Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Freelance burnout – what it is and how to get out of it

Are you suffering freelance burnout? Did you even know there was such a thing?

If you are feeling drained, de-motivated and would far rather lie on the sofa binge-watching Netflix all day than turn on your laptop, you may well be suffering freelance burnout.

Over the past few months, the surge in business coaching requests has been incredible!  And I’ve noticed a recurring theme running through many of these coaching sessions.

Freelance burnout!

The past 18 months has affected all of us.  From those of us who suddenly found our business crashing around our ears due to the lockdown to the other extreme of being so run off our feet, we didn’t know which way to turn. 

Whichever end of the scale you were on, we have all had to adjust our businesses in some way or the other and on many it has taken its toll.

Working for a company that makes the decisions and can put you on furlough in a downturn has its advantages in a scenario such as what we have been through.  Being a freelancer and having to take the full burden on your own is a huge stress to carry.

At the best of times working alone can take up more time than we expect which impacts on our social life with friends and family. Combine this with suddenly having to adapt your whole business to a wholly unexpected event and the demands can seem unbearable.

This is where freelance burnout comes in.

What is freelance burnout?

Freelance burnout is when we simply become exhausted and fed up with our work.  We lose our motivation and constantly feel distanced from what we used to enjoy.  The simplest of tasks seem to take forever and we would do anything to be able to stay hidden under the duvet than face another day sat at a desk.

We feel more isolated than ever and feel like we are steadily slipping into a black hole.

When you feel like you are falling into the black hole of freelance burnout, how do you crawl back out again?

How to get out of freelance burnout

woman suffering freelance burnout talking to someone on her mobile whilst crying

Talk to someone.

By sharing your feelings, you can realise you are not alone.  This person can bring a new perspective to your situation and help you see how you can tweak what you are doing to start to regain positivity and enjoyment.

As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved and is why I have suddenly become so busy of late.  So many have contacted me as they know and trust me to be a sounding board when they need it.

back view of a woman sat overlooking the sea whilst taking time out

Take time out

I promise you it will be far more productive to shut down for a week and have a clear break than trying to drag yourself through the motions each day.  Contact clients to postpone meetings and/or work.  Explain you have an unexpected situation that needs dealing with as a priority.  Set up an email autoresponder and change your voicemail.  And then shut off!  No checking emails ‘just in case’.  Things will wait and the world will keep turning.

woman's hands typing on laptop whilst reviewing her work

Review your work

Take a good hard look at what you are doing when returning to work.  Review your business goals.  Are you still on track or have you been side-tracked and now going down a route you don’t feel comfortable with?  If this is the case, go back to what you originally planned and adjust to get back on track.

woman thinking with notepad and pen

Review your clients

Are you working with clients that drain your energy and who you dread hearing from?  If yes, then ditch them!  When I first suggest this to my own clients, I get the instant response of ‘I can’t afford to’ or ‘they pay me too much to do that’.  But whenever they have taken my advice, they have instantly felt a weight lift from their shoulders which opens them up to attract new clients that they love working with.  It can be a difficult decision, but it can be a real game-changer.

an organised filing system

Get organised

A muddled workspace creates a muddled mind.  If your work is all over the place and you are jumping from one thing to another this is only going to cause stress.  Sort your work out.  Plan your future diary.  Use productivity tools such as CapsuleCRM to help you take back control and get organised. Prioritise your work and plan what you are going to focus on each day the night before – a simple but powerful tip!

a clean tidy workspace with white laptop on a clear desk

Sort your workspace

Following on from the point above, is your desk sinking under a pile of notepads, post-it notes and coffee cups?  Give it a declutter.  Go through drawers, pen pots and files and get rid of anything now defunct.  Give everything a good clean and add some finishing touches such as a favourite picture or new plant.  It’s amazing how a clean, fresh workspace can affect our mood.

the word outsource written on a piece of paper

Outsource

Have you got dragged down trying to do things you hate or take up too much of your valuable time?  Then outsource it.  Again, I can hear the retorts of ‘I can’t afford it’ but can you afford not to these things are contributing to your burnout and overall health?  Spend money wisely and it will ultimately reap rewards by making your workday more efficient and freeing up your time to work on attracting the perfect clients.

woman's hand writing in a diary to plan ahead

Plan ahead for YOU and avoid future freelance burnout

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can carry on working and will take a break when you need it.  We invariably fail to do this and think we will work just another week and then take a day off, which never happens.  Pre-book time off in your calendar and make sure you take this time out.  Pre-book a mini-break, a massage or lunch with friends.  Create an email to go to clients well in advance to inform them you will be away and to let them know of your cut off for any questions before you take the break.

So, there you have it.  If you are suffering freelance burnout, you are most certainly not alone.  It is a more common occurrence than many like to admit to.  Please don’t suffer alone.  Take that first step, admit you need help and use the tips above.

And of course, if I can help in any way, get in touch, and let me know.

How To Retain A Positive Mindset Amongst The Chaos

How To Retain A Positive Mindset Amongst The Chaos

In case you didn’t know I’ve been running a 21-day challenge through my Facebook group which has been going brilliantly – well apart from one or two technical challenges!!
 
