Graphic Designers: How to Deal With Creative Burnout

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost your creativity? There are days when nothing seems to work. It’s one of those days when you think that the only light at the end of the tunnel is the backlight of your computer monitor. These are normal occurrences in the life of people working in the creative field, just like graphic designers.

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In an article entitled “The 7 Stages of Creative Burnout”, the author defined creative burnout as “that heavy feeling of exhaustion and lack of interest in the work that you do”. You can’t focus on your tasks. The color palette you’re building look a bit off. Your deadline is in two days, and you’re still not done with the project.

Graphic designers experience it perhaps as often as writers stare absentmindedly at a blank Google Doc. Again, that’s normal. It’s your body telling you to pause or go on a full stop.

Before you search for ways to manage your creative burnout, find out why this is happening to you.

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Causes of Creative Burnout

These are the common causes of burnout most graphic designers are experiencing. Do you have anything to add to this list?

1. Too much work

If you keep on accepting projects until they pile up as high as your pancakes go when you’re stress eating, that’s not a good sign. When you have more than the projects you can handle at once,  and you either extend your working hours or rush your tasks  -- that’s not a good sign number two.

2. When design work is repetitive

How many times did you work on company logos this month? Not that you’re complaining, but you know you can do other projects to add variety in your portfolio. Doing the same types of design projects for two months straight could make you want to try something else.

3. When clients can’t decide about what they want

What’s more difficult than dealing with clients who have an endless list of things they want to see? It’s trying to figure out what clients want because they themselves don’t know what they want.

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4. You’ve found a mismatch

Do you believe that burnout comes from mismatched relationships? You’ve been doing your best to cater to your client’s needs. Still, you’re always given unreasonable deadlines and countless revision demands. Maybe you’re not the perfect fit. Maybe it’s the indifference between you and your client that’s causing your exhaustion.

Ways to Deal With Creative Burnout

You need to go back in the zone before your deadline beats you. If you’re already burned out, all you’ve got to do is rest and relax. Easy to say, right? Here are more tips on how you can deal with this situation before you lose every inch of creativity you have.

1. Take a break away from the computer. This is the easiest step to fight off burnout, especially if you’re working non-stop for more than eight hours a day.

2. Socialize. When was the last time you took a weekend off? If it’s been ages since you went out with your friends, now is the best time to catch up with them. Just don’t spend the whole day ranting over your workload. Chill and enjoy their company.

3. Organize your workstation. How?

a. Clean your desk
b. Get an ergonomic chair
c. Get a good lighting
d. Hang a moodboard on the wall
e. Get a cactus

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A chaotic desk with no proper lighting and ventilation can aggravate that burnout. Make your workstation work for you.

4. Keep an inspiration board. Pinterest is the best tool to help you with this. Whenever you start getting tired and uninspired, just pin. Create boards for design inspirations, for motivational quotes, and for inspiring tips and success stories.

5. Exercise. Regular exercise helps improve creative thinking. If you’ve been planning to enrol in that fitness class, go sign up now. Boost your creativity and be fit and happy all at the same time!  

6. Find an interesting activity. Is there something else you’re good at aside from graphic design? If you’re passionate about baking, playing the guitar, or gardening, pursue it. Develop a new skill and find another reason for happiness.

There are many other ways to handle creative burnout. Do all these things and get ready to find your next project.

Got your own tips to share? Leave a comment below this post. We’d love to hear from you.

flDyan
flDyan Staff

Junior Product Marketing Manager at Freelancer. Aside from work, I'm into wedding coordination, entrepreneurship, beach trips, badminton, reading novels and the attempt of writing one.

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