If there’s anything I’ve learned from day to day life and in purusing my career, it’s that burnout is real, and Burnout sucks. We find things we’re highly passionate about, and sometimes we wonder why all of a sudden we despise those things as time goes on.
Many times I’ve found myself throwing in the towel on my art and development projects. Truth be told, sometimes those projects do hit a brick wall and the only thing I can do in the moment is drop the project, wait, and think about what to do next.
It’s happened with art pieces, website ideas, community building projects, game prototypes, and even custom game servers. Upon reflection however, the cause wasn’t always just a lack of time. It’s more been due to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt).
But… why the fear?
There’s no real risks to be had that would affect my life other than the passage of time. Yet, that passage of time isn’t ever lost, as it’s just experience. Truthfully, it’s a fear of failure, and of rejection.
The only way to solve these as far as I can tell, is to well… accept that failure and rejection happen, but it’s never the end. Moreso, accept that if it wasn’t in your control to begin with, then there’s no need to fret.
But what about balancing all of these projects, and what of fatigue from just working endlessly on them?
Moderation is the answer.
Something I picked up years ago from Kienan Lafferty (an old mentor and friend of mine), is that giving a moment for your mind to breathe is a must, be it with artwork, writing, or development projects.
He often recommended taking slightly more time to break in the course of an hour to really just let the mind get away from the task. If it’s at home as a freelancer, take off to get simple chores done, exercise, or really anything else. Not to mention just getting out of the workspace entirely can help.
He most often stated working around what he called the 28-32 rule, as in to focus on just the work for about 28 minutes, and take a break for 32 minutes. There was more backstory to the history behind that revelation, but I fail to recall the details.
Often times I forget about that method, but it always comes back to mind if I’ve been getting brain fog. More to that point, having physically split spaces for work and relaxation can be rather important for some, as one can distract the other, or even keep one’s self from being able to get into the right mindset to actually get work done.
Those spaces don’t necessarily need to be spread out as if you’d need to get on say… I-95 in rush hour, and drive a half hour in traffic just to go to work at a rented out warehouse space.
For the freelancer, a seperate, dedicatable room would be preferrable. Even a basement could do! For myself though, it’s helps if it’s uncluttered, and easy to tune out the world.