6 Tips for Surviving the Freelance Ecosystem and Reducing Burnout
As appealing as a freelance career seems, it has its fair share of challenges. The freelance ecosystem requires you to not only keep your upskilling game on point, but also to stay updated on all the recent trends. It certainly is quite overwhelming for freelancers to deal with an excessive amount of information on a daily basis, another term for which is “information overload” or “cognitive overload.”
Despite the career being so uncertain and liberating at the same time, there are certain steps you can implement, which will help you navigate through your freelance work better and perform effectively. Nonetheless, If the burnout is too much to handle, it is recommended you consult a certified mental health Professional at the soonest possible. So without any further ado, let us dive right in!
How to Reduce Burnout as a Freelancer: 6 Useful Tips
Below, we have put together a few ways to reduce burnout and ace your freelance game.
1. Create a planner
Have you been in situations wherein you have had too much on your plate and wondered what to do? Creating a planner or to-do list may be the answer for you. It is not only beneficial for a freelancer, but also extremely helpful for employees working full-time and managing a side hustle. It helps you to keep track of all the things that need to be done in a day, week, or month. It also helps you prioritize and schedule tasks, thereby helping you reduce burnout.
- Write your tasks down
If you are someone who likes penning things down, note your tasks down and prioritize them based on urgency. A hardcover monthly or yearly planner is your best bet. Creating the Eisenhower Matrix works wonders too.
- Use MS Excel
If you are someone who plans for a week in advance, you can also create a time blocking planner on an Excel sheet. A weekly planner with definite tasks assigned is good to start with. You can modify the tabs as per your need.
- Use a digital planner
2. Evaluate your performance based on constructive feedback
Well! Bill Gates once said, “We all need people who give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Feedback certainly acts as a way for you to reflect upon and improve your work. It acts as a parameter that helps in determining your progress at work.
Moreover, it is imperative that you learn to understand the difference between constructive and destructive feedback. Understand where the feedback is coming from, evaluate your performance, and rectify it accordingly. Another major benefit of evaluation based on feedback is that you won’t repeat the same error, which will enable you to work more effectively.
3. Understand and manage your finances better
This is one of the best strategies to reduce burnout. We all wish we were taught the importance of saving in our growing-up years, but it’s never too late. Moreover, it’s a preconceived notion that freelancing comes with a lot of perks. While this may be true in parts, it is important to know that the freelance ecosystem is volatile. Hence, it becomes extremely important to take care of your finances, whether as a source of passive income or otherwise.
Surprisingly, it took a pandemic for us to realize how important financial literacy is. Follow the top finance experts/advisors online. It is also vital to keep track of your finances and maintain a personal as well as professional budget. You can maintain the profound 50/30/20 rule while budgeting your finances.
4. Network with people of varied professions
Networking with people who do not belong to your area of expertise once in a while gives you a different perspective. Another alternative for someone who is an introvert like me would be to listen to podcasts by people who share their professional experiences. Listening to someone talk about their area of work allows you to understand the dynamics of the industry.
An example is Pepper Spotlight, a podcast by Pepper Content, which offers you insights into the creator economy. The guest list consists of industry professionals, artists, creators, etc. Moreover, upskilling is also the need of the hour. Network with other freelancers to know which skills you need to imbibe or improve on.
5. Set clear boundaries
Have you been in a situation wherein you were buried under numerous tasks and felt terrified by what was expected of you? I am sure we all have been through that phase at some point in our life.
At such a time, it becomes extremely crucial to set clear boundaries and communicate what you can offer, in order to reduce burnout. Setting clear boundaries, conveying what’s important, and learning to say “No” has become more important than ever, both in your professional and your personal space.
We need to realize the importance of it and convey what we feel. For instance, if there is a deadline you need to adhere to with respect to your work and have an important personal commitment to attend at the same time, communicate this message effectively to your client or your reporting manager. Let them know when you can deliver the task. This creates a sense of understanding between both parties.
It is advisable that you don’t take up the task in the first place if you think you won’t be able to deliver within the deadline. Understanding how to create a content workflow is also vital.
6. Take a break
Finally, give yourself the reward that you deserve after all the hard work you have been through. Don’t just reward yourself in terms of materialistic things. Reward yourself in terms of experiences.
Read up on that favorite novel that you have been meaning to, binge-watch a show with your friends, visit a restaurant, go on that vacation you have postponed, etc. After all, that’s where the inspiration for your next content piece will come from, hopefully.
According to Times of India, India’s freelance ecosystem is projected to grow to $20-$30 billion by 2025. In an industry that is rife with competition, believe that you are doing your best and keep at it. You will certainly achieve everything you desire.
Yashika Karkera is a freelance writer who is interested in travel, lifestyle, wellness, education, and more. When she is not writing, she likes listening to regional songs or podcasts on neuroscience and psychology, learning about geography and geology, and binge-watching on Netflix.