So something I have been thinking about a lot lately is burning out. In August, weeks after losing my job, I went to WMC fest and burn out was a topic brought up a lot from the stage and something I never fully understood. As far back as I can remember I’ve always been good at finding personal drive and dedication to creating. I’ve never really had trouble coming up with things to do or make, it’s just not a struggle I’ve had to deal with.

Now that I am almost 4 months into being full time freelance, getting myself to do simple tasks has become a struggle. Finding motivation to sit down and jump back into the grind feels like a monumental task. So I figured I would think about what the causes could be and how to shake myself loose from it. (Spoiler alert: everything from here on out are things I am speculating on and/or trying… and have no proof any of it helps.)

The Cause

I think the root to this recent hurdle is pressure. It’s not the repetition or the long hours. I’ve worked through both of those for years. The big difference between now and a year ago is that my actions directly impact my incoming payments. When I had a full time job and worked after hours as a freelancer or owner of a clothing brand neither had to pay my bills. When money wasn’t a driving force behind the work it was easier for me. In addition to comparing my work now to then I can look at the work I know I won’t get paid for (the United Design Guild or volunteering at my church). These tasks are near effortless. I can focus on them and do work that matters.

I‘ve also noticed when I get a project that I know will pay a big chunk of my bills the pressure of finding a new project is removed and I work just as quickly and easily as in the past.

Making It Over The Hurdles

So I know what I believe to be the root issue and I’m trying a few things to work through them. Hopeful this will help me get back to how I used to work and maybe if you a reading this it can help you too.

  1. Admitting there is an issue. I think now that I have spent some time thinking about this and writing out my ideas I can dedicate myself to being better at what I am doing. Looking back I can see I have ignored this for about a month, so let’s stop doing that!
  2. Less video games. I’ve always played videos games. At some times I hardly play any and other times way to much. I think I am in a way to much time at the moment. It’s easy to turn off my mind and get a false sense of production while toiling away at a fun game like most recently… Stardew Valley. My virtual farm is much easier to grow than my bank account.
  3. Starting my day off with exercise. I hate sweating, more than most things in life, but I am still trying this. I obviously (for those who have seen me in person) need to lose like 15–25lbs. I thought I sat around when I worked in an office, but now I work at a desk next to my bed… I REALLY sit around all day. So I am doing this interval running thing a friend showed me. Every morning, right after scrolling social for like 30m, I run/walk a little over 2 miles. I can feel it getting easier each day and can track my progress of longer runs and further distances. I’m hoping it gets the blood moving and gets me revitalized, but at the very lest I can drop some weight. I also want to get back into rock climbing (bouldering to be specific) and losing weight needs to happen first.
  4. Establish micro goals. I have some huge tasks like reworking how my site communicates, rebuilding 70+ alphabets from a turn of the century book, and I need to start cold contacting local companies to make more money. If I try and tackle all of these at once it’s daunting. So I am trying to establish micro goals each day. Change a page here, focus on a few letters there, and take steps to prep for cold contacting. I’m hoping micro goals will help me feel small bouts of accomplishment and keep me going.
  5. Actually vlogging. I bought a rode mic, have a Nikon dslr, and hold onto so many excuses why I haven’t done this yet. What I hope vlogging can do is A. Grow my audience, sadly more views often equals more money. B. Will make me focus on actually doing something every day/week that would make interesting content. I am a bit worried about the added pressure (like mentioned before) but we will see. I won’t know until I start and the fact I find video editing fun (for the time being) maybe it will be fresh enough to be something I can dive into.

So those are the 5 steps I am trying to pursue to help get over this period of burn out. If you have any suggestions or want to discuss what you are doing, lets talk. Time will tell if any of this helps me.

As always if you’re reading this and need help with a web or branding project please reach out!

If you just want to talk about your journey feel free to email me or hit me up on social! Twitter |Instagram | Dribbble