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Learn to say no

Learn to say no

 ... especially to projects and clients that suck the creativity out of you.

When your mental resources are limited, you need to make sure they’re going to the right tasks. Burnout decimates your motivation, making working on projects you’re uninterested in an agonizing process.

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Understand your limitations

Burnout occurs when job demands consistently outweigh the resources available. The first thing you need to do is to set proper limits.

When you limit your time spent on specific tasks, you give yourself permission to make choices. Instead of fighting perfectionism for example, you learn to stop when things are good enough.

Finding a creative outlet

Find a completely unrelated creative outlet: look for a creative task with lower stakes to help ease you back into things and re-ignite your creativity and motivation.

What are the things in your own life that you enjoy but aren’t necessarily “productive”? 

Self-care and creative fuel

How you give yourself self-care is up to you. 

It could mean going to bed an hour earlier. Making time for a walk in nature. Going to an art show. Or even just doing something fun.

Strict, yet realistic deadlines

For example, if you need to write a chapter of a book, instead of sitting down and looking at a black page for hours on end, break it up into tiny increments and set tight deadlines (such as 250 words every 20 minutes).

Not only will you not have time to become self-critical, but once you start working it’s much easier to keep going.

Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

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RELATED IDEAS

  • Long-term procrastination and struggling with basic work
  • Constant exhaustion and inexplicable stress
  • Unhealthy comparisons and self-doubt
  • Unbalanced content consumption
  • Morning dread
  • Harmful habits and unusual irritability

With all these, it is important to remember two things:

  1. There is a difference between creative block and creative burnout. The former does not share the same symptoms with the latter.
  2. Many of these symptoms are associated with mental health conditions so it's best to talk to a professional.

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IDEAS

  • Pessimism
  • Isolation
  • Lack of motivation
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Detachment
  • Feelings of meaninglessness.

Some of us are better at making new connections between concepts. But this is in most cases the result of hard, deliberate work, not an accident of birth.