While being self-employed has a deluge of benefits, it can be difficult to ensure that you have a good work/life balance. Being solely responsible for generating your income can weigh heavily and this can have a detrimental effect on your health, and although burnout can happen to anyone, there is a greater risk of it happening if you are your own boss.
Why Burnout Happens
A degree of stress is common for freelancers. However, if you reach a point where you are emotionally spent and stressed out then it is likely that you are suffering from burnout. There are many reasons why this can occur, but one of the primary causes of burnout is working too hard. Boredom or freelancing in a field that you’re not passionate about, feeling isolated and your business not going as you had planned are all other factors that can lead to this problem.
Tips to Avoid Burnout
There are a number of things that you can do to minimise the risk of burnout. The most important of these and one that is easily overlooked, is taking proper care of yourself.
It is vital to eat properly and get enough sleep. An exercise routine can also be of great benefit as not only will you become physically fitter, you will also feel better emotionally. Any amount of exercise has been proven to benefit mental health, and is especially advantageous to anyone with mild depression.
Taking regular breaks from work or going on holiday can also help keep burnout at bay (as long as you don’t take your work away with you!). Schedule days off and holidays well in advance so that you can organise your workload and also have something to look forward to. It’s important to carve out time to spend with family and friends and also enjoy some ‘me’ time.
It can be all too easy to become bogged down in the minutiae of your freelance activities and lose sight of why you became your own boss in the first place. It is important, therefore, to regularly take stock of what’s important to you and then plan how to make it happen. By setting yourself some short- and long-term goals you will have a clearer picture of where you are heading and can reward yourself when you get there.
If you’re stuck in a bit of a rut but can’t diversify your freelance activities, one option is to work from somewhere different. Whether you work in a park or head to a coffee shop, you may find that a different vista is all that you need. If there are co-working facilities in the area that you live, this can be a good way of meeting other freelancers and could also lead to new opportunities.
If you are overworked and there are simply not enough hours in the day to do all the tasks that you need to do, then the time may have come to get help. Whether it is someone to carry out some administrative duties or accountants to sort out your books, outsourcing some of the things that need to be done can give you the time that you need to keep in good health.
For the self-employed it is important to remember that you are your business’s greatest asset. It is, therefore, vital that you take care of yourself and minimise the risk of burnout. By recognising the factors that could lead to it developing, taking good care of yourself and having a realistic business plan in place, you can help to protect your business’s greatest investment – you.
Our guest blogger is Denver, a keen, topical blogger and freelance writer who is currently writing for contract accountant specialists Brookson.