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Creative burnout: How to identify and cure it

According to ConvertKit’s 2022 State of the Creator Economy report, 61% of creatives face burnout. When it comes to feeling burnout, creatives are recommended to take a long weekend off, sleep and rest but studies showing that it can take up to three years to recover from burnout, it’s not something anyone should risk. 

Like most emotions and mental states, creative burnout can be identified in a variety of ways. This ranges from pressure to post content to juggling too many creative projects.  

For many of us, content fatigue is a huge factor contributing to burnout. There are so many social media platforms and each requires a different tone. Firstly we need to ensure we are always taking content when active, then we need to ensure we have the right content and lastly we must know how to edit and post the content.
Running out of ideas – and a lack of motivation to find new ones – is one of the clearest signs that you’re burned out. And sticking it out won’t do you or your audience any favours because the perceived value you provide may no longer shine through in your work.

Social experts often refer to niching down to a particular topic, industry, or platform as the best way to make the most of your creative efforts. Of course, leave room for experimentation, but once you know which platforms work best for you and your audience, be confident in your decision to adopt one or stay away.

Burnout, when severe, can even manifest physically in the form of fatigue and illness not to mention that can lead to anxiety and even depression. If creating and publishing content – or even just the idea – has physical consequences, you may be burned out.

It may help to consider that social media is ultimately just a tool – how you wield it matters more than what it is. This is easier said than done but dedicating times to create and post content can start setting those boundaries. 

 Burnout can also be brought on by the need to juggle multiple projects at once. While this is great for the bank account, it isn’t always great for the soul. Say you are a stylist having to visualise a 5 look campaign for Wednesday and then a 4 look music video for Friday as well as a 3 look editorial for next week. Having to come up with all these looks in separate visionary fields is super exhausting and can lead to burn out in the form of being dried up of ideas. 

In regards to how best to manage and minimise burnout, we suggest finding a system of productivity that works for you. Consider the factors that might affect your creative output, like your audience, platforms, or content type, and work out a system for producing consistent content. Shayla Price, the creator of PrimoStats – a searchable database of curated marketing statistics, shared her system for productivity. She says, “I divide my tasks into multiple sub-tasks across several days. This method helps me avoid procrastination and the need to rush through my tasks. So, if I need to write a blog post, I’ll draft a paragraph a day or focus on a specific section. It takes me longer to finish the task. However, the consistency ensures that I actually finish the task.”

Finally, make space for creativity. As mentioned earlier, setting those boundaries where you clearly set aside content creating and posting times means that outside of those times you can turn off the damn phone and let your mind run free. Put on some Nina Simone, light a candle and pick up your guitar, paintbrush, collage book or iPad design app and remember why you’re here in the first place. 

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