You’re a full time creative entrepreneur. Here’s how to prevent burnout.
For those of us relying on making a living by creative entrepreneurship, the amount of brainpower can be overwhelming for the healthiest individual. Even with my chronic illness, Takayasu’s Arteritis, I have managed to make it work in my favor this long though I will admit I am still learning the best ways to maintain a productive work-life balance everyday. For now, I’ve narrowed down what are the 4 most important factors in doing so for a lasting career without the dreaded burnout that many of us face from neglecting what matters most.
Rest periods are essential.
This is probably the most important thing for any freelancer or creative entrepreneur to do: make time for rest. After all, it is impossible to give from an empty cup. Hold space for what you need most in order to recharge your mind and body.
To get my creative juices flowing for a project while resting simultaneously, I like to take an intentional stroll through the neighborhood in the morning to get my latte, where I take in all the sights and sounds that serve as inspiration. I am mindful of my breaths and drink plenty of water throughout the day. By 2pm or depending on my schedule, I take another midday stroll with my dog to refocus and give my eyes and wrists a break from the computer. In order to make the most of your day, be sure to give yourself a healthy time limit without cutting a corner on what you deserve. On some days for me, that looks like fifteen minutes every two hours. On others, it means two hours in the middle of an 8-hour business day. Regardless of the amount of time it is, remember that the purpose is that is allows your mind and body to totally relax and rejuvenate.
Budgeting is a must.
Finances are a huge source of stress for any adult in general. The entrepreneur pursuing a passion project with no consistent guaranteed income can put you in a quick downhill panic.
Many times, our passion projects can require our own funding, so it’s important to plan the right time to quit a full-time job. My suggestions for doing this as responsibly as possible:
- Open a separate checking account specifically for bills, and make sure it always contains the exact amount needed for accounts that use auto-pay.
- Estimate how much money you will need for at least a few months prior to quitting, and spend six months to a year putting money aside (the more, the merrier — put make yourself pull the trigger on your plans at some point). I chose a percentage of my income that I was comfortable putting away each check into my savings account.
- Apply for artist grants for additional resources. The best part of this option is that you can pursue your passion project without the stress of financially backing it on your own.
- Use a free smartphone application like Mint or Money Coach. Not only will using these regularly help you stay on track with your financial goals and monthly spending habits, they show you the areas in your cost of living that you should cut back on, as well as how much you can spend on vices without it being deemed irresponsible.
It’s OK to move on.
So that tedious and time-consuming passion project didn’t give you the turn out you’d hoped for? Or perhaps it’s not the right timing, you didn’t collaborate with the right people, or whatever the case may be. Nonetheless, don’t let yourself get caught up on all of the “what if?”s of a project or campaign that resulted in unfavorable results. Instead, adjust your lens to see the beauty of the lessons you learned from everything that came from the self-proclaimed ‘failure’ and move on.
Time is of the essence for any freelance content creator, so know when to pull back your precious energy and redirect it into the next thing. As an entrepreneur, I’m affirming that it is OK to be flighty — that’s the amazing thing about people with minds like ours. Just make sure you don’t get hung up on something that didn’t work, and if it matters enough for you to get it right, shift your focus for the time being on something else and come back to it later.
I am a firm believer in the notion that no movement (quitting) is much worse than walking forward (productivity), even if you have no clue where you are going (direction). You’ll figure it out when you are meant to.
Patience and discipline make the recipe for success.
I will admit that this is the hardest lesson for me, as I am so damn impatient. On one hand, I just want to see the fruits of my labor and enjoy the reward; on the other, I understand what I have absolutely no control over. Therefore, I must be patient and continue the work and have faith that it will come when the timing is right. In the meantime, discipline is the key for making the dreams come true. All of this is ultimately a test for the ego. You have waited for this moment. You have been putting in that work to make it come to fruition. You don’t even realize how big this is going to be, so God is going to make you wait for it a little bit longer. How much harder and longer are you willing to work for the prize?
Being a person who also lives with a chronic illness, I sometimes find myself requiring physical rest in order to recover from something that takes more energy than my body can handle. Working from home has the perk of giving me time to take quick cat naps if absolutely necessary, although I’m not much for sleeping during the daytime. Either way, making rest a daily ritual is important, no matter how busy you may think you are. Listen to your mind and body and respond accordingly — they will thank you in the long run after you notice more effective output towards the projects you love.
follow me on Instagram and Twitter @devrivelazquez
photo of yours truly by Nik Edelman
Being a self-employed content creator also means that I have take care of my own healthcare costs. As you may know, I have an illness that requires me to have frequent doctor visits, take lots of medication and undergo an IV treatment that is costly. Thank you for supporting me through GoFundMe, I truly appreciate everyone’s kindness!