burnout

How To Beat Burnout and Gain a Fresh Perspective

takeabreak

Who’s feeling a little burnt out after a busy first quarter? My productivity took a hit after an excited (and exhausting) January through March this year, and I desperately needed a break. I bet you can relate.

I simply became too attached to email and imaginary deadlines. To keep the computers in the house off for a week sounded as good as a vacation in Fiji to me … to not have to answer and check and reply and check. In other words, to just be in my quiet home with the day ahead of me sounded as peaceful and inviting as warm white sands and crystal clear waters.

But here’s the thing: I don’t like to admit that I need a break from my amazing work-at-home career doing what I love. It feels silly and selfish, yet so true.

You need time to be gentle with yourself.

A creative career is demanding. Yes, I’m typing to you in my pajamas under a blanket on my couch with a cup of decaf vanilla chai tea beside me. The irony is not lost on me. But, I’ll say it again: a creative career is demanding.

I’m always creating my next move, and my inner-dialogue sometimes feels as frantic and high-pressure as a stock exchange trading floor. My family comes home from work and school, and sometimes I’m present, but other times I’m still mentally lost in the frenzy.

You know they feel that, don’t you? They know when you’re present, and they know when you’re more focused on what’s behind your eyes than what’s in front of them.

Take a digital cleanse.

If you’re feeling burnt out, schedule at least two days in the next two weeks where you vow to turn everything off. You see, a digital cleanse helps clear the frenzy away. It helps you to be present. You will instantly release all of your made-up demands and (hopefully) let gentleness wash over you.

And then, go climbing.

I recently settled down with my children for a showing of Mary Poppins. It’s been a few years since I had seen it last, and I love to revisit a classic. In it, (the character) Bert says,

“What did I tell ya? There’s the whole world at your feet. And who gets to see it? But the birds, the stars and the chimney sweeps.”

I love a good dose of perspective. My last home was situated high on a mountain, and right beside me in my own back yard? An even higher peak. I hiked it often, especially on beautiful days, for the view and perspective it offered.

When you work from home, it’s easy to get lost in the maze of your own four walls. Spaciousness is a value in my life, and for me, small spaces = small ideas. There’s something about climbing above the noise, being still, and watching the motion of the world beneath you.

Even if you don’t have your own personal mountain to climb, close your eyes and adopt a bird’s eye view of the day you’re facing. Allow your mind to rise above the noise, and imagine the whole world at your feet.

Here’s wishing you a delicious dose of gentleness + perspective!

lisawashi

 

 Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.

Keeping Up the Momentum of the New Year

momentum

Last time I visited Handmade Success, I wanted to know: What’s the reason behind all that you do? In other words, what are the desires that drive your passions in life? And how can you incorporate those desires into your everyday activities for a more fulfilling career?

If you’re anything like me, you’ve kicked off 2014 with (1.) a list of goals you would like to accomplish, and (2.) an energetic inner-restlessness so powerful, it’s practically palpable to the people around you.

There’s danger in such an energetic kick-start; it can sometimes lead to a crash and burn by the time February rolls around. Maybe you haven’t seen the recognition you want or you’re not feeling the accomplishment you crave. Perhaps you’re wondering when you’re going to finally reap the reward from all your hard work.

It’s during slow periods, these months just following high-selling holidays and excited goal-setting, that you have to actively build your next big wins. Here’s where to start …

Do more of what works.

This is a huge issue for creatives everywhere, and I’m one of them. I often talk about how your creative business lives in your mind: when you’re doing well, that’s in your mind. When you’re not doing well, that’s in your mind, too! A lot of times we tell ourselves what’s going to happen with the project we’re working on. “This product’s going to fly off my virtual shelves! I better make 50.” Or, “This book is going to launch my creative career.”

When reality strikes, and that product you have 50 of doesn’t move or that book you wrote only sells a handful of copies … well, then what?

Over the summer, I created a new wrap bracelet that seemed so trendy and fresh. I made the design for my husband, children, and some friends to rave reviews. For all of us who had one, we never wanted to take it off.

In anticipation of this new design selling like hotcakes, I spent several hours making a large stock before listing it in the Energy Shop. They never sold. Not even one. New designs are always worth a shot, but I shouldn’t have invested all of the material and labor until I had proof that my customers would love the design as much as I did.

