Most of us designers and people from the creative industry rely on our creative talent to make a living; not that is all it takes to be a designer but it’s a large part of it.
The problem we have is how to keep up with this daily creativity and never run out of it, as we all know the term “burnout”. Many creatives end up burning out at some point of their work life. It can be very frustrating and take a long time to recover. Being a creative may seem easy in other eyes, but we know it is difficult to keep up the creativity with the stress of our daily lives.
We don’t learn how to stay inspired and creative; we have to be aware that refreshing our minds is essential to keep it running without a problem. Here are a few things I have been doing that have helped me tremendously with my creativity. This is how I fill up my tank and make sure I never run out of gas.
Going back to being a creative, especially if you are a freelancer or someone that works from home; there’s a tendency to not have an exact time to start working, which is not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that there’s probably not a set time to stop working as well.
We have to set up a time to start or at least the most important, set a time to stop work. When I say stop I mean stop until the next day. My stop time is 5pm everyday, sometimes earlier but never later. If I do need to work more I start another section later at night let’s say 10pm – 12pm or so depending on the amount of work I need to get done, that way I get a nice break to refresh my mind.
If you don’t set a time to stop, it’s like being on 24/7. Even though you’re not working every minute, or even if you away from your computer, you’re mind is always going back to work. Especially if you keep checking email and social accounts on your phone and every now and then you come back to the computer to do something. If you find yourself doing that, it means you never disconnect from your work, you’re always ON and you will burn out sooner or later.
Another thing that I do daily which helps me a lot with keeping a fresh mind is staying active. I found a physical activity that I enjoy and I use it to take my mind away from everything by focusing on it for an hour or two. Look for an activity that you like and can be passionate about. If you are not into sports or any kind of physical activity, you can find yourself doing other things like music or taking the time to fulfill other passions. You can do anything that you will have to completely focus on without being able to think about work.
I’ve always been into sports and for the past 3 years I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, so every night right after I turn off I move on to my training. I stay active by doing that, and I’m also using the time to also learn about a Martial Arts. Most importantly, it’s nearly impossible to think about work when someone is trying to choke you out or put you on a submission.
By doing that I completely take my mind away from work and keep it fresh and ready for the next day, so I suggest you do the same. Find something you like and enjoy doing, something you can be passionate about. This will help you stay active and refresh your mind.
Take a Day Off
Take a day off from technology every week, away from technology meaning computer, Internet, phone (if possible) or anything work related. Enjoy a day doing something that inspires you and make sure to get away from the box where you work or live in.
I know it’s hard to take a day off when you’re really busy and you are passionate about what you do. I’ve had this problem where I wanted to work every day and every second of my life. Eventually we have to understand that life is a marathon, not a sprint race and think about what’s better for ourselves in the long run.
Every week I take one day off to completely stay away from home/work and do something I enjoy. I try to get inspired by the world away from my work. What I’ve been doing is going to a different town every week, to simply walk around and take photos. I found that photography inspires me and getting to know different places to photograph is a really cool activity. Find this activity that you enjoy doing and turn off from technology. By the next day you will want to work so much more. A day off from technology will feel more like a week away from the computer, so your work mind will flow like never before.
Here are some other interesting articles I found on the subject:
- Burnout – A List Apart
- Overcoming Creative Burnout – HOW Design
- Avoiding Designer Burnout - Six Revisions
- 12 Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Freelancer – DesignM.ag
I hope that we can all take a lesson out of this and make sure we don’t run out of gas on this long road called life. Feel free to say Hello! and I’ll see you next time.