How to Avoid Burnout When Growing Your Creative Business with a Full-time Job
Running a blog—an online creative business—can seem glamorous.
The art of hustle is over glorified and honestly, counterproductive.
You’ll burn out faster.
Believe me, I’ve tried.
And have burnt out so fast that there are days I do not feel like doing anything at all.
So I take a break though it’s a half-day break because I feel guilty for not making the most out of my weekends when that’s when I have the most time to work on my biz.
But then I know I also need a break from the stress of the week.
Anyone else feel the same way?
At the moment I’m trying to figure out which day I will dedicate to taking a break:
Saturday or Sunday.
Saturday seems like a good day to work on my biz, but honestly, when I wake up I just want to relax and unwind.
So far what I’ve done is to take my Saturday mornings off and then work on my biz after lunch.
So that Sunday I can take the full day off to prepare for another week ahead.
I am finding that balance between relaxing and growing my biz; and how I can avoid burnout.
I also came across this Instagram post by Melyssa Griffin and my gosh it struck a chord!
She mentioned that she, “was tired all the time, apathetic, emotional, and didn’t feel like her.”
I had these moments too in the last couple of months and just recently about two weeks ago.
At first, my initial thought that maybe it was my anxiety or maybe y’know hormones when it’s that time again.
But it reading her post, it hit me: there are actual symptoms of burnout and not just a feeling.
I am not diagnosed with anything official, but lately, things have been getting better.
So far I have attributed this positive change to the following:
- Reciting positive affirmations after my morning prayer
- Writing down what I am grateful for (though I have not been able to write down in my gratitude journal daily. I have so many notebooks that even if they are already at my bedside table, I still forget!)
- Cut back on the hustle (while learning to be okay with this) at night especially on the days I am very stressed or get home late
If you are in need of tips on how to balance your nine to five with a creative biz and avoid burnout, here’s a starter pack.
Because let’s be honest, burnout ain’t pretty!!
These tips have helped me in trying to find that balance.
Block out times to work on your biz
This tip requires experimentation because you have to take into account the following:
- The time you are most productive
- Your day job
- Time for unwinding / relaxation
I want you to take a piece of paper or open your notes app and write the following:
What is your daily schedule?
This includes your day job and the time it takes for you to get to and from work. Take note of any recurring activities such as any fitness classes or weekly appointments. Write down everything!
When are you most productive?
Review the time that you are productive. For me it’s at night but the trade off is that my mind gets too active that I can’t sleep, which is worse. So starting this week, I’m trying to wake up earlier so and see if I’m actually more productive in the morning. Though based on experience, I’m too sleepy to do big tasks in the morning.
Now time to pick a time to block off.
I originally blocked off 8PM, but over time I’ve realised that this may not be the best time for me.
I do not get home at the same time everyday, which means when I do get home I want to switch off and recharge.
So there are days that I end up only working on my biz for ten minutes a day.
I then feel guilty because I’m not building my biz.
Or when I do work on my biz and get so into the zone, I find it hard to stop and end up going to bed late.
By then my mind is so active and I worry about all the other things work and outside of work that I have yet to do that I find it hard to sleep.
Recently I have gone through almost 48 hours without sleep. It was insane.
That morning I felt horrible, but yet I had to get up for my day job.
So what I did to remedy this is to experiment working on my biz as soon as I wake up instead of at night.
I have only been doing it for two days, but it has not been a struggle as I originally thought it would be.
I am not a morning person.
I used to get up at 5 am because of where I used to work, but now that I work much nearer from home, the thought of waking up before the sun is out is dreadful.
Even waking up at 6am is too early for me already.
To me, sleeping in or waking up at 8am is my way of pampering or treating myself for all the hard work.
Setting an alarm earlier stresses me out because I keep thinking, “I need to get up at this time so I only have this amount of time to sleep.”
So what I did was to allow my natural body clock to wake me up and instead of going back to sleep, I make myself get up.
The last two days instead of rolling in bed and going back to sleep after waking up the first time, I got up and told myself, “Write for 5 mins”
The first day I really only wrote for 5 mins because I had to make it in time for my day job.
The next day I was able to write for almost forty minutes. It was a great feeling!
