8 Proven Steps to Overcome Freelancer Burnout

A freelancer has a lot of responsibilities. They have to be ready to take on new projects at any moment, and they have to keep up with their current projects so they can stay informed about the competition and how to best market themselves in the future.

Freelancers don’t have the luxury of taking time off when they want or putting everything on hold for several days as employees can do. That’s why burnout is such a serious threat to their productivity and overall work ethic.

How to Stay Motivated and Avoid Burnout as a Freelancer
Recognize the signs of burnout
Prioritize self-care and set boundaries
Manage your workload effectively
Seek support and connect with other freelancers
Take regular breaks and vacations
Practice stress management techniques
Maintain motivation and find inspiration in your work
Evaluate and adjust your goals and priorities

What Does ‘burnout’ Mean?

Burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that makes it difficult to perform your job or daily tasks. It’s not a permanent condition; rather, it can be temporary and recoverable if you make the right decisions.

Burnout is often caused by unrealistic expectations and too much stress; however, other causes include overwork, poor organizational skills and unfulfilling work. 

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It’s Important To Differentiate Between The Two Types Of Burnout

The First Type Of “Burnout”

is when you’re working in excess of your workload and for projects that aren’t meaningful to you or your client. This happens when you’re doing too much work for not enough money, and it’s an indication that you should stop taking on new work until your workload normalizes.

The Second Type Of “Burnout” 

is when you’re trying to do too much with your time and need to take a break. You might be taking on more than one client at a time, which is fine as long as they have similar needs and requirements.

But if they’re looking for completely different things, then it’s time to let go of some of your work and split up your workload.

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From Experience

It is easy to get overwhelmed when you first start as a freelancer, especially if you don’t have any experience. But there are steps you can take to overcome the overwhelm and keep your mental health in check.

There Are 8 Steps You Can Take To Keep You From Burning Out:

Step 1. Reduce Your Overhead

Too many freelancers make the mistake of spending money on things unrelated to their work, which can lead to a sense of overwork and burnout. In order to build a business, you have to keep your overhead costs low.

When starting out, it’s tempting to spend money on things that aren’t related to your work. After all, you’re on your own and need to be able to pay your bills. But this is exactly the kind of trap that can lead to overwork and burnout.

Building a business takes time and effort, but it also takes resources. When you’re just getting started, you’re unlikely to have enough savings to cover every expense at once — let alone afford a house or an expensive vacation once you’ve been working for a while.

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Step 2. Take Time Off From Work When Needed 

This may sound counter-intuitive but it is one of the best ways to prevent burnout and improve your overall energy levels when working again. Whether it’s just for one day or a week, taking time off will help re-energize your body and brain so that you can be more productive. 

Step 3. Get Help From Others

These days, there are plenty of resources available to help you manage your life as a freelancer, whether it’s a Facebook group or an online forum designed especially for freelancers to share knowledge or tips about how to deal with conflicts or difficult clients.

Step 4. Set Goals For Yourself, Not Just “Get More Work”

As a freelancer, it’s important that you focus on what’s most important for you and stop worrying about the amount of work available or how much money you make year-to-year.

When you take on too much work, there’s no room for error or concentration on anything else. You might just abandon a project when it looks like it’s going nowhere fast because all your mental energy is consumed with another job.

Step 5. Set Aside Dedicated Time Each Day

This doesn’t necessarily mean going into an office that you’ve set aside for your business — it can be something as simple as taking a walk around the block at lunchtime, or grabbing coffee with a friend you normally see every morning.

The important thing is to make sure you’re not tying yourself down to doing your work while your mind is elsewhere or distracted by other things.

Step 6. Create A Schedule 

So that you know what’s coming up and when. You don’t need a detailed plan, but try to make note of things like meetings, conferences and social events so that you know what’s coming up over the next couple of days.

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Step 7. Find Someone Who Understands Exactly What You’re Going Through

If you’re not sure whether or not you have burnout, consider seeking out advice from professionals who have walked the same path before. They can offer valuable insight on whether or not burnout is the issue or if something else is going on with your business.

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Step 8. Delegate Tasks

Make sure to delegate tasks you don’t enjoy doing to someone else. When you delegate, you’ll have more time for your most important tasks at work, but it also gives others an opportunity to do the things they love — something that will make them happier at work and in life.

Set realistic deadlines for yourself and stick to them unless there’s a good reason not to. If it looks like something will take a lot more time than you think, step back and evaluate whether it’s really worth doing in the first place. You might be able to accomplish it by outsourcing or delegating or co-working instead.

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Developing essential freelance skills is crucial for success in the competitive freelance market. Explore our comprehensive resource on Freelance Skills Every Freelancer Should Have to identify key skills and learn how to enhance your expertise in various areas of freelancing.

Final Thoughts

Over the years, we’ve had several freelancers and entrepreneurs come to us for advice about freelancer burnout. Sometimes it’s a burning desire to earn more money; other times it’s an all-around lack of fulfilment in their careers. Whatever causes freelancer burnout, there are things you can do (usually, small things) to get over it and succeed in your work, even if you have consistent ups and downs. We hope that these methods will help you on your journey towards success, whether professional or personal.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on avoiding freelancer burnout:

How to Avoid Burnout as a Freelance Writer: Discover practical tips and strategies to prevent burnout and maintain a healthy work-life balance as a freelance writer.

6 Tips to Avoid Freelancer Burnout: Learn effective techniques to prevent burnout and manage your energy levels as a freelancer, ensuring long-term success and well-being.

Freelancer Burnout: Causes, Signs, and Solutions: Explore the causes and signs of freelancer burnout and discover actionable solutions to overcome and prevent it in your freelance career.

Freelancer Burnout FAQs

Question: Is It Common For Freelancers To Have Burnout?

Answer: It’s very common for remote workers to experience some level of burnout. And in fact, if you’ve been working remotely for years, it’s likely you’re already experiencing symptoms — and it may be getting worse if you don’t do anything about it.

Question: What Is Burnout? 

Answer: Burnout is a state of physical and mental exhaustion. The symptoms of burnout may include mental fatigue, cynicism or detachment, a low sense of accomplishment or motivation, and physical fatigue. Feelings of low enthusiasm or drive to accomplish tasks are typical symptoms that someone is suffering from burnout.

Question: How To Overcome Burnout?

Answer: Tip 1: You are entitled to relax, Tip 2: Tracking your income, Tip 3: Don’t take things too seriously, Tip 4: Take mini-breaks, Tip 5: Set your own deadlines, Tip 6:Sleep Well and Exercise.

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