The Burnout Book
It’s no secret that in this day and age, everyone is working, side hustling and trying to do the absolute most. Why? Because if you’re not working, you must be failing. Kidding! Everyone knows that’s not actually true… but why does my brain tell me it is?
Some of us side hustle to unwind, some of us side hustle to get Centrelink payments, and others just need a creative outlet… But for me, I side hustle to eventually freelance full time.
My Work Process
Right now I work full time as a graphic designer, and side hustle also as a graphic designer (shocking). Lately, I’ve started to build a consistent client base, which I’m so stoked for, it’s the reason I’ve been pushing myself in every which way and it’s finally paying off! But why do I feel like I’m still not working hard enough when I spend all my free time freelancing?
My days currently are very very work heavy. I wake up, get ready for my day job, eat my breakfast over my computer answering emails and posting to Instagram for my freelance gig. I get to my day job, work until lunch time, eat my lunch over my computer where I freelance, reply to Instagram messages and emails, head back to work, finish up for the day, go home, make dinner while watching love island (no shame) Sit back down to finish any freelancing work I have left over/due, reply to emails, make sure my Instagram is cued for the next day, work on the website and any other fun jobs I have. Then I go to sleep to do it all again tomorrow.
The Full Time Job & Freelance Juggle
The full time & freelancing juggle is H-A-R-D! It’s an awkward stage of feeling like you’re not really doing enough while well and truly stretching yourself to the limits and doing everything – well for me anyway. I feel friggin’ GUILTY for doing anything for myself, like going to dinner, going for a bike ride, or just watching Netflix while NOT working (what a concept). I know I’m in that awkward stage in my freelancing where I’m having to wear all the different hats, and not being in a position to pass over any hats to other people to lighten my workload is difficult. BUT, one day soon when I freelance full time I know I’ll be outsourcing some tasks I’m not good at or frankly dont like. for now though, I feel a big burnout on the horizon if I keep this up for too much longer.
What Does Burnout Look Like To Me?
I always find my body shows the signs that a burn out is on the horizon well before I realise it. My stomach feels anxious, my mind is foggy, and I’m tired from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. But I’ve always found it easier to ignore the signs altogether, but do you know whats even easier than avoiding the signs? Having a better work life balance so the signs and the burnout don’t show up in the first place…
What Does Downtime Even Look Like?
But while I’m working my ass off, I do know it can’t be like this forever, so how do I avoid the horrid burnout? I’ve been asking around about ways to avoid burnout, to change my frame of mind and enjoy life. If I burn out, I can’t give my full time job the right amount of energy, and I can’t give my clients the time and focus they deserve and have paid for.
So I had to do a deep dive and ask myself, ‘what does downtime even look like to me?’ Downtime to me means not working (duh!), and taking time out of my day to focus on ME. I made a rule that I don’t work on weekends, having that downtime has really helped me.
I also have this theory that in order to not be working, I need to be away from my computer. I really am fond of the idea of bike riding at night, just to keep my hands busy and my mind free to roam (not too much though because I’m not exactly the best at bike riding, even when I go at snails pace) But the guilt of taking this time out still plagues me for now.
Tips & Tricks
So I took to the streets (and by the streets I mean Facebook pages, Podcasts and fellow hustles) to see how they deal with the burnout.
A lot of people have suggested getting a diary and physically blocking out sections for ‘free time’, which sounds like the perfect way for me to not feel like I’m not working. And if it’s scheduled in, I simply can’t argue with it.
Another suggestion was to simply just get up and go for a walk (or bike ride), chuck in an Audiobook, a Podcast or some music and just zone out.
The biggest tip - and the one I know i need to take on board the most - is STOP FEELING GUILTY. Sure, that is so much easier to type than to put into practice… Taking time out of your day to focus on yourself shouldn’t be seen as selfish, if anything, burning yourself at all ends of the candle is probably the most selfish thing you can do, for yourself, your employees and your clients.
If you’re facing burnout right now, or trying to kill the beast all together like I am, remember to SLOW DOWN! Do what you need to do, be it taking on less clients, scheduling time off or even travling the world, remember to slow down.
I’ll keep you all updated!
But I really want to know is how do you avoid the burnout?