As freelancer, it's understood that if you don't work you aren't making a living. But, if you're risking your mental and physical health by working with a demanding-client, on top of all your other clients, then what's not to say that you won't get burnt out?
Freelancers are at high risk for getting overwhelmed and burnout from their extensive workload. But how can you prevent and handle getting burnout from your clients? More importantly, how can you achieve this without burning any bridges? Here are 8 tips that you should follow when you feel that you've finally had enough.
1. Say "No"
One of the last things that a freelancer wants to tell a client is "no." But, if you're always saying "yes" you're going to spread yourself too thin. In fact, being overcommitted to clients probably lead to you getting burnout in the first place. If you have an idea on how much work you can then you won't take on more projects then you go handle.
If you're burnout, it's alright to be picky about jobs. You can also inform clients that you're currently unavailable and you'll begin their project as soon as there's an opening.
2. Take Time Off
Whether it's taking one-day a week off, going away for the weekend or skipping town for week, you're earned some time off. Taking time off can get you over that feeling of being burnout, and when you return, you'll be refreshed and have a clear mindsight. While you can bring your laptop, tablet or smartphone, try to limit your usage. You don't have to go completely off the grid, but there's no need to be plugged-in all of the time. Remember, you're taking some much needed time-off.
3. Establish a Schedule
One advantage of being a freelancer is that you can set your own hours. The problem with that is that if you're overcommitted it's extremely easy to suddenly be all over the place. Establish goals and priorities and base a schedule around that. What are you working on now? When does it have to be done? You can also break these tasks into smaller attainable tasks so that they can get completed. Once you have this information written down, you can create a schedule, let's say Monday through Friday from 8-4, so that you know when to work and when to take time off.
4. Ask For Help
You can ask friends, family members or colleagues to lend a hand if you're burnout. They could offer a fresh perspective and give you an outside opinion. Whether it's proofreading or just someone to vent to, there's no shame in asking for help. If you're really burnout, you could also outsource other freelancers to finish projects -- Elance and oDesk are great places to find other freelancers.
5. Learn Something New
Doing the same everyday gets redundant. And, if you've been spent an excessive amount of time working with one client, then it would be time to learn something entirely new. Whether that's taking an online course on a site like Skillshare to learn a skill involving business or technology every month or attending a local lifestyle class once a week, learning something can relieve stress and help both your personal and professional life.
I totally recommend a side project to keep your skills sharp. I have been working on Host for the past six month to keep my freelancer skills sharp. When you're in the same place as your customers, it helps you understand them 10x better. It will also allow you to work on something
Never underestimate the power of sleep. When you get enough sleep you're improving your memory, spruing creativity, lowers stress and is just good for your overall physical health. To feel refreshed and get those creative juices back on track, make sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. While that may change depending on deadlines, it's important that you still try to get a good night's rest as much as possible.
7. Eliminate Stress
Whether it's exercising or firing a client that is too demanding (professionally, of course) to get over being in a rut you need to reduce and eliminate stress. When you let frustration continue to build-up, you're preventing yourself from moving forward and being productive. Whatever you have to do to eliminate stress in your life should be done as soon as you're beginning to feel burnout or are exhausted from dealing with a particularly challenging client.
8. Have a Life Outside of Work
It's not that difficult to get consumed with work. But, you can't work 24/7. You need to have a life outside of work, whether that's going out with friends to dinner with friends or taking the kids to the park on a sunny afternoon. You need enjoy life, or why else are you getting burned out? Not only will you have fun, you'll be relaxed when you get back to working on projects for your clients.
What other tips have you found to get over client burnout?