6 Tips to Avoid Designer Burnout
The year is rapidly coming to an end, and with deadlines to meet and last-minute projects to complete or deliver, it is only natural that you start feeling somewhat overwhelmed by it all. And this is the period in which many designers become burned out at work. It does not even matter how much you love your job; getting burned out is a frustrating feeling that can happen even to the best of us as we pass through different phases in our lives. And if it has not yet happened to you at one point or the other since the beginning of the year, you might eventually experience it. Burnout refers to a feeling of total exhaustion – or severe stress condition – which can affect you mentally, physically, and even emotionally. It usually happens when an individual pushes himself/herself too hard at work. It is a condition that can also occur when you are stressed for a significantly extended period. Burnout – which is adjudged worse than ordinary fatigue – can make it incredibly challenging for you to address day-to-day responsibilities as well as cope with stress.
Now, it does not matter whether you work from the coziness of your lovely home or from your big office at the top of that imposing building, burnout can diminish your motivation. It can make you feel that you have given everything you have, and there is nothing left to give. You will start dreading to get out of bed every morning, and if you are not careful, you may end up adopting a pessimistic outlook about life. In other words, burnout sucks the life out of you, and you start feeling hopeless. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), burnout is a workplace issue, and it has even officially become a medical diagnosis. Yes, it is that serious as nearly a million people skip work every single day as a result of professional stress. Burnout never goes away on its own; it has to be treated, or else it could result in severe physical and psychological health problems like heart disease, depression, and diabetes.
When burnout occurs, it is almost impossible to reverse it. It causes some damages such as:
- Lowered productivity
- Decreased job satisfaction
- A general decrease in happiness
Therefore, to avoid the worst effects that burnout can bring on, you must do everything in your power to steer clear of it before it strikes. Of course, it is not easy to even see it coming, but here are six tips you should keep in mind to avoid designer burnout:
1. Recognize the Signs of Burnout
You must be able to identify what you are dealing with. That is the first step towards addressing any problem. Burnout has emotional and physical symptoms that you must be aware of. So, if you are experiencing any of the following regularly, then you need to watch out:
- Increased frequency of illness
- Loss of interest
- Chronic fatigue
- Loss of appetite
You should know these symptoms of burnout for yourself and others close to you. And since you are aware of them, you will be able to point them out if a co-worker or family member is exhibiting the signs.
2. Create – and Stick to – Office Hours
Nearly every entrepreneur or business owner puts in more hours into their businesses than they typically would if they worked for someone else. And it is good; that means you are not a slouch.
However, you need to bear in mind that there is much more to life than your business. And the best way to delineate work hours from family time is by setting precise work hours. Design is a creativity-tasking profession, so you shouldn’t allow your work hours to spill over to your family or off-work hours, no matter what.
3. Track Your Time
Most people fail to realize how valuable their time is. You cannot sustain long-term happiness without the appropriate balancing of your personal time with your professional time.
Get a scheduling tool or app to help you keep tabs on how you are spending your time. Take a look or assessment of your week:
- How much time or hours do you spend in your office?
- How much work do you do during those hours at the office?
- How much time do you have for yourself, away from your desk?
- How much work do you do at home?
Separate office hours from “home” hours; if you can. Don’t take any work home from the office. That is why it is a “home.” Spend quality time with your family. If you work from home, your office is your desk, and your bed is your ‘home.’ Remember that and take breaks.
4. Engage in Physical Activity
Physical activities have been proven to be therapeutic. As a creative professional, you need to rest, though your brain should be doing the bulk of the “resting” here. Go out there and engage in exercises such as cycling, swimming, running, or any physical activity that allows your brain to recharge. You will end up sleeping better, and that is when your mind will be relaxed enough to churn out your best ideas. You will experience an increase in motivation and productivity when you engage in physical activities. And of course, keep burnout at bay.
5. Take Short Breaks
Plan your time so that you can take short breaks away from your desk every day. That is why “Lunch Hour” was created and has become a thing these days. When you get away from that desk for lunch or just for a little “me – time,” you will become refreshed mentally, emotionally, and even physically. By the time you get back to your desk, your energy will be renewed, and you can power on till the end of the day. But then, you do not even have to wait until the traditional lunch hour before you step away from your desk. Just block off some time during the day during work hours to recharge. You can do this by:
- Taking a walk
- Listen to an audiobook
- Meet a friend for brunch or lunch, etc.
6. Be Sociable
You need to create time for social activities. Humans are designed to be sociable and to connect. So, adjust your schedule in such a way that allows you to connect with people offline. When you build in some free time which you can spend with your family or friends, your outlook about life will change, and you will cherish each moment spent away from work. Your body will also thank you for it.
It is not worth it to experience burnout as a creative professional. The damage that will be done is too considerable a risk to take. Focusing on self-care will help you to avoid burnout. So, step away from that desk; breathe for a few minutes. Follow the tips outlined above and your health will significantly improve.