We started off on day one, talking about getting in the right mindset.  It’s crucial to be in the right mindset to be able to deal with the unusual circumstances that we’re going through at the moment.
 
One thing that can really help with our mindset is reducing the amount of negativity that we are surrounded by. And I would say that 90% of the negativity that surrounds us is on social media.
 
So, here’s a little tip for something that I would like you to do today.

Go to your social media channels. I personally use Facebook for most of my social media. And so that was my focus.
 
Start to scroll down through your newsfeed and identify the repeat offenders who consistently post out negative chatter. These can be the people who constantly post and share scaremongering stories, conspiracy theories, political diatribe or just moan and groan.
 
Pick out every single post you see where you feel your energy instantly drain from you, or even just by seeing a particular person’s name, you feel your energy drain.

Remove the negativity

Now, do one of two things. 

  1. If this is someone that you really do not care whether you ever see or speak to them again in your life, I suggest that you simply go and unfriend them.
  2. However, if it’s someone that you feel you would like to keep in contact with for the future just unfollow them. They won’t know that you’ve done this, they will stay as your friend, but you will stop seeing the negative chatter popping up on your newsfeed, day after day.

You can follow this procedure with groups you are in where all you see is negativity and arguing.  Simply unfollow.

Surround yourself with positivity

The next thing to do is to go back through your newsfeed and look at the people that when you see their name you instantly feel your energy being lifted, whether because they’ve who’s such positivity, or whether it’s because they make you laugh.
 
Now select those to pop up in your newsfeed first.  You want to be filling yourself with these positive-minded people to help you stay in a positive mindset.
 
Honestly, I promise you if you do this, you will feel so much better.
 
Get rid of the mood Hoover’s those people that suck the energy out of you. And fill your life with people who make you feel good.
 
Instructions:
To unfollow or add friends to the top of your newsfeed, watch the video below.

When You Know What You Need To Do But Just Can’t Do It

When You Know What You Need To Do But Just Can’t Do It

Are you suffering from the following:

  • Not sleeping well
  • Poor concentration
  • Lack of focus/clarity
  • Full of ideas but have to finish other things first
  • You know what you need to do but just can’t do it.

And the list goes on ………………….

Sound familiar?

A lot of you have contacted me recently to say it does, and I include myself in that list.

Feeling like this can be attributed to many factors and for women of a similar age to me, Peri-menopause has a lot to answer for!

All too often we suffer in silence as we don’t want to be seen as weak when everyone else around us seems to have it all going perfectly for them.  But the reality is that others are feeling the same also.

If you feel like this, start to keep a diary of how you are feeling at what times.  Try to see if there is a particular time when you have more energy and focus.  Block out these times to do your core work with clients.  Where you see a pattern of times that your energy is particularly low, block this out to rest.  You must take care of your health first and foremost.

With the problem of knowing what you need to do but not doing it, this is a common phenomenon and I found a great article on this very subject by Jon Covey.

Sometimes when our business feels like it is about to take off, we can self-sabotage.  It’s the fear of the next step and the fear of the unknown.  We have been in our safe place building slowly and then we realise if we do this or that, we can take it to the next level.  And this is where the paralysis comes in.  We get afraid that if we go to the next level we will open ourselves to a wider audience that may have people who will oust us as a fraud.

We get scared and so use distraction techniques by over planning and getting distracted by yet another new idea (anyone else suffer from Bright Shiny Object syndrome?)

You need to take the leap.  You need to take the next step out of your comfort zone.  But with a little planning, it needn’t seem so scary.  Map out what you need to do.  Break it down into small steps.  Give yourself a deadline for each.  And then go do it.

If you are struggling and need help, come join my Facebook group to share your feelings with other women building their business and going through the same struggles.

What to do when you’re feeling exhausted

What to do when you’re feeling exhausted

Now then, quite a few women I have spoken with recently have told me they are feeling exhausted (and I include myself in that group)

When we feel tired and exhausted, the immediate tendency is to rest. We take time out.  We sleep, meditate, take a bath, have a massage etc.

Yes, these things are important and you do need to rest but something I have learned along the way is that rest must be interspersed with activity.  Sometimes, particularly when we are feeling low, continual resting can exacerbate the situation.  The less we do, the less energy we have.

It really can help to beat exhaustion by getting up and do something active. This doesn’t have to be a 10-mile run.  It could be something as simple as putting on your favourite upbeat music and having a boogie around the kitchen.  Ok, you don’t have to go quite as far as the picture below but you get my drift.

What to do when you are feeling exhausted

But I’m simply too tired I hear you say.  Yes, it can be incredibly hard to get up and move when you are feeling drained and exhausted but just take it in tiny steps. 

Rather than thinking you have to go for a run, just put on your running gear and decide to go for a 10-minute walk.  Once you are out the door you may just find that you want to jog for a minute or two.  Don’t plan to dance.  Just put the music on and see what happens.  Do 10-star jumps.  Or 5 if 10 seem too much.  Or even 2.  Something is better than nothing.  It’s usually that initial moment of action is all that is needed to help change our mindset and get us moving.

Movement can help release energy and endorphins which in turn make us feel better.  Getting the balance of rest and activity is key when we are feeling low. Try it for yourself and let me know in the comments below if it works for you.