4 Strategies to Avoid Creative Burnout

Q3 is upon us, friends! For those of you non-corporate types, “Q3” is the third quarter of the year. That means this year is 50% over as of July 1. These midsummer days have me reflecting on vacations, self-care, and what it takes to stay creatively vitalized after the energy of the beginning of the year has waned. Getting to this point in the year without prioritizing self-care can lead to burnout. So if you have summer goals and things you want to accomplish in the next six months I encourage you to implement these four habits if you haven't already.

Designate escape time. It’s rut season. This means you probably need to shake up your routine in order to feel creatively sharp and energized. Book some escape time on your calendar. You may need to take a technology free retreat weekend. Maybe you need to deactivate Facebook for 30 days. Perhaps it’s just scheduling 90 minutes of reading each evening instead of the usual Netflix routine or trying out hot yoga or a new fitness class. With the pace in which we live and work these days if we want more margin in our lives we have to be intentional about it. Don’t know where to start? Answer this question: if you could turn the volume down in one area of your life, what would it be? 

Get enough sleep. This is imperative. If you’re going to be fabulously productive and creative you have to be as alert as possible. That means get the sleep you need. This is truly my secret weapon of managing my multi-gig life. How long would you sleep without an alarm? How long do you sleep when you wake up right before your alarm? That’s a good indicator of how much sleep is ideal for you. Protect your sleep! Protecting your sleep is truly protecting your brain. You need every synapse firing throughout the day to do all you do. If you have trouble getting to bed go ahead and set a bedtime alarm. Do whatever you need to do to make the choice easier to hit the sack. 

Make time to exercise. This is especially important if your work requires you to be sedentary for much of the day. If your work has you typing away on a computer or sitting at a desk, you’ve especially got to prioritize exercise. And major bonus points if you can also make that exercise happen out in nature. It is amazing how many great ideas have come to me when I’m outside running on trails. Implementing exercise into your routine will give you increased energy and bonus: release endorphins that make you happier and decrease anxiety. Exercise not your thing? Start with a post-dinner walk around the neighborhood. Want to start running but also can’t imagine doing it? Start with 1 minute of walking then 30 seconds of jogging. Alternate until you’ve hit a mile. 

Schedule a Quarterly Zoom Out. If this term sounds familiar it may be because I expounded on the merits of a QZO over on this post. 4-6 times a year I encourage you to get out of your normal routine, take off work if you can, and spend the day in reflection mode. Spend some time in nature, go write and read somewhere that you don’t frequent, and ask yourself if you’re prioritizing what really matters in your life. Does the way you’re spending your time match your values? Are you on track to reach your goals this year? What goals do you need to establish for Q3? Reflect on all this and make decisions on a QZO day. Tip: put your phone on airplane mode and turn on an autoresponder on your email. It’s important to be distraction free on a QZO day. 

Don’t let a summer slump get in the way of producing during this season. Take intentional time off, step away, rest, rejuvenate and you will undoubtedly come back to your work with a renewed sense of purpose and vision. In the meantime, if you haven’t downloaded my free eBook, More in Less: 21 Productivity Hacks for Creatives, it’s chock full of ideas for making more space for you to create. Grab it, free until July 31, here.