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How Not to Burn Out as a Creative

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As an aspiring creative, burnout is especially dangerous. It can make simple tasks difficult and those that require creative input nearly impossible. So, what can you do to avoid it? Here are some tried-and-true strategies for keeping burnout at bay when doing creative work. 

Know Your Limits

The more time you spend on creative endeavors, whether it’s art, music, or web design, the more likely you are to feel drained and unmotivated to continue. Of course, this doesn’t come from what you do, but rather how (long) you do it. We all have our limits, and pushing beyond them is what leads to burnout. 

Put simply, burnout is the product of job demands consistently exceeding available resources. If you often find yourself in this position, you might be more inclined than most to take on everything that comes your way. This is common with motivated entrepreneurs, for whom there are different solutions to avoiding burnout

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In any case, the first step is always to establish appropriate limits. You can do this by managing your time effectively with an app or journal. For example, the former can allow you to set daily goals for how long you should work on your project and notify you when you’ve gone over. 

Choose Your Work

Just as you need to decide how to spend the amount of time you have available, you must do the same with your limited mental resources by allocating them to the right tasks. This could mean saying no (when possible) to certain jobs. If the project doesn’t align with your identity in your work, think twice before investing any energy into it. 

Find Your Creative Outlet

A head-on approach isn’t always the best option. In the case of creative burnout, a side-on approach is usually better. When you’re feeling the effects of burnout, look for a creative task outside of work that can help you ease back into things. This way, you can reignite your creativity and inspiration in a less stressful and risky manner. 

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Take Care of Yourself

You don’t necessarily have to be doing something creative to feed your imagination. Putting more time into taking care of your body and mind is just as important. How you go about doing this is for you to decide. It could mean sleeping for an extra hour, running a warm bath, or taking a nature walk. 

woman holding a cup of coffee at right hand and reading book on her lap while holding it open with her left hand in a well-lit room

This is particularly valuable when you’re already on the verge or tail end of burnout. You can leverage your emotions by catching up with an old friend or heading to the movies. In doing so, you increase positive emotion, making it easier to bring yourself back into a deeper state of creative flow.

Set Realistic Deadlines 

Finally, remember that, despite what your inner critic might tell you, there is such a thing as ‘good enough. Deadlines are a useful way of silencing that voice when all else fails. More specifically, short and strict deadlines help you pace yourself and maintain balance.

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Burnout is no joke. With the above strategies, you can stay clear of it and accomplish your creative goals.