A well-planned business is one that prioritizes what has already been proven to work. It’s fabulous to experiment with new designs and keep things fresh and exciting for both you and your customers. However, be sure you’re doing a lot more of what you know already works and brings in income.

If you’re not bringing in income, that means you simply haven’t found what works yet. Therefore, don’t invest all your time doing what you’ve been doing! It’s time to try new things and change up what you have to offer.

Plan multiple projects in advance

In other words, have a list of what projects you’ll start next. For example, on my professional to-do list, I’m writing a second e-program, a book, and stocking the Energy Shop.

When you finish a big project, you will feel an impulse to watch it to see what happens for days (or weeks). It’s natural to do so, but you’ll have to fight that tendency and knowing what to work on next will be your best battle plan against it.

It’s good to know which projects you’ll do next because …

There will be burn-out

Flashback to December. I was hosting a sale at the Energy Shop, and there were about twenty new orders to ship; several of them contained custom sizes that needed to be made that morning. I took the task on first thing to make sure it went out in that day’s mail, and by the time I finished, it was 11:45 AM. I needed to eat lunch, do hair and makeup, and prep my office for a live video webinar with Tim Adam at 2 PM.

The webinar ended well, but by 3:30 PM, I was spent … and my family was ready for dinner. I had a budget-friendly, made-from-scratch meal planned. However, every cell in my body said “NO” to more work in the kitchen, and I declared dinner (and a watermelon margarita) out.

The moral of the story is that each of us has a limited, but renewable reserve of will-power. Your self-discipline reservoir can be depleted, and once it’s spent, it needs time to refill. You’ll notice it after an uber-productive day.

Don’t you love it when you wake up and, all day long, you just can’t BELIEVE how much you’re getting done? You go to bed feeling like a boss, and if it’s Monday, you start daydreaming about all the work you’ll get done that week. When you wake up the next day, you feel like a slug nestled underneath a rock. Nothing gets done.

As human beings, that is our nature. I have a will-power-hack in that I can quit writing and go “play with beads.” After two weeks of pushing through the editing and organizing of a big writing project, making bracelets feels like a vacation! I’m still getting work done, but I’m able to ride the waves of my willpower reservoir a little longer.

How might you mix in your favorite parts of the job when your willpower reservoir runs low?

Heading into spring, bring awareness to your natural energy cycles. Simultaneously honor and challenge them. Each time you push past that point of resistance and procrastination, your willpower reservoir grows larger. Here’s wishing you the stamina and focus to make your dreams come true!

lisawashi

 Lisa Jacobs — Marketing Creativity

Lisa Jacobs writes Marketing Creativity for fellow creative spirits who aim to build a career with their own two hands. She leads group webinar programs and offers one-on-one coaching designed to help you get paid to be … you.

Unlimited Creativity

for_the_love_of_photography_by_eyeforbeauty-d3cjxzh_largeimage from Olivia Foulkes Photography

Tapping into your creative spirit does not have to be only reserved for studio time or Wednesday night craft nights. Being creative is a way of life, fostering new ways of thinking and problem solving. You don’t run out of creative ideas. You may need to take a break occasionally and rejuvenate and rest but creativity still lives within.

Find ways to stay open to creativity energy. If you feel stuck emotionally or mentally, make a small change in your routine. If your evening walks or workouts are not cutting it, try a brisk walk in the morning instead. Change your scenery. Work from a different room in your house. Change the color of your studio walls. Be open to change as this is where creativity likes to live.

As an artist, I like to engage in different mediums to spice things up. I recently took up crocheting again and bought the materials to start some embroidery projects. Writing (which I never thought I enjoyed) has become one of my favorite ways of expressing myself. I have grown in ways I never thought I would by guest writing on other’s blogs. Has my photography gotten better from this cross training? I think so! Just as it benefits an athlete’s form, cross training our creative muscle improves our skills, prevents burn out and rejuvenates and relaxes the mind.

Call on creativity the next time you are approached with a problem. Create a new solution for an old dilemma. One of my favorite past co-workers and managers, Becky, taught us to call on the skills of others when dealing with a difficult customer. What would Jesse, our oh so patient and easy going coworker, do in this situation? Look to others for inspiration when dealing with things that are not so easy for you and channel their energy. We grow creatively and spiritually when we let others inspire and enhance us.

