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“Appreciate the genuine, real conversation – seriously chocked full of value. Looking forward to the next episode!”

Episode 3: Dealing With Burnout

Creatives rarely have a 9-5 schedule for their work, so it can be hard sometimes to find balance. How do you work hard doing what you love, but avoid hitting the dreaded wall of burnout? How do you follow your creative passion, but also look after your well-being? How do you balance your family around a career that you love? Today we discuss some effective ways to identify and avoid burnout, and look at how to stay motivated as a designer.

Show Notes for This Episode:

[1.00] Why a lot of designers tend to get burnt out
[1.50] Lisa’s mental burn out
[2.35] Why other interests are crucial to preventing burn out
[3.20] Why designers can have the freedom to choose their downtime (but why this isn’t easy)
[4.00] Guilt about downtime
[5.00] We’re always connected to social media
[5.50] A good analogy for how our screens dictate our time/attention
[7.00] Social media can be a compulsion
[8.30] Why work ethic can be the catalyst to burn out
[9.00] A look into the 100 hour work weeks starting Design Cuts
[10.00] The 3 things which motivated me to work so hard
[11.40] The importance of finding a middle ground and balance
[12.20] The part family play in your work life
[13.15] Why we need to turn off our phones, and give our loved ones full attention
[14.20] Why it’s important to say ‘no’ to work
[15.30] Lisa working too much right now
[16.20] The importance of taking little steps
[17.00] Our addiction to checking metrics
[17.30] The feeling you have getting back from vacation
[18.25] Our best tips for relaxing and decompressing
[19.10] Ian’s top tips (exercise, family, cinema, and anti-technology)
[23.00] Tom’s tips to not be half-way with your downtime
[25.00] Lisa’s tips for relaxing (outside hobbies, mentally and physically avoiding work)
[27.00] On the other side of the coin – how do you find motivation?
[27.30] Lisa’s tips for finding motivation and inspiration (please excuse the background noise – South Africa can get windy!)
[28.00] Dustin’s tips for getting motivated (the power of building habits and accountability)
[31.00] How collaborations and masterminds can help you staying on track
[32.00] Ian’s current lack of motivation and drive (and how he will overcome it)
[33.45] Adjusting your work to fit your current mindset
[35.20] Finding focus
[36.00] Is your lack of motivation short term or long term?
[38.00] Why people don’t follow through on things
[38.50] Ian’s struggles with releasing his own course
[39.30] Why done is better than perfect
[40.50] Why collaborations can be key to getting stuff done
[42.00] How the ‘wrong’ work can demotivate us

“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!”AG_GD

15 Lovely Comments from our Community:

  1. Nina Wood says:

    I LOVE your podcasts! Thanks so much for your professionalism, honesty, warmth and passion! As a freelance Graphic Designer, the office can be quite isolating despite the presence of family, friends and social media and its wonderful to hear your voices and perspectives. Keep up the great work and I look forward to many more!

    I’d like to hear about how each of you got started in your perspective fields. I myself have been freelancing successfully for over 10+ years but I have a number of colleagues who are venturing out on their own and my advice seems repetitive, so I’d love to hear how it began for each of you.

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Sam, much appreciated mate! 🙂 I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the show.

      • Tom Ross says:

        Thanks Nina, that’s so kind of you to say! We’re actually just about to drop an episode on isolation for designers, which I hope will help you. There can be tons of positives to freelancing, but finding balance is definitely key. We’ll also definitely try to do an episode on our beginnings, as I think that can give really useful context for folk. Thanks again for the wonderful feedback :).

  2. Sam Sivioco says:

    I’ve been really enjoying the podcast so far and this week’s was another great episode. I love how open and honest all of you guys are. Already looking forward to next week!

  3. Romina Lutz says:

    THANK YOU SO MUCH for your honest words! What a great podcast! I adore your works guys, keep up the amazing work!
    Love your site & your bundles!

  4. Stuart says:

    Nice talk guys, I think this is a huge one that everyone needs to find themselves. I call it finding your ‘bliss’ that place or thing that you can do and zone and to try and start a fresh and clean the slate. I found surfing and that has really helped me… Totally agree with the phone thing though, I get home and have to throw it as far away from me… sometimes it literally does get thrown haha. I had a small phase of burnout the other day and I just try and completely shut off from everything for a short time and then talk to friends then free sketch helps me clear the slate 🙂 … Keep it up guys, enjoy hearing these talks

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Tom! One topic I thought be neat for the Honest Designers Panel to address is: the “blank” canvas for a designer or for a writer – the dreaded “blank” page- how to just start on a particular project when you sure how to.

  5. Chris Ford says:

    Thank you for this – so good to hear other designers with difficulty switching off when the opportunity to make more money/market more/learn more is always there… I’m now working from a home studio with 3 crazy kids in the background from 4pm – 9pm – trying to be a great dad/husband/designer is a real challenge! Keep up the good work, it’s much appreciated. It’s 12.30am in the UK and I’m still working!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks Christine, I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying the show! We are very much friends now, and I’m so glad we can keep you company during your day. I’m the same as you, I like podcasts as a little background listening during a busy day.

      It sounds like you’ve found a great balance in your personal work lives, which can be hard to reach, so well done! And the 4 of us can definitely relate to the ‘inner child’ sentiment (which you’ll see in the giggles we have on the show!).

      I hope that you’ll enjoy the next episode, and please do let me know if you’d ever like anything in particular addressed on the show.

  6. Christine BK says:

    Enjoyed this week’s episode! I look forward to it every week now. Not much of a pod cast listener in general, but your episodes feel like 4 friends coming together to just discuss the day’s topic in such a way that I can do other stuff while listening. (Feel guilt taking time out of my day otherwise!). I’m a writer trying to get better at photoshop and design (just a side hobby), and what you all mention is very applicable to any designers/writers/creatives out there. A couple of thoughts about having kids and working, I am much more efficient than before I had kids. My daughter comes home from school and I then need to switch gears and cook dinner, help her with math, etc. Also having a child provides one with a direct link to the “inner child” that I think is beneficial to my work (in a number of ways- too many to list here).

  7. Emily Suber says:

    I just listened to Episode 3 and it totally resonated with me….I’m a graphic/layout designer for a magazine -turned – production director/designer for the same mag and the repetition of the deadlines/schedule is really starting to wear on me…I’m taking several days off next week to go to the beach with my family and I’m NOT taking my laptop (are my fingers crossed??? maybe…) But seriously, I plan to go several days without checking my work email – and I’ll bet you the company is still standing when I get back! Thank you for the encouragement!

    • Tom Ross says:

      Thanks so much for your comment Emily. You should totally go get that downtime, away from the computer. It’s invaluable, and it’s so important to realise that feeling burnt out isn’t the end of the world, it’s just your body’s way of telling you to take a break, or slow down. I’m sure you’ll come back refreshed and motivated :).

      • Tom Ross says:

        Thanks for your comment Chris. You’re definitely not alone feeling like this! It can be a juggling act, but it’s really important to realise that your health/well-being comes first, and it’s still possible to look after that whilst juggling a bunch of other stuff. I hope you didn’t have too late a night in the end :).

        • Tom Ross says:

          Surfing sounds like an awesome way to escape Stuart! Lisa was spot on with that, in that you need something totally removed from your work, and immersive enough to focus your mind.

          I’m glad to hear that you’re already recognising burn out coming, and able to get a handle on it. That took me years, and is still a working progress!

          Thanks for listening to the show :).

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