As creatives we go through the ebbs and flows of inspiration. Sometimes it hits us like waves and we’re overwhelmed with all the great ideas. And other days it’s completely serene, with no wave in sight.
I have been struggling a lot this past month, especially when it comes to being focused and staying motivated. Some days I just can’t do a single thing, and I’m lucky if I cross off even one thing on my to-do list.
So how do you stay motivated and continue working on your business when all you want to do is watch Netflix or read a book?
Business Burnout: how to get out of your slump
Give yourself a break
I strongly believe that this month of no motivation or focus is a result of burnout, and not taking a break when I truly needed it. About two months ago I needed a break. Just a week off to work on my hobbies, leave the business behind and have some downtime. But, being a new business and in the middle of some projects, that time never happened. I am still paying the price for ignoring this, and now an entire month of unproductiveness has gone by, and there’s no end in sight.
I took a break from social media, and blogging and instead focused on taking care of myself.
Take a break from the internet. Stop digesting blog posts, tweets, Periscopes, and photos on Instagram. Most importantly, stay off of Pinterest. Taking in all that information is overwhelming, and has a way of making you feel incompetent and miles behind everyone posting. But the truth is, you’re not. You’re exactly where you need to be, and not one foot further from that. Give yourself the break you deserve, and ignore everything else.
Attend a networking event.
The only thing I’ve wanted to do is curl up into a ball and hide from the world. I wanted to give up on my dream and not talk to anyone about it, let alone trying to sell myself at a networking event. BUT, after attending an event about women entrepreneurs in Alberta (shout out to my Canadian babes), and being surrounded by amazing business owners that are working on amazing things, I had a little revelation.
I don't want to give up. I want to live my dream and continue working on projects I’m passionate about. After hearing so many amazing stories, I was just blown away by all the possibilities and support.
It will allow you to see that you're not alone. And will inspire you with everyone else's passion. If they can do it, why can't you?
Reach out to others
When all I could think about was giving up, or how hard running a business was, the last thing I wanted to do was talk to people about that. But my sister said something that stopped my in my tracks.
I said something along the lines of “I don’t want to pretend like everything is okay anymore”.
And she replied saying “why do you have to pretend? Why can’t you talk about the hard things, and let people know that you’re having a hard time?"
My thoughts were, well what if I’m seen as less than a business owner because I’m struggling. What if I look unprofessional? But after that conversation, I started opening up to people and talking about my struggles. It was so freeing and instead of being rejected, I was greeted with open arms and was suddenly more relatable than ever before.
Work somewhere new
I’m the kind of person that can’t stay and sit in a desk all day long, day after day. If I had it my way, I would work at a co-working space to get out of the house and interact with others.
But that’s not always feasible because it can be an expensive investment. My favourite desks to “rent" are in coffee shops around town. Yes buying a coffee every day can be expensive, but I just like to remind myself that it’s the cheapest desk I'll ever rent.
I find that a change in scenery can make all the difference. Sometimes just being around other people can also help you be productive. Switch things up and try a new coffee place.
Okay, so I haven't personally tried this one yet, but I know it has to work! The more I read and learn about living a healthy life, the more I am learning about mediation and all the wonderful things it does for your life!
It is on my list to try and incorporate into my daily practice. As a newbie, I am using some apps like Headspace to get started, or simple meditation podcasts to get in the flow.
Creative burnout is a very real problem, especially as a business owner. If we're not careful, we can hit burnout suddenly and with no end in sight (been there, done that, never want it to happen again!)
Try some of these preventative measures to stay on track and avoid the burn out. Or if you feel yourself right in the thick of it, give some of these a try and see if it helps you move forward.
What are your favourite ways to combat burnout?