Conceptualize yourself as always being full of creativity. Don’t let a small burn out get your down. Give yourself a break when you need it. Make a promise to yourself that you will let your creative spirit be free and in turn it will truly be unlimited.

shellybiowashi

Shelly Kerry — Creating Space, Mindful Living

Shelly Kerry is the founder of the program Creating Space, Mindful Living – motivating and inspiring people to run their businesses more efficiently. She helps others look at their personal and professional lives and explore what is and isn’t working. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help keep you motivated and make the most out of your already busy schedule. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself.

Shelly writes guest posts on living your best life on well-known blogs such as Kanelstrand, Handmade Success and Awfully Grand and is pursuing a Core Strengths coaching certificate through San Francisco State University.

You can now find Creating Space on Facebook.

Link Love 7/27/12

Happy Friday! I wanted to share a couple of posts that complemented ones that we had here recently.

Kristen Kalp talked about working for home last week and that post really resonated with a lot of you so when I saw this post on Creative Market I thought you might enjoy it too – How To Stay Fresh When Working At Home.

I have been feeling a bit frazzled lately and loved Claire Hughes’ post about ways to beat burnout. Most of you could relate so I thought you might also like these 8 Tips For Moving Towards Balance on The Maven Circle.

Earlier this week Shelly Kerry shared tips for creating more time by creating more space around your house and/or studio. We all loved this post and I thought it was so perfect when Geri tweeted this post from Apartment Therapy on the same day – 10 Simple Things To Make You Happier At Home.

I hope these links, in addition to our blog, help you find the tips and inspiration you need to be at your best and to take it easy when you are not. :)

I am headed out of town this weekend with my family where there will be limited internet and I plan on embracing it! I will be back next Wednesday with an August desktop wallpaper for you so stay tuned!

Have a lovely weekend!

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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20 Ways to Beat Burn-Out!

You’re running a passion-led business, getting paid to do something you love. You’re the envy of friends and family – free from the shackles of the corporate machine. You get to choose what to do, and when to do it. No boss to answer to, no office politics to negotiate. No suits, heels or hellish commutes.

But the truth is you don’t feel lucky. And you haven’t done so for several weeks. You’re stressed out. Tired. Work feels like wading through treacle, instead of an effortless glide. You’re procrastinating, hesitating, putting things off – sometimes for days on end.

Projects linger, left un-touched. Anything seems more appealing than designing or making – the things you’re supposed to love. Emails just sit in your inbox. Blog posts remain un-written. Cleaning and housework becomes enthralling – anything but work.

If this sounds like you – don’t stress. Chances are you’ve got a serious case of burn-out, and you will fall back in love with your work! Here’s what I did to beat burn-out when I started my recent maternity leave, and some ideas to help you too.
Take a rest. A proper one.

Close your shop. Put up an announcement to let customers know you’re taking a break, and tell them when you’ll be back. (Because you will want to come back, promise). Cancel appointments, switch off your phone. Then – do nothing. Do whatever it takes and find ways to be kind to yourself. Get some early nights and late mornings. Watch trashy TV. Take long baths. Read celebrity magazines. Whatever it takes for you to seriously unwind, and forget about work for a while.

After a couple of days, you might find a few ideas popping into your head. A slight urge to do something, make something, get back in front of a computer screen. To pick up your phone and start Tweeting. Resist! You’re not done yet. Before you get back to business, you need to fill your well of creativity right back up to the top. Which brings us to….

I’m not suggesting you do all of these, merely that you treat this list as a smorgasbord of self-love. Give yourself time, listen to your heart, and you’ll know when it’s time to get back to work. If you’re anything like me, greater levels of creativity, energy and enthusiasm will be waiting for you on the other side – which is good news for all concerned!

If you’ve suffered from burn-out in the past, I’d love to know what you did to fall back in love with your work. Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Claire Hughes — Make, Do & Sell

Claire Hughes is an online marketing consultant with over ten year’s experience running campaigns for some of Europe’s biggest brands. Proud to call herself an internet geek and home-working mum, she now focuses exclusively on working with creative entrepreneurs. You’ll find Claire sharing free tips and advice on the Make, Do & Sell blog, as well as co-leading the Handmade Horizons marketing e-course. That’s when she’s not changing nappies or feeding her Pinterest addiction, of course…..

There’s nothing Claire loves more than helping talented ladies overcome their marketing challenges and achieve their wildest dreams. Why not connect with her on Twitter and tell her all about yours?

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Building your creative business?  Sign up for the Handmade Success mailing list and get even more juicy business advice delivered weekly.

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