Skip to content

Nip Burnout in the Bud: 6 Tips for Freelancers Who Are Feeling Burned Out

    Photo: Nataliya Vaitkevich / Pexels

    Whether you’re a content producer in Melbourne using the best virtual offices for freelancers or a digital nomad in Mumbai working out of a cafe, being self-employed can lead to burnout from time to time. Usually, it’s due to overwork, stress, or a simple lack of motivation. Whatever the cause, here are six tips to nip burnout in the bud. 

    1. Learn when to say “no” 

    Although it can be scary, it’s important to say “no” when necessary. Otherwise, you’ll end up accepting every project and feeling overwhelmed as you try to juggle all the tasks. In other words, you’ll feel burned out. 

    To say “no” effectively, give an honest reason for why you can’t take on a project at the moment. In addition, offer to help the client out by connecting them with a reputable freelancer in your network. 

    2. Set and stick to a schedule

    Although a certain amount of pride comes from pushing through long days without breaks, it’s not the most productive strategy. It’s far more likely to lead to burnout and diminishing returns than full days of focused productivity. 

    Luckily, there’s a simple solution: setting and sticking to a schedule with breaks. That can mean setting specific work hours for each day, as well as taking regular mini breaks during those set hours. The Pomodoro technique can help with that.

    3. Work smarter, not harder

    The difference between working smarter and working harder is similar to the difference between being productive and being busy. The former is about getting the most out of your work time, while the latter is about working most of the time. 

    To work smarter, prioritize your tasks, use productivity tools, and take breaks. Simple lists prioritized by importance and urgency can help you determine how to structure your day. Using productivity tools and taking regular breaks can help you stay focused until you finish your tasks for the day.

    4. Create a workspace

    One of the main benefits of being a freelancer is that you can choose when and where you work. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you necessarily should. Although it might be tempting to work from bed every day, that might also tempt you to take one too many naps. 

    Instead, consider setting up a distinct workplace. Choose an area that’s quiet and free from distractions. Next, organize your workspace to stay focused. Finally, if possible, add some personal charm to it. Potted plants and family photos can do wonders for your morale. 

    5. Manage clients and finances

    Alongside doing the actual work that gets you paid, you also have to find new clients and manage your finances. If this aspect of the self-employed life isn’t tracked closely, it can quickly lead to stress and burnout. 

    To avoid that, create a budget to manage your finances effectively. In addition, make sure that you and your clients are on the same page when it comes to deadlines, expectations, and payment terms. 

    6. Talk with other freelancers

    Freelancing has many benefits, but it can also be isolating from time to time. To ensure loneliness doesn’t pile up and dampen your motivation, reach out to others. Socializing with other freelancers helps you personally and professionally. Personally, it allows you to vent and talk shop with others who deal with the same issues. Professionally, it broadens your network of clients and co-workers, while keeping you tapped into industry trends and upcoming events. 

    Although burnout may be common, it’s not inevitable. The six tips above can keep it in check while ensuring your freelance career is on track.