As a self-employed person, especially one that works from home, it is easy to blur the lines between working and not. Am I on the computer to relax and mess around or am I checking emails and working on social media posts? Am I editing or am I chilling with some ice cream? I have always been a person with too many ideas. Writing both helps with that and encourages me to overdo it.
I write thrillers and horror here; I do some ghost writing, and I publish equestrian journals and non-fiction fun books. I love getting ideas for one or more of those ventures at all hours of the day. But I know better, and I am trying to be better. This spring I quit my horseback riding instructor/horse trainer job because it had become all-encompassing. I worked every day and was expected to be on call, even when I did go home. It wasn’t healthy, and I definitely burnt out. I needed to change, and it wasn’t easy. I took a full two months off of riding—cold turkey. No riding, no teaching, no horses; nothing. Then I started back up in an amateur role. I now lease a horse that I go ride a few times a week and just have FUN.
I realized recently that I was getting in to the same cycle—for myself this time—but still working every day, at any hour, on multiple projects. I can’t turn my brain off for all the different projects, but I can set limits. I now have a ‘No Work on Sunday’ rule. The only exception being writing fresh words if inspiration strikes—I won’t ignore a blast of motivation. I have some social posts scheduled, as well as this blog, but beyond that (and maybe one check in to be sure there’s nothing important in my inbox) you won’t see me in a business capacity on Sundays.
I want my writing to work; I want to keep loving my job(s) and to do that means I have to take a break. Will there be weekends that I have an event to sell books, sure, and maybe that week I’ll make Monday my day off. But there will always be a day off, not just a few hours here or there. You can only be so productive. I’ve learned that the hard way and I am recognizing the path now and trying a different route.
Have you experienced burn-out? What do you do to stave it off? Sharing stories is the best way to help other people, everyone goes through it! It can happen at every level and in every profession—it can happen everywhere there are people who want to be better.