5 Tips for avoiding creative burnout

An airplane flying at sunset

Organizations are facing an employee burnout crisis. A recent Gallup study showed that nearly 7,500 full-time employees found that 23% of employees reported feeling burned out at work very often or always, while an additional 44% reported feeling burned out sometimes. That means about two-thirds of full-time workers experience burnout on the job.

It seems inevitable. You watch your colleagues lose steam as they hurtle pass career milestones. Your own initial propulsion towards success, once so passionate, feels forced. Projects become an unending to-do list of chores you’d rather push aside for a few mindless hours with Netflix. These are the tell-tale signs that burnout is on the horizon, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to be.

Avoiding burnout is possible as long as you approach it with foresight and strategy. To that end, we’ve outlined five tips to help creatives step away from their digital devices and daily work to enjoy and thrive off us some much needed — and much deserved — time off.

First, notify your members or clients

Every solid relationship is built off of trust and consistency and that’s still true when you’re taking time off. Soon after you buy those plane tickets, notify your clients or fanbase that you’ll be MIA during a certain period of time. With your members you could use it as an opportunity to give a peek into your personal life and creative process. For example, you can write a post about your tip that gives readers insight into how healthy mental states are linked to moments of respite and how you’ll be recharging your creative juices for a new project.

Another strategy could be to purposefully schedule a vacation during industry downtime. The music industry notoriously slows down during the holidays, practically for the full month of December. If you’re a musician, planning a getaway right before the new year would make the ordeal a lot less stressful, just as it should be.

Take inventory, organize, and delegate tasks

So, what do you actually do on a day-to-day basis? Now is the time to take an inventory of all those offhand tasks that you complete without thinking. For at least a few days record everything, and we mean everything, you attend to. Once your done writing down each and every task, start to think long-term. A two week vacation will affect your workflow differently than a four day road trip, so plan accordingly.

You may have a helping hand in your midst willing to pick up the slack while you’re gone. Whether that’s a PA, intern, or a good friend, don’t be afraid to delegate. These moments are exactly why you’ve nurtured a support system.

Schedule articles, tweets, and automate emails

Unfortunately, until we nail down teleportation, you can’t be in two places at once. Luckily, handy scheduling tools make is so you don’t have to be. Want to schedule blog posts or articles for your website ahead of time? Wordpress and Squarespace have options for that.

Worried that your social media presence will stagnate while you’re suntanning? There’s a plethora of tools with varying price tiers and flexibility: Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and CoSchedule only name a few. What about emails? How will your fanbase remember you have a gallery opening or a show in their city? MailChimp is a gold standard for email automation.

Plan out giveaways and special promotions

As part of your social media or email scheduling, consider throwing in a giveaway or special promotion that ends after your return. It’s an easy and off-hands way to engage with your members while you’re taking time off.

If you’ve set yourself up with passive income, it’s also a smart idea to boost it with special promotions before your trip. The extra cash will buy you peace of mind when deciding whether you’d like to spring for a spa massage.

Relax, take a breath, and unplug

Ok, here’s that tough love moment: stay away from your inbox. Schedule your OOO reply days in advance. Some experts even suggest creating a vacation-centric email address and only giving the address out to those who absolutely need to contact you.

You’ve worked out the kinks. You’ve planned and double-checked those plans, put aside some extra income, and are about to board a plane, sit on a train or car, for several hours to see new sights. You deserve to unplug, and your creative juices will applaud you for it.