At first, working in design sounds exciting. However, dealing with difficult clients or working on similar projects repeatedly can discourage the most enthusiastic of designers. Designer burnout is a real issue brought on by lack of refilling the creative well, having to change a design you thought was perfection and difficult co-workers and clients.
Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid designer burnout and find your passion for creating new things from nothing again.
How Do You Manage a Creative Burnout
It’s Nice That reports about 57% of their readers claim to suffer from burnout due to an increased level of output during the pandemic. Part of the reason may be the Great Resignation and lack of people to fill key positions.
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed due to a bigger workload or you are simply bored with the nine to five scene, there are some things you can do to ramp up your excitement and keep churning out excellent material.
1. Refill the Creative Well
If you constantly create new things and never feed your artist’s soul, you risk running the creative well dry. Julia Cameron talks about refilling the creative well in her book “The Artist’s Way.” She offers exercises such as journaling and going to visit museums or doing other things you enjoy.
These activities are not directly related to the work you do, but they can free your mind. Even going for a walk with a co-worker and brainstorming on a current project might help.
2. Get Physical
Exercise gets oxygen pumping through your blood and sends it to your brain. Simply going for a jog in the mornings might free you up to be more creative throughout the day. You’ll also feel better if you focus on your health. It’s hard to create an amazing design if you’re feeling under the weather.
Make sure you wear comfortable workout clothes so you’ll be more inclined to get physical out before or after work. The right clothing can even improve performance
3. Find a Mentor
You’re not the only person who’s ever experienced burnout. Find a mentor who has more experience than you and ask for their input on how to overcome your block. They may have tips and techniques you haven’t thought of yet.
Even having someone to vent to may free you up enough to finish a project. You don’t always need advice so much as someone to tell your woes to. If you don’t trust anyone at work, seek the help of a counselor or someone who is a close friend or family member working in a related industry.
4. Delegate Tasks
If you’re one of the people whose workload increased thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, ask for some extra help. See if you can hire a part-time assistant or push some of the workload to a fellow staff member who is looking for things to do.
If you can’t delegate work tasks, seek out ways to free up your personal time. Hire someone to clean your house, pick your kids up from school and run them to practice or cook your dinner.
5. Gain Inspiration
Small business owners are willing to work with designers to get the look they need. Around 67% say they’d pay $500 and up for a truly amazing logo design. How can you make sure your design is cutting edge and current?
One of the best things you can do is seek inspiration from other designs. Study examples on sites such as Awwwards, Dribbble and Creative Bloq. There are many others available with a simple search, so be open to current trends and mixing things up.
6. Take a Break
Are you using your paid time off (PTO) strategically to create a smart work/life balance? If you take a Friday off for your daughter’s school field trip, can you take Monday as well so you have a four-day weekend and some time to defrag before you go back to work.
Look for holiday weekends as a way to expand your break. For example, if your employer gives you Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday off, take Wednesday or Monday for a five-day break.
Many workers never fully utilize their PTO each year, which can lead to burnout and exhaustion. Don’t be afraid to take short mental health breaks as needed to stay on top of your game.
7. Revamp Your Workspace
Whether you work from home or in an office setting, redo your workspace so it inspires you to get more done and be creative. Add some motivational posters, rearrange the furniture, scatter some live plants around.
Can you move somewhere where you get more natural light? Lack of sunlight can put anyone in a poor mood. If you can’t move toward a window or bright space, then make it a habit to take regular breaks and get some sunshine.
8. Create Anything
One trick when you’re blocked is to look back at old projects and revamp them a bit. You could also create any simple design. Sometimes just the act of working on anything frees up your creativity for other projects.
We all need a break at times, but how you utilize your downtime can mean the difference between a creativity burst and a design failure.
Be Aware of the Signs
One of the best ways to avoid designer burnout is knowing the signs. If you start feeling overwhelmed, bored or aggravated, you may need a break. Nip burnout in the bud before it becomes a full-blown block you spend weeks overcoming.