Let’s face it. Deadlines are deadlines, and when you promise your client you’ll deliver, then you pull out all stops to get it done, right? But has this ever led you to experience copywriter burnout?Working to deadlines and leaving no time for anything else can lead to copywriter burnout. Click To Tweet
While it’s great to meet deadlines, and keep your clients happy, (because a thriving copywriting business is based on happy clients), it’s just as important to ensure you’re happy too.
When running your own business, it can be so tempting to put all your energy into building it and working it, and ignoring the other things that are important in life too.
Signs you’re suffering from burnout
One of the pitfalls of working as a freelancer, is that income often isn’t reliable. Therefore, when it comes in, we tend to say ‘yes’. You know the saying — ‘make hay while the sun shines’ — because there will always be times when work is not as plentiful.
So, we become excited with all the projects we have on (and the money we’re earning — let’s be honest), and we work out a plan (of sorts), to get it all done, no matter what.Are you suffering from one of the 10 signs of copywriter burnout? Click To Tweet
But more often than not, the ‘plan’ involves working around the clock in a bid to get everything done, and letting other things slide. If you can identify with any of the following, be aware that burnout may be just around the corner.
1. You’re not eating properly — You’ve begun skipping meals or snacking on food that’s easy to grab (i.e. highly processed food). Your caffeine intake is through the roof, and you ‘just don’t have time’ to cook anything healthy.
2. You’ve stopped exercising — The most movement you get out of your day is getting out of bed and walking to your desk. Or getting up from your desk to make another coffee. Your weekly exercise regime (you do have one, don’t you?) has disappeared, and you can’t even imagine how you’ll make time for your regular walks, even though you know they will help clear your head and increase your focus.
3. You’re skimping on sleep — You’re getting up earlier and going to bed later, trying to make time for all you have to do.
4. You’re exhausted — Your eyes feel gritty from lack of sleep and too many hours in front of the keyboard. And you find yourself nodding off, or just ‘resting your eyes’ when you do manage to get away from your desk.
5. You’re feeling on edge and stressed — You notice your temper is shorter these days, and you’re snipping at family and friends. You feel a sense of rage when you’re held up in traffic or at the supermarket queue, because that’s just ‘wasting your time’. You may even experience anxiety.
6. You’re not as productive as you used to be — You’re putting in all these hours, but your writing is not flowing at all. You find it hard to think properly, you feel your creativity has deserted you, and you’re not as productive as you know you can be.
7. You don’t have time for family or friends — You no longer have time to listen to your kids read, play a game with them, or hear about their day. Time with your partner has dwindled into saying ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’, and as for catching up with friends? Well, who has time for that right now?
8. Personal hygiene standards have slipped — You’re wearing the same clothes for days at a time (pyjamas anyone?), and showers are few and far between. If you’re male, you may have stopped shaving. Girls, you’ve probably resorted to tying your hair up to disguise the fact it hasn’t been washed for a while. And make-up? Well, let’s just say that’s not a priority right now.
9. You feel overwhelmed — You have moments where it all feels too much. You feel mild panic at times and you wonder how you’re going to get everything done.
10. You’re desperate for a day off — The daily grind is becoming a bore, and you’re starting to think of all the things you could do if you just had a day off. You find yourself fantasising about relaxing when you should really be focusing on your copy.
Stop to get clarity
If you can identify with any of the above, you need to stop what you’re doing and take a different approach, because if you’re not already there, then burnout isn’t far away.
The first thing you must do is take a break.
It might be for 10 minutes. It might be for one hour. It might be for a whole day.
But just stop. The world will not collapse and nor will your business.Your copywriting business won't fall over if you take time for a break. Click To Tweet
Sometimes a break is all we need to feel refreshed. But sometimes you can use this break to gain clarity, short-circuit the downward spiral that copywriter burnout can cause, and make a plan for the way forward.
Begin taking care of yourself
Make time to eat properly, go for that walk and get to bed on time. You may feel you don’t have time, but research shows you’re far more productive and creative when you exercise and sleep. And we all know that good food is good for the brain, which means you’re likely to work more efficiently when you do sit down to work.
Learn to say no — or not yet
Learn to say ‘no’ to job enquiries you really don’t like the sound of, or potential clients who raise ‘red flags’.
When it comes to the job enquiries that do float your boat, say ‘yes — but not now’ and explain to your potential client that you are fully booked for the next ‘however many’ weeks, but you can schedule the job in at a later stage. Believe me, if the client is keen to work with you, a few weeks usually won’t matter.Being a successful copywriter means having clients, earning money, and still having time for the other things that are important in your life. Click To Tweet
Remember, success isn’t just based on how much money you’re making as a copywriter, or how many clients you have. Being a successful freelancer means having clients, earning money, and still having time for the other things that are important in your life.
Being a successful copywriter means not getting to the point of burnout.
Do you need to take a step back to be more successful?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.