Burnout happens to the best of us. No matter how many people warn you about it, you still experience it. When I started freelancing, I was quick to hit that burnout. I would have a lot of work and then work and work and work then reach a wall where I was so exhausted and felt the passion drain out of me. Then what would ultimately follow is days spent not wanting to do a thing and trying to calm my mind and cleanse my brain. It's hard to quiet the noise. But somehow I always found my way back. Many creatives say the key is time management and being able to say no. I'm still learning on both fronts. It's been helpful to return to a full-time work schedule because it forces me to get up at the same time every day (going to sleep at the same time and much earlier than I'm used to has been a challenge). But I still work with my freelance clients and love that work too so I don't want to give that up. On top of that I've found a tech and design community here in Toronto that I love to be involved in. So that's on my list too. It's difficult to say no to any one of these so for now I'm not going to. Instead I'm trying to work on my time management.
When I was freelancing it was my time management that screwed me but I would focus on one project at a time. But now, even though my time management is a bit better, it's just the shear volume of ideas and projects and interests. And I feel like I will get burned out soon if I don't check myself. It's almost as if I can feel it chasing me and one day it will get to me. The thing is I try to avoid it and even forced myself to spend a day or even a morning sitting on the couch and watching TV or going out or doing something that isn't at all related to my work. I used to do this easily and I'm sure I still can, but right now, I have so many ideas that I can't sit still. So I take it as my passion calling me and I have to take advantage of it. The difficulty happens when I sit at the computer or with my sketchbook in hand and I'm stuck with fear. Fear that what will come out won't resemble anything that I pictured in my head. Fear that it won't be as good as my contemporaries and I'll come to the realization that I am mediocre at what I do. Fear that I can't find my own voice, my own style and that I'll be nothing more than a joke. Gosh that's unnerving. It's also exhausting.
So here's what I realized: Fear contributes a lot to my exhaustion and even more than that, not putting pencil to paper, as they say, makes me so overwhelmed. I think that will lead me to burn out before I even get started! I'm working on it. I'm starting to file things in my head in 'do now or soon' or 'probably will never do therefore let it go'. Here's to avoiding burn out! *fingers crossed*