helpful for you. Distractions, such as multitasking and social media can disrupt your work-life balance, so focusing on what is important to you and your career will help you stray away from this imbalance. 

With these three  tips you can avoid these work-life balance roadblocks

  1. Measure work-life balance in days, not weeks 
  2. Not shutting down when you are supposed to 
  3. Focus too much on things that won’t matter in the grand scheme

 

10. Celebrate Victories Both Big and Small 

Reward yourself for both big and small victories in the workplace. Giving yourself small rewards every once in a while helps maintain balance and avoid burnout. You can also start your work week off by celebrating personal or professional accomplishments from last week with your co-workers. 

Another thing you can do at the end of the workday is to list all the things you are proud of. Forget about TGIF, when you can do Fistbump Friday to acknowledge and calculate your personal and professional wins from the workweek. 

Celebrate with small victories so you do not end up burning out. Small victories help with eliminating procrastination and increasing your productivity when it comes to both life and work. With each small victory, you are able to increase your skill set and boost your confidence as you are on that work-life grind. Each small victory you celebrate helps give you the energy to get to your next small victory, so it is a win-win situation. 

And if you do not have enough reasons why you should celebrate your victories. Well, here are some more reasons you should celebrate your victories in work and life

  • Act of celebrating boosts your endorphins (the feel-good hormone) 
  • Celebrating with your colleagues strengthens your network 
  • Success begets more success 

Beating Out Burnout 

Work and life can be stressful, but burnout can be even worse. But if you keep your work and life balance in check, you reduce your chance of burning out. Remember to celebrate the small and big victories along the way too. Now that you know how to beat burnout, you can go out hopefully start enjoying work and life without a doubt (or a pouty face). 

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