As a freelance writer, striking the right balance between your work and personal life can be challenging. It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of managing tight deadlines across multiple client projects while also trying to maintain some semblance of social interaction. Before you know it, you’re working around the clock and feeling burnt out.
But staying productive as a freelance writer doesn’t mean you have to live in a constant state of stress. By following a few simple tips, you can avoid burnout and still get the most out of your writing career.
Set Realistic Goals
When juggling multiple client projects, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose focus. To avoid this, set realistic goals for yourself each day and week. Then, break down your larger goals into smaller tasks that are more manageable, and give yourself specific deadlines for completing them. This will help you stay on track while avoiding the stress of accomplishing too much at once.
The career of a freelance writer can be a competitive one, and the pressure to continuously look for new opportunities can be intense. But rather than setting a goal to land a certain number of new clients each month, focus on quality over quantity. This will help you avoid taking on too many projects and burning yourself out in the process.
Stay Mindful of Your Mental Health
Your mental health should always be a priority, no matter how busy you are. In fact, if it goes unchecked, excessive burnout can lead to increased anxiety levels and depression. Not only that, chronic stress can result in the manifestation of physical ailments as well. This makes it critical that you address these issues as they arise and find healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of your career.
If you’re feeling stressed or burnt out, take some time for yourself to relax and recharge. This can mean taking a few minutes each day to meditate, going for a walk in nature, or reading your favorite book.
It’s also important to be mindful of the types of projects you’re taking on. If a particular client is causing you more stress than usual, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with them. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you’re feeling overwhelmed — your mental health is more important than any individual project.
Set Boundaries With Yourself and Your Clients
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, it’s essential to set boundaries with both yourself and your clients. This means saying no when you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t have the time and setting limits on the number of hours you’re willing to work each day.
It’s also crucial to communicate these boundaries upfront with your clients. Let them know what days and hours you’re available for work, and be clear about your rates for overtime. If a client starts pushing you beyond your comfort zone, it may be time to end the relationship.
Give Yourself Adequate Time to Unwind
After a long day of work, it can be tempting to just collapse into bed and hope for a better tomorrow. But if you don’t give yourself time to unwind, you’ll only end up feeling more stressed and burnt out.
Instead, try to schedule some time each day for yourself — even if it’s just a few minutes. This can be used for anything from taking a relaxing bath to reading your favorite book. And don’t forget to take regular breaks during long work sessions. Stand up and walk around the room, or get some fresh air outside.
It’s also important to set aside time each week for rest and relaxation. This can mean taking a weekend trip away with friends or family, attending a yoga class, or simply spending an afternoon at home lounging on the couch.
Get Enough Physical Activity
When you’re feeling stressed and burnt out, it can be easy to neglect your physical health. But exercise is a great way to reduce stress and improve your mood.
Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This doesn’t have to mean going to the gym — anything from taking a walk outside to dancing around your living room will do the trick.
If you’re struggling to find time for exercise, try incorporating it into your daily routine. Wake up a few minutes earlier each morning and use that time for a quick workout or go for a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
When you exert yourself at the gym or when playing sports, your body releases endorphins. These are hormones that interact with the receptors in your brain and produce a positive feeling. That’s why you often hear people say they feel better after working out, even though they may be tired. So not only does exercise help reduce stress, but it can also improve your mood and overall sense of well-being.
Avoiding burnout as a freelancer isn’t always easy, but it’s essential to prioritize your physical and mental health. Staying productive as a contractor doesn’t mean working around the clock. Instead, it means finding the right balance of work and rest and being mindful of your limits. By following the tips above, you’ll be better equipped to avoid burnout in the future and ensure that your freelancing career is sustainable.