It doesn't matter what industry you work in you can, and likely will, experience burnout at some point over your career. Digital Marketers are not immune to burnout. While some people look at our jobs and think 'Man, must be nice to play on your computer and social media all day' that is not all that we do and there is so much more to our roles than 'just playing online'.
Digital marketers are important to all businesses today. It doesn't matter if your company is big or small, having a good digital marketer on your team can mean the difference between your business making it or not. That said, that puts a lot of pressure on digital marketers to always be creative. Always be informed of every change in rules, regulations, trends and technology. Always be able to adapt on the fly (no one wants to lose money on failing campaigns) and to always meet and exceed the expectations of our clients/employers.
The World Health Organization defines burnout as a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one's job; and
reduced professional efficacy.
Creative burnout (the feeling that you have drained all your creative energy and have no ideas or energy left to create more) for digital marketing specialists is a reality that is on the rise in our industry, but what can we do about it? Further more, what can you, as a digital marketing specialist, do to avoid, prevent or address your own creative burnout?
Ask Yourself Why
Take a step back and really ask yourself why you are feeling burnt out. Is your schedule too demanding? Are you getting enough help at home? Are you taking on too many clients or projects at work? Are you only creating the same thing over and over?
Being able to answer these questions will give you the first clue as to why you are feeling burnt out. Then you will know what area of your life you need to focus on to relieve some pressure so that your creative juices can get flowing again.
Are You Just "Stuck"?
Sometimes you can just get stuck on a task and not have the energy to figure it out or make it 'perfect'. Just staring at the screen and continuing to rip your work apart for not being exactly what you want will not get you anywhere. If you start feeling this way it's time to switch to a new task for awhile. Let that first one rest and come back to it later or the next day. You'd be surprised how just walking away for a little while can actually reignite the creative fire.
Take a Break.
In fact, TAKE ALL YOUR BREAKS. It has been said in previous blogs, but just incase you weren't listening the first time here it is again: it is very important that you take your breaks every day. It can be temping to tell yourself 'I'll take a break after I am done this piece of content/this proposal/this article/this analysis', but you won't. So when you find yourself thinking about taking a break: take one. If you are one that can get hyper-focused on a task and lose track of time while working, there are many apps that can help you schedule your breaks and create alarms and reminders to actually take those breaks. Check out last week's blog for more information on that one.
Have Some Creative Fun
The trouble with doing a job that you love can sometimes mean that the fun gets sucked out of it. Take some time to do something fun with your creative talents. Canva has a weekly design challenge where they give a topic and ask creators to create something fun and post it with the #CanvaDesignChallenge hashtag so that other creators can see your work. If you're lucky, your design might get featured on their social media page or you might even get a shout out and that's kind of cool too. There is no pressure here. You can create whatever your heart desires. You can choose to share it or not, but it can be the reminder that you need in order to remember why you became a digital marketing specialist in the first place.
Reduce Your Stress and Boost Your Confidence
If you're stressed being creative won't be easy. If you find yourself stressing over that stress and negativity then you are really going to do yourself in creatively. This is where practicing mindfulness can come in handy, as can practicing yoga, going for a walk, meeting for coffee with a friend or even taking a 'mental health day' from work.
Lowering your stress is important, but so is your ability to boost your own confidence. Keep your favorite works in a separate folder on your desk top so you can look at them again. Keep happy emails from happy clients/customers/bosses where you can access them and reread them for a confidence boost when your confidence might be lacking.
Remember: what you do is important and not everyone can do it. So take time to remind yourself how good you are at what you do and the positive impact that you and your work has had on others.
Are You a Digital Marketer Experiencing Creative Burnout?
It's ok. You are not alone. Digital marketers are finding themselves speeding towards burnout at an excessively fast rate. While there are many people out there that think 'I could do that in my sleep', the truth is they can't and talented digital marketing specialists are hard to come by. By practicing the suggestions above you will be able to prevent or at the very least treat your creative burnout before you get to the point of complete exhaustion.