Don’t sacrifice your health for your projects
There are times when you get so caught up in a project that you might forget to eat, sleep, or bathe; you’re running purely on deadlines and caffeine. That’s okay to do sometimes, but if you do it too often or for too long, you risk burning yourself out and jeopardizing your health and your ability to work on great projects in the future. Here at DoNanza, we want to make sure you find balance in your life so you can enjoy a long career of freelancing.
What is Burnout?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines burnout as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”
It’s much easier to see the symptoms of burnout in others, but as freelancers we aren’t fantastic at recognizing when we’re suffering, so here are a few things to watch for:
1. Inability to concentrate
2. Loss of motivation
4. Memory loss
5. Extreme exhaustion
6. Chronic illness
How to avoid burning out
In one word – balance. If you don’t have balance, work on finding it today. It’s a vital part of being a freelancer. To help you avoid burnout, here are a few ways to bring balance to your life and help you become a better freelancer.
If you don’t set yourself achievable goals with realistic timelines, you risk setting yourself up for burnout – or worse, failure. Even though there’s no one over your shoulder making you do so, create a work schedule, and stick to it. Plan to work on projects during the parts of the day you are most productive, and enjoy your life outside of those times.
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to continuing to learn and stretch yourself. Regularly read books and websites to improve your skills as a freelancer — the DoNanza Blog is a great place to start! You may also consider taking a course at your local community centre or college.
Find Purposeful distractions
When you work for yourself, it’s easy to sometimes think of every minute away from your desk as lost money. This isn’t the case; spending some time not working on your projects can make you more efficient and effective. Here are some of the things that I do:
· Commit time everyday to spend with friends and family
· Clean the house – for me, this is actually a great way to generate new ideas
· Mentor another freelancer – share your skills and promote the freelance industry
· Organize your receipts – yes, this sounds incredibly boring, but it’s quite cathartic, and come tax time it will alleviate a lot of stress
A healthy freelancer’s body is a healthy freelancer’s mind. Sweat the stress out at the gym or go for a walk, bike, or swim. Whether you go play fetch with your dog or get up and dance by yourself, just make sure to stay active and keep your body moving.
The food you eat is the fuel that powers you. Find balance in the things you eat. Too much or too little of anything is not good; moderation is the key. Be sure to include lots of iron rich foods (think green and leafy), drink lots of water, and skip the sugary snacks and processed foods.
Do your body a favor by giving it time to repair the damage we do to ourselves daily. You might think you’re fine with only four hours of sleep, but just like any machine, if you don’t treat it right it won’t last as long as it was designed for. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
Enjoy the flexibility that freelancing can bring to your life, and remember to work hard and play hard.
What are you doing to prevent burnout?
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