Or as a freelance business owner.
This post title should come with a question mark at the end. Burnout has so many forms and can affect you in so many ways that you are never really ready to deal with it even if you have in the past.
The reasons that cause burnout for freelance translators, and small business owners in general, are diverse.
The term “work fatique” is also used to describe the situation when we feel we have given our job too much space in our life and mindset.
Some of the symptoms of burnout for freelancers include among others:
High level of anxiety and a constant flow of adrenaline * Lack of motivation * Feelings of helplessness and futility * Self-criticism and the feeling of always being on the run for something and that time is never enough – an overwhelming sense of urgency.
Does that sound like your daily mantra?
How to avoid it – or, if it’s too late, deal with it?
First of all, acknowledge the possibility that you might be suffering from, or are at the verge of a burnout.
Take a deep breath and try to identify what stresses you out the most in order to take the relevant action which will really help you feel better.
Is your work load too much? Partner up with a fellow translator, outsource more, hire a part-time translator for some of your projects, plan forward so that you won’t leave everything until the day before the deadline.
Are your clients giving you a hard time? Fire the worst of them. There are plenty of articles out there about “How to fire your clients” and why it is a healthy thing to do. Don’t be afraid to interrupt working relationships that are simply not working for you.
Are you exhausted of your business being an one-person-show? Try delegating more. Find a good financial advisor, hire a Virtual Assistant or a temp. This will leave you time to do what you love more in this world: translating (or procrastinating while pretending to be translating).
Are you giving yourself a hard time? Get some rest. Take some time for yourself. Read my article about why it really pays off to go on holiday if you are not convinced. Trust me, when they say “You can’t pour from an empty bottle” they do have a point. Even if you cannot go on holiday (for any reason) take some time to recharge throughout the day or once a week. Have a “you” day in the week or a “free” hour in your day when you will be able to do whatever you feel like doing – no errands or “must-dos”. Just fun and relaxing things.
Are you always out of time? Set longer deadlines. You are afraid your clients won’t want to work with you if you can’t deliver in 2 days time? Well, delivering mediocre work because of your total fatigue and lack of motivation, is definitely worse, don’t you think?
And don’t forget, we translators (and freelancers) may love our jobs but there are more things in life! Take care of yourself first!
How do you experience burnout as freelancers, as translators or as small business owners?
Let me know your stories and your tips in the comments.