7 tips on how to avoid burnout as a freelancer

Freelancers can experience burnout just like regular employees. Here are 7 Tips on how to avoid burnout and keep the passion alive as a freelancer.
7 tips on how to avoid burnout as a freelancer

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How to stop waltzing with burnout

The 22% increase in freelancing across America isn't only due to pandemic-related restrictions. It also is happening because young and highly-skilled professionals are looking for more flexible ways to work. The $1.2 trillion freelance market doesn't look like it's going anywhere, anytime soon!

While freelancing is awesome, everyone who works this way is sure to battle burnout at some point. Read on for information about how to avoid burnout and continue building your career.

1. Recognize burnout signs early

If you're looking to avoid burnout, it's important that you know its signs. While you can preemptively stop burnout, you have to first know when it's descending on you. If you think you may be getting burnt out, consider whether you have the following signs:

  • Feeling constantly tired
  • Experiencing frequent aches in pains
  • Changes in sleep and eating habits
  • Lack of satisfaction in all areas of life
  • Detachment and low motivation
  • Helplessness and hopelessness
  • Inability to engage with responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself
  • Taking out frustrations on yourself and those around you

If you do, you're likely on the precipice of burnout.

2. Switch up your surroundings

Freelancers tend to fall into patterns of working in the same place each day. While this is also the reality of an office job, going into work at least gets you out of the house and surrounded by others. Sitting in the same home workspace day after day means that every day is identical, which can cause burnout.

Try switching your surroundings and leaving your home. Grab your laptop and head to a coffee shop you love. Working at a park picnic table is ideal for nice days since it also gets you some Vitamin D and fresh air.

3. Get more organized with your business

Being disorganized with your projects and clients can make working unnecessarily difficult. This naturally leads to burnout because it can increase your frustration and make simple tasks take more time.

Getting an app like Moxie allows you to manage both clients and projects to make your job easier. You'll be able to simplify all tasks and projects so that you don't need to worry about mundane activities. Your dashboard will have all the information you need, from projects to proposal and contract management.

Eliminating messiness and disorganization will help you remember what you love about freelancing. You can focus on tasks that actually interest you without any frustration. 

4. Keep your space neat

Studies show that cluttered workspaces make it difficult to focus on tasks. They also increase anxiety and stress.

Just as you need to organize your projects, you need to keep your workspace orderly as well. Clear up any clutter that you don't need. Put day-to-day items like pens, pencils, and notepads into drawers to make them readily accessible.

Keep the number of personal items on your desk to a minimum to prevent distractions. Eliminating printed contracts and documents limits your storage needs, saving space and paper. You can even store important paperwork in your Moxie app to make it easily accessible.

This will mean you don't need to sift through stacks of paper. It also means that your clients will be able to collaborate within the technology itself. Since the needs of a freelancer are always changing, you want the ability to constantly tweak projects and proposals.

5. Schedule your days off

Setting your own hours is one of the best things about freelancing. However, it also can be a curse. If you choose when you work, you can work all the time.

You also are likely to feel guilty when you're not working since you could be making money. Time off shouldn't be shameful but rather something that you look forward to and enjoy.

Make sure to predetermine days that you're going to relax and put them into your calendar. Taking the time to care for yourself and do other things you love is essential to working effectively when you're on the clock.

6. Make time to socialize

While spending time alone is important, it's just as essential that you get out to see friends and family. Freelancing can be isolating and you don't want to get trapped in a lonely situation.

Text a friend to meet up for dinner or swipe right on someone on a dating app. Call a family member on Skype if they're far away. Since human beings need social interaction just as much as food and shelter, you'll feel much better afterward.

You also might want to consider your interests, finding clubs or volunteer opportunities near you. This will ensure that freelancing isn't the only thing that makes you feel purposeful. You can appreciate your work more when you have other things in your life, too.

7. Unplug when you’re off work

By 'unplug,' we don't mean that you need to turn off your phone and computer. That would be antithetical to being social, after all! Instead, we mean that you should disable the applications and communication tools that tie you to clients.

Messages from clients will be there when you get back the next day. The same applies to project inquiries with new potential clients. People generally expect a response within 24-48 hours, not 2-3.

There's no reason for you to be married to your workplace 24/7. People with 9-5 jobs definitely are not. Freelancing is supposed to make work easier and more flexible rather than more difficult and rigid.

Beyond how to avoid burnout

Now that you know how to avoid burnout as a freelancer, it's time to optimize your projects and your workflow.

We're committed to helping you get excited about freelance work again that you can help clients, do what you love, and make money. Get started with Moxie to get the digital tools that you need to get organized and avoid burnout.

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Our team of career freelancers writes about best invoice practices, what makes a great client, and repeats the mantra, "never work without a contract." We're opinionated about the future of work and will always be on the side of freelancers.
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