Burnout is an ugly by-product of both too much work and unfocused work that doesn’t take you where you want to go. Do you ever find yourself working non-stop for either success or even for failure. Now when I say failure, I don’t mean you are intentionally working to fail, but you find yourself caught in a spiral of activity that isn’t producing the desired results yet you are unable to stop, reassess, refocus, and redirect your energies. Do you know what I mean?
There are four critical actions to take to avoid burnout. These actions will allow you the essential opportunity to relax, recharge, refocus, redirect, and remake your success plan. They will help you to short circuit a full burnout or recover from it when you are already in the thick of it.
#1 Disconnect Completely
This is scary for many designers but necessary. Whether you will brave it for a weekend or a week, literally turning off your cell phone, and closing the laptop completely ceasing business communications for 2 days to 14 days will make an enormous difference. Burnout is often a product of feeling overwhelmed and exaggerated by today’s digital devices.
Now, if you simply put an out of office message on both you will be inundated when you return and go through the anxiety of catching up; reigniting the burnout you’re trying to ditch. Instead I recommend your message share that you are out of reach and will not be checking messages left or emails delivered.
Request that anyone who has a real need to contact you do so again, once you are reconnected. This means you can delete (yes, I did actually say that) all messages by voicemail and email that come in, knowing that when it is important enough whomever it is will be back in touch. Try it, it is very freeing and guaranteed to alleviate your sense of burnout.
#2 Focus on Your Successes
Too often as designers we focus on what we didn’t get done, what got left unfinished, loose ends and more. To eliminate burnout, in my coaching, I have created a progress report that starts with what my clients have accomplished in the last week. This reinforces your sense of progress, direction, focus, and achievement. Every time you are tempted to be swallowed by the black hole of incompletes, look instead at your list of completes, your list of successes!
#3 Create a Goal You Can’t Achieve Alone
Many of us approach our design practice as “lone rangers” thinking we have to do it all, achieve it all, and tackle it all solo. That’s the fast path to burnout and it simply isn’t true. Stop and go beyond your own boundaries and limitations, creating goals and experiences (my preferred terminology) that require teamwork, and you will find your life that much richer.
For example my desired experiences (aka goals) by 2022 include:
Showing 10K designers how to achieve unlimited prosperity by designing their own success, taking them from a “getting by” mindset to a making more, having more, giving more consciousness.
Revolutionizing the home and lifestyle industry with marketing methods that are new, now and tomorrow and create lifelong demand among consumers for lifetime success by designers.
Hosting semi- annual retreats for six figure designers featuring luxurious adventure that pushes them to dream bigger, live larger, and give more.
Creating a charitable foundation to serve designers globally in realizing their dreams of success based on their unique talents, big dreams, and life changing visions. Each designer benefiting from the fund will in turn be committed to giving back, creating an endless cycle of renewing, reviving, and recharging the dreams, lives, and success of creatives worldwide.
#4 Rediscover Your Fun Side
It’s darn near impossible to feel burnout when you’re having fun. This is about going for a hike, relaxing on the back deck with friends, gardening, entertaining family, travel, or skydiving or doing anything you find fun on a regular basis. Fun means your releasing endorphins, those happy hormones.
Fun needs to become a part of your life’s routine. Too often we get swallowed by our work and forget that the definition of a successful business is one that enables you to enjoy the whole of your life, NOT one that swallows you whole. Burnout beware! I adventure deliberately to push me out of my business side, my head side, and into another part of myself. This recharges me and inspires me. What inspires and recharges you?
And if you are facing burnout, get in touch. I’d really like to help with a complimentary Design Business Diagnostic that will show you how to get back in control, find your creative mojo, and fall in love with design again.
Your comments are always welcome!