When running a freelance business, you are your own boss and, consequently, are responsible for doing everything yourself (or at least ensuring things get done).
This freedom is, to a large degree, what attracts people to go freelance in the first place, but if not kept in check, the seeming mountain of things to do can quickly get out of hand and, if not managed properly, lead to burnout.
Here are 9 ways to avoid freelancer burnout.
Don’t take on all the work
It can be tempting to take on all the work offered to you all at the same time.
You might think this is the best way to buffer yourself during the dreaded freelance feast and famine cycle, but this can actually lead to it.
Instead, spread client work out into manageable timescales, let clients know when they can expect a project to be started and completed, and consider referring work to other freelancers (you know and trust) if you cannot fit work into your schedule.
Taking on too much work is a fast-track route to burnout.
Don’t compare yourself to others
They say that comparison is the thief of joy, and this is certainly true when you compare yourself to other freelancers who appear to be doing better than you or having more exciting or well-paying clients.
While you should be aware of what your competitors are doing, you should really be focusing on what you are doing – what works for one freelancer doesn’t necessarily work for another.
Constantly comparing yourself to others will make you feel that you are always playing catch up and can lead to anxiety (or, even worse, impostor syndrome!).
Instead, stop, look at all you’ve achieved and the great work you’ve done for your clients and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.
Have systems and processes in place
Having good systems and processes in place is key for any solopreneur. This can be anything from client onboarding processes to automated systems for project management and communicating with clients.
It also makes sense to automate and outsource monotonous, time-consuming tasks such as invoicing.
One thing that can contribute to stress and burnout is having to chase clients for late payment, so it makes sense to have this process automated.
With the Invoice Ninja Pro Plan, you can create custom email reminders to send to clients to ensure invoices are not overlooked and you get paid faster.
Take time out
It can be easy to merge work with play and end up working around the clock, especially if you are passionate about what you do.
However, unless you take a break, take time to refresh and recharge, your work and work-life balance will suffer. Sometimes, we have to take a step back to take a big leap forward – so make sure you schedule in quality downtime so you can always perform at your optimum.
Constantly working is counter-productive and leads to stress and burnout.
Keeping fit and healthy is always a good idea and will help combat stress.
So make sure you plan exercise into your day, even if it’s just a short walk around the block.
Make sure you have time away from your work to move and stretch your body. Exercise breaks are not only good for your body but also your mind.
For example, going on a long walk at lunchtime after a healthy lunch can not only help with your digestive process (the technical name for it is ‘peristalsis’ in case you are interested!) but also help you process work issues and come up with brilliant ideas and solutions for your business – so it really is a win-win!
Plan healthy meals in advance
One way to free up your time during the working week is to either bulk prepare your meals in advance or at least plan ahead so you know what you will be eating on any given day.
This has the added benefit of not only saving time and effort but also planning healthy meals instead of snacking on nibbles and tidbits or relying on junk fast food that zaps your energy and has pretty much zero nutritional value to fuel your mind and body.
Bulk schedule content
If you create marketing content for your business, such as social media content, prepare and schedule it in advance.
Whether you use a specific day a week for content creation or build it into your everyday work plan, it makes sense to prepare it in advance so you know you always have content at hand to rely on.
This will save you time in the long run, and you’ll feel less overwhelmed during busy periods.
Review your prices
If you are struggling and are overworked, it might be time to review your prices.
Freelancers can get burnout from trying to do all the things but not charging appropriately for their work or time. You might need to increase your prices or how you charge.
For example, are you charging an hourly rate for something that would better fit as a package or project rate? It might be that you can do specific tasks quickly but are not getting paid for the value you provide.
It’s worth considering if increasing your prices would result in a decrease in your workload.
Plan your week ahead
The simplest things are often the most effective, and good time management can be an excellent tool to keep burnout at bay. Planning your week or month in advance, scheduling tasks, and adding in buffers for overruns and the unexpected is a great way to ensure your business runs smoothly.
You could also consider time blocking, where you block certain days or portions of time in your calendar to work on a specific topic, or it can even be to do something totally unwork-related.
By planning ahead and properly prioritizing tasks, you can make sure you’re not busy being busy but working smart and being productive.
We hope this was helpful. If you know anyone who might benefit from this post, please share. Thank you!