Let's talk about Burn Out

Age-old issue, though I’m sure we all have different ways of handling it.

What does everyone do about personal burn out (everyday feels the same, stale ideas, lack motivation, etc)?

Are you aware when it begins to creep up on you? How long does it typically last? Are there specific things that trigger this feeling? Are there preventative measures you take in your life? Has burn out ever landed you in hot-water with clients / co-workers? Let’s hear it!

Boredom has always been a problem for me. I can only solve the same design problem so many times before my mind starts refusing to cooperate. Instead, I’ll start thinking about most anything except the repetitive problem in front of me.

I’ve always liked publication and editorial design, but after designing the third or fourth issue of, for example, the same magazine, I begin the slow process of zoning out until I can’t take it any longer and start looking for a new job, where much the same process begins to repeat itself.

The best jobs for me have been ones where unexpected challenges come up each day that keep things interesting. Short of that, I’ll start inventing problems just to break up the routine.

Another trigger that sets off the boredom is when a client insists on changing something that makes the end product worse that it could have been. At that point my initial enthusiasm turns to detachment, where I sometimes really struggle to keep going through the motions. I’ve learned to do it, but it’s difficult.

I try to change my perspective. I rearrange furniture, buy new clothes, try a new cologne. Changing the lighting situation in my workspace helps sometimes.

Burn out? not really. I have worked 12-14 hour days for months on end and been tired, with no time for anything else, but not really burned out.

I am hardly ever bored, and when I am, it’s not a problem - I enjoy it. Boredom for me is just another state of mind, to be savoured like any other.

If work is the same old same old, that makes it a bit routine and complacency is a danger. I often go back and check things because I don’t remember doing the checks during the job, but I usually have done them.

We all get clients who are a pain, but usually they are wasting their own time as much as yours (and yours is billable).

Alcoholic beverages help. I’ve been known to consume a good quantity of them, burn out or not.

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