Money - Jobs
By: - at April 20, 2013

Tips for Freelancers to Avoid Burnout

Burnt Out Worker, Working too HardBurnout is when you are suffering from emotional exhaustion. It's also when you're not as interested in things as you used to be. You feel tired and don't really care that much about doing your work. You become cynical and feel drained of energy.

One way to prevent burnout is to find balance in your daily life. Trust your instincts and be aware of your limitations. Don't feel that you have to neglect your own needs. If you start feeling numb inside and don't find joy in the things you used to love, don't wait. Take action to re-energize yourself. If you don't, you're sure to eventually crash and burn.

Freelancing gives you a lot of freedom, but that freedom can be dangerous if not handled properly. To be sure that freelancing brings you the happiness you hoped for and avoid being burned out by it; you must take care of yourself.

Here are some tips to avoid burnout:

Set Regular Business Hours
Itís best to set certain hours that you will work. Even If you go to your office and sit there doing nothing, keep yourself on a schedule and don't let your work creep over into your private life.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that every hour of your week has to be billable. Aim to be able to bill at most about half of a normal workweek, or 20 hours. Then spend the rest of your normal workweek making calls, doing bookkeeping, sending out invoices, and just thinking of ways to improve your business.

Maintain a Diverse Client Base
Sometimes, you get a client that has loads of work for you to do. This one client keeps you busy, so busy that you don't need to get work from other clients.

While itís reassuring to have so much work, remember that you're not an employee. The well can dry up very quickly. If you've stopped accepting work from you existing clients and if you've stopped prospecting for new ones, you could be left high and dry when the work stops flowing your way.

In addition, only having one or a few clients can lead to boredom and burnout. Just as it would for a full-time employee who did the same work over and over again.

Don't be Afraid to Work with Others
Working with OthersWe often grow the most when we take a leap of faith. If you have too much work to do, don't be afraid to farm some of it out to other freelancers. You would continue to be responsible for the final product and you need to tell your client that you may hire someone to help you with the project. You also need to have a contract with the person you're working with to protect yourself. Most people are honest and by working with others, you may just find that you can form an alliance that will benefit everybody!

Don't Compromise your Standards
There are few things that can drain your energy more than doing work you donít believe in or, worse, believe is wrong. Don't think you have to accept every job that comes your way, especially if they don't feel "right" for you. For example, if a company asks you to do something that you don't think is ethical, decline to do the job.

One example of this might be a company who wants you to document what each employee does because they plan to let several of them go, but they don't want the employees to know this. This work might bother some people. As you're working with people, there's a good chance you'll form relationships of some kind with them. If you don't want to be the instrument of management's little secret plan simply decline to do the job.

Personally, whenever I've said "no" to a job, I never go into detail about why I don't want to do it. To me, explaining my morals and reasons doesn't benefit me or the person I'm talking to in these situations. Instead, I simply tell them that I can't take on that job at this time. I don't feel that itís my job to tell others what they should think or how they should live.

In your business dealings, never forget who you are and what you stand for. Strive to keep an image in your mind about what you want your company and yourself to be about in five years. Then work to get those jobs that will take you there.

Take Care of the Details
As boring and unpleasant as it might be, you need to keep your records in order. This is a tough one for me, as it is for most creative types. We tend to want to forget about keeping the books, sending out past-due reminders, and other things that are unpleasant. As difficult as it may be to take care of the details, we need to remember that the details are what allow us to keep doing what we want.

Reward Yourself
Golf OutingWhen you're working as an employee, managers know that giving people rewards for doing a good job helps refresh them and make them even more dedicated to their jobs. Yet, when we work for ourselves, all too often we forget to reward ourselves when we do a good job. If you've just finished a particularly difficult project, give yourself a treat. It might be an afternoon at the spa, a golf game at a nice course, or anything else that makes you feel pampered and special.


Set Achievable Goals
If you don't know where you're going, how will you ever know when you've arrived? Let's say that your goal is to be a successful freelance writer, for example. What does success mean to you? Does it mean that you're well known and respected by many? Does it mean that you make $50,000 or $100,000 a year?

Let's just say that your goal is to make $50,000 a year. How will you achieve that? Will you look for one project that pays you $50,000 that you can complete in a year? Or will you look for 10 projects that pay $5,000? While there are projects that pay $50,000 and more, itís not likely that youíll get those when you first start out. And even if you do, you may not be prepared to handle them.

It's far better to look for 10 projects that pay $5,000. There are more of them to be found and itís a goal that you can achieve more easily than trying to find one really large job.

Keep It Interesting
Tired WorkerWorking on the same project for eight hours can be both exhausting and boring. Change your focus a few times throughout the day to keep your mind engaged in what you're doing. Break larger projects up over a few days. If breaking the project up isnít an option, schedule your time so youíre writing in the morning and editing in the afternoon. Do anything to refocus your energy so you can stay mentally fresh.

Follow Your Dreams
Living our lives according to someone else's ideas or spending our time doing what we think we "should" be doing rather than what we want to be doing can wear us down. Stay in touch with the things you really want to achieve in your life. Take some time to visualize how you would like for your life to be like five years from now. What will your days look like? What time will you get up? Where will you work? How many hours a day will you work? What is important to you? How will you live your life so you can do what means the most to you?





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