As freelancers, we are always working on something different and it can be hard to find the time for our own well-being. End result: freelancer burnout. We often feel overworked and undervalued. Working from home can be chaotic. And that thing called life balance? Well, let’s just say that it is hard to find.
So what causes freelancer burnout?
Freelancer Burnout Causes
Our to-do lists are a mile long and growing longer every day. So many things demand our time that it’s easy to feel as though we cannot possibly keep up. This can lead to feelings of being overwhelmed, which if left unchecked for an extended period of time will certainly cause burnout.
- Try this: Clearly break down your tasks into bite-sized chunks and accomplish them one by one. Prioritize the most important tasks and delegate or eliminate the rest.
Lack of control over our work lives.
When we are freelancers, so much of our time and energy is devoted to finding new work and clients. We can often feel as though we have no control over when and how that work comes in. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and instability, which affect our mental outlook and cause freelancer burnout.
- Try this: Be patient with yourself if things don’t happen immediately, but remind yourself that the hard work will pay off in the end. Also, look for ways to take control of your own schedule and eliminate tasks that feel like a waste of time if they don’t move you closer to your goals.
We work hard, put in a lot of hours, and often feel like our efforts are not appreciated. This can lead to feelings of resentment and frustration.
- Try this: Ask for feedback from your clients to help improve the quality of your work. We’re not fishing for compliments here (though some will come) but rather we’re looking for objective feedback to help us improve. A good client should be willing and able to give this kind of feedback so that you can make the changes necessary in your work product. Also, remind yourself of your accomplishments on a regular basis and give yourself credit where it is due.
Lack of life balance.
We work hard, but rarely take time to relax and enjoy ourselves. Maybe you work late, skip lunch, or eat at your desk. Maybe you don’t exercise because you don’t have time (because you’re working too much). Is that really necessary? Freelancer burnout is often associated with work addiction where we feel like our only purpose in life is to work harder and longer than anyone else.
- Try this: Schedule regular breaks into your day, even if it’s just for five or ten minutes. Get up and walk around, take a quick nap, or just step outside to get some fresh air. Examine where you spend your time and make changes. Make time for exercise and relaxation each week, and stick to it.
Many of us freelance from home, which can be a blessing and a curse. It’s great to have the flexibility, but it’s also easy to get distracted by all of the things going on around us (our pets, our children, etc). Working from home can be stressful, and it can lead to feelings of isolation.
- Try this: Get dressed each day as if you were going into an office. This will help you mentally prepare for your workday. Also, try to create a specific workspace in your home where you do all of your freelance work. This will help minimize distractions. You could even try working in a co-working space, Starbucks, or the library occasionally to avoid distractions and help alleviate some stress.
These are just a few of the many causes of freelancer burnout. As you’ve probably figured out by now, burnout is often related to things that are within our control. Be sure to check out this infographic with some tips for preventing burnout. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take some time for yourself to recharge and evaluate your situation.