Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Hey folks, Hoping everyone has had a solid start to 2019, which judging by some awesome creative projects of my peers, certainly appears to be the case for many!
So what is the inspiration for this post? I was recently on a flight up to Brisbane, and for me it was a very important one personally. I was finally getting to see members of my immediate family that I'd not seen in three years.
Those that know me would likely understand that I'm a very family driven person, and due to a series of difficult circumstances beyond our control we were separated by distance and feasibly priced travel.
As we all well know, sometimes shitty things just happen, and you do whatever is required to survive it. Naturally, these abrupt curve balls life throws our way can throw us off-kilter creatively. Whilst we generally do our best to roll with the punches, sometimes you just can't afford said ball striking you right between the eyes.
Whilst how to roll with these punches creatively could well be a topic to go into later, how about this; how can you begin to bounce back once you're feeling completely tapped and burnt out?
My flight to see my family and the much needed time off inspired this entry, as it's been something I've really wrestled with. As mentioned in my last post, I, like many, am guilty of burning the candle of both ends. Whilst it would make more sense to give yourself ample downtime, so you're not knocked out of commission for long stints, our well being is something many of us typically sacrifice on the altar of productivity and progress.
So what suggestions would I give someone feeling this way? For a long while I went between being on top of things one day, to being dragged beneath the wheel the next. What helped me a lot was gaining a better understanding of how and why everything is in flux, that adaptability is your best line of defense. It's easy to fall into the trap of self-feeding guilt whenever you fall off the wagon. Sometimes the reasons for that fall are pretty damn good too, but that doesn't stop you feeling like crap for not having the energy to strive for your goals, let alone achieving them. Make a start by giving yourself some space, both figuratively and literally. Do whatever you can to give yourself a work space that you feel comfortable in, clean up your schedule and redefine your work time and your down time - I learnt the hard way that this is in fact something that requires maintenance, it's not a "one shot" solution. The knowing when to do this is the hard part, but it's something you can absolutely acquire. Next, the good old idea of measurable goals. There are lots of takes on this concept, SMART goals being one of the really well known ones (making your goals Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Rewarding, Timely - plenty of other key words can be used also), but in the end it's about finding a system that resonates and works for you. If you tackle your workflow using trackable, time-sensitive goals that you hold yourself accountable for, you'll start to feel little bursts of energy each time you achieve something; ESPECIALLY from the little goals!
Let's distil the above waffle down. Identify what has you feeling burnt out, be honest and very specific. Do your best to ignore how long you've felt burnt out for, it's irrelevant now and only what you do in the moment truly matters. Start effecting positive changes, these are naturally very subjective, reprioritise your work time to give yourself more time off, reset your goals using techniques like the above, celebrate and reward yourself for your victories (don't overdo it). Hell, make a jump and take that frikken holiday you've been talking about for years! Know when to clock off and rush the damn gates when you've clocked on! Point is, if you do whatever it takes to give yourself room to breath and clear your head, you'll have time to stop and smell the roses. This will fuel you to keep forging ahead and enjoy what you're doing, whereas not feeling any sense of progress or return will burn you out very quickly. Of course, take all this with a grain of sand, there are no hard or fast rules here, but hopefully some of the above might just give you some ammunition to help you on your own creative path. Keep it metal folks and much love!