How To Avoid Burnout As A Freelancer (Or In General)

If you’re like me, your mind never stops working.

My brain bounces from thought to thought like a game of pinball. First it’s about work, then it’s about my dire hunger, then it’s about that time I messed up a handshake with that one guy.

Couple my scattered mind with the fact that I spend copious hours staring at a computer screen all day, and you have a pretty severe case of burnout-opia just waiting to pounce.

There’s just always something waiting in the queue of my mind for my subconscious to mull over next. It’s like a conveyor belt for thoughts.

Luckily I’ve learned a few tricks for stopping burnout in its tracks, and trust me–they’re revo-freaking-lutionary.

Step 1 – Excercise, darn it

Yeah, this is a simple one, but oh boy can it change a bad day to a good one quick. Imagine fifteen minutes of your day where you aren’t staring at a screen. Imagine giving your eyes a break to gaze at trees, nice houses, and smiling neighbors on a quick run? You don’t even need to kill yourself on the run either, just make it enjoyable.

Step 2 – Leave work at work

As a freelancer it’s tough to not check my emails 24/7. This is my biggest flaw, and it’s also the biggest culprit of burnout. Stick to a schedule, and don’t worry about work–even if you feel like the world is going to burn down while you’re off.

Step 3 – Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Taking on too much work will stress you out. You don’t need to be working 12 hour days. You don’t need to take on so many things. If you need to, just tell a few of your clients that you can’t work with them anymore. They’ll understand, and they’ll appreciate the transparency.

Step 4 – Get around people

Hanging out with friends–even for 30 minutes–is like hitting the reset button on your thoughts. The goal is to get your brain to forget about work, and being around people will accomplish this easily.

Step 5 – Don’t feel guilty for relaxing

I feel guilty when I watch movies sometimes. I feel I could be doing so many other, more productive things. Get in the habit of saying “screw it” when these thoughts come up. Not everyone might have a problem with this, but for those that do, keep this in mind.

I hope these tips can help you whether you’re a freelancer or just someone who feels a little stressed. Thanks for reading guys! If you liked the post, comment below so I can meet you!

 

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Post-Grad Survival Guide: Don’t Tell Everyone Everything

Don’t tell everyone everything. Now, this doesn’t mean what you think. I’m not talking about lying or being dishonest with people; I’m simply saying that you don’t need to constantly tell people all the things that are happening in your life. ESPECIALLY if you change your mind a lot–like me.

I love telling people what’s going on in my life. Who doesn’t? We like to have recognition when we accomplish things or get that interview. But what if things fall through? Then we look like morons quite honestly.

This has happened to me a lot lately, and I think I’ve finally learned my lesson. I don’t need to tell everyone the inner workings of my life. If I get an interview, I’ll just keep it to myself. If I get a job, I’ll keep it to myself. Because when I tell everybody everything, they start to think that I have a hard time committing to stuff.

Look man, I’m almost 23 years old (tomorrow’s my birthday), I never said I’d have everything figured out, okay? I’m relying on my feelings and a little bit of logic for my decisions, and it’s tough to know which decision is the right one.

So while I figure out what I want to do, I’m going to keep things to myself. If you’re about to graduate and are reading this, GREAT. Don’t feel like you have to constantly keep people in the loop on things. When you find the right job, then you can tell anybody you want–but while you’re still unsure, don’t tell a soul.

The whole purpose of this series is to help recent college grads just like me. I’m beyond perfect, but I do learn a few things, and if these words can help just one other person, then I’m happy beyond comprehension.

 

When To Not Listen To Advice

Yes, those are giraffes.

Oh man. This is a tough one for me because I hardly listen to anybody. Sometimes not listening has hurt me, but sometimes it’s actually helped me. Let me explain.

First, when should we listen to advice? My Mom’s helped me make life decisions about relationships that were spot on. Even though I wanted to do the opposite, I found that what she said was right later on.

I may have some disagreements from you, and that’s fine, but I find that most people make some pretty dumb decisions when it comes to relationships. We’re too blinded by love to realize that we’re actually not that compatible. Instead of getting past the initial heartache of a breakup, people pay the price years down the road when they’ve already committed to a relationship.

On the other hand, love is love, and sometimes people won’t like your partner no matter what. In these instances, my advice (I know, somewhat hypocritical) would be to see if one person’s feelings is just that–one person’s.

Some other times you need to listen to advice are in sports (from coaches), in school (from teachers), and when people advise you on your own morals (parents, leaders, etc.).

This list obviously doesn’t always work. Sometimes a coach might advise you the wrong way. Sometimes leaders might be crazy and guide people down a horrible path. But more often than not, there’s something to learn from our coaches, teachers, parents, and leaders.

Listen.

Now, what about when we don’t need to listen? This is tricky, but I’m going to come right out and say it: We don’t need to listen when making decisions about our job/employment/life goals.

For the people reading this who are independent and risk-takers, no amount of advice from people who aren’t independent can help us.

People love security, and making “logical” decisions. That would mean working a steady job with a salary and benefits–which is fine. You’re secure. But what about that part of you that hates it? Is it logical to feel like a caged bird your entire life just so you can pay the bills? Absolutely not.

When it comes to what you want to do, do yourself a favor and listen to nothing but your own heart. Nobody should make that decision for you.

I used to work at Panera Bread like 8 months ago and absolutely hated it. The managers were mean, the work was stupid difficult, and I was making minimum wage after college. My goal was to work my way up and become a manager or something.

After my first day there I knew I never wanted to be a manager of Panera Bread. I called my Mom and asked her what I should do, and she said I should stay. Meanwhile in the back of my mind I really wanted to be a freelance writer.

Four weeks later I quit.

I felt so down in a new city, far from home, but something incredible happened. I actually kind of made it in freelance writing. I learned all I could, dedicated all my time to it, and now I’m doing pretty well. Thank God I didn’t stay.

My Mom gave advice regarding my job that didn’t work out for me, but she gave me incredible advice about a relationship that I know deep down was the right direction.

My advice is to follow your heart when it comes to what you do.