And at least I won’t feel guilty at night if I choose to unwind with Netflix or Harry Potter: A Hogwarts Mystery because I know I already took the time to work on my biz.
Related: How to Create a Vision Board and Crush Your Creative Goals
Be realistic about what you can and can’t achieve
One of the fastest ways to burn out and get disappointed is to set high, unrealistic goals.
Imagine if on your first month of blogging your goal is to get 10,000 views.
While that’s amazing to aim high, you have to be realistic.
Is that number something that is achievable in that time frame?
Because if you aim too high and then don’t get the results, you’ll be disappointed when you’ve exerted so much effort.
It will feel as if all your hard work is for nothing.
So it’s better to start with small, achievable goals in the beginning to get your momentum going and build your confidence.
When you get going, that’s when you can adjust your goals.
It’s not about how fast you achieve those goals, but that you are able to achieve them in your own time.
It is not a competition.
Don’t feel like just because you did not set a high goal that it means you are taking it easy.
Think of it as building momentum. Of testing to see what you can achieve and then adjust from there.
If your first goal seemed to easy then take it a notch higher or tweak a certain element to make it more challenging.
Your journey is unique to you.
What is important is that you keep going and you keep building your dream of becoming a successful content creator and creative biz owner.
If you already feel burnt out or like all your effort has not come to fruition, you can write yourself a letter of encouragement.
And if that’s not your kind of thing, why not try one of these self care tips?
Have a content calendar
When you plan ahead, you eliminate that feeling of “where do I begin?” because all you have to do is look at what you’ve already planned ahead for and start executing.
You cut back on the time you make your excuses and go straight into taking action.
I’m big on planning.
Ever since I created my own digital content calendar, it’s been easier for me to stay consistent.
Brainstorming and planning also give me energy and make me excited.
Though I admit there are times I feel overwhelmed when I have a lot of ideas.
A content calendar gives you an overview of what you need to work on and from there you can choose which tasks to prioritise or do in batches.
Schedule in breaks
Just like how you blocked off time to work on your goals, you also need to block off time to relax and recharge.
You might feel guilty for taking a few hours away from being productive, but in the long run, your future you will thank you for the break.
Know that it’s okay to deviate from the plan. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure.
It just means you’re pausing, not stopping.
You are taking the time to recharge and reset so that you can come back feeling ready to crush your goals and achieve what you envisioned.
Take a look at the schedule you made from your initial time block off and see which days or hours can you schedule your breaks.
Think of these days as a necessity for your business because your business is a part of you.
And you need to recalibrate yourself and unwind to stay creative.
This is one of the most important things you can do for you.
If you’re always putting your job, your to-dos, and other people ahead of you, how do you expect to still have energy or time for the things you want to do?
This is not to sound selfish, but in retrospect, if you prioritise yourself and put you first, then you will actually have more time and more good vibes to be able to give back to others.
It’s like that saying you can’t pour from an empty cup.
So work on you.
Focus on you.
Dedicate the first thirty minutes or hour of the day for you.
Do you want to journal?
Do you want to work on your biz?
Do that and then you can start your day feeling you can conquer it because you know you’ve done what you’ve wanted to do.
This is something I recently learned when I started waking up early and writing first thing in the morning because I realised that I get cranky when at the end of the day I have no time to do what I want to do.
When I prioritised my biz and the other items I wanted to do in the morning, I felt like instead of rushing or getting irritated if plans suddenly changed, I was able to handle it better and with more ease.
Prioritising yourself is a form of self love.
Don’t make Valentine’s as the only time to practice self-love.
Love yourself every day.
Prioritise you every day.
Over to you: what do you do to avoid burnout and balance your creative biz with a day job?
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Cutting back the hustle is a great tip! X
It really helps to take a break 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and disappointed at myself for not tackling my to do list today and this definitely helped.
This hit home with me!! I have felt the effects of being burnt out for than a few times. I have gotten better and knowing when to take a break. A calendar and making certain task priorities is important in getting things done that are most important first. Blogging can be very tiresome but it’s so worth it! Awesome tips and advice girl!
Yeah I have felt burnout a lot lately too, and it really takes an effort to set aside the time to take a break & focus on self care. Yes, blogging is worth it! 🙂 Thank you for your comment 🙂