July 3rd, 2024 at 12:46 pm

How to stay creative when burned out


7 minutes reading

New entrepreneurs often disregard how important creative work is for their company’s success. They often see creative work as an extension of their analysis process and consider any creative work, like writing copy, and content, creating visuals, or designing a website, as a mundane task of following instructions, like building construction. Unfortunately, that’s entirely not the case. All creative work indeed follows a frame based on its primary goal. Still, the body of the content is what drives the traffic to your website and the customers to your store. It’s the creativity that sets you apart from your competitors and makes or breaks your business. 

So creative work will be part of your tasks if you want to enjoy steady growth. Whether you write a copy for your ad, a blog post for your blog, or a social media post, you need to avoid sounding boring and data-focused. The same goes for creating images and web designs. A new product deserves an inspirational landing page filled with images that sell. 

In the best-case scenario, all these tasks will be delegated to different teams. However, small, micro, and family businesses often take on these roles along with every other task. Unsurprisingly the owner becomes overwhelmed quite fast, and his creative work is the first to suffer. 

To help you deal with this blockage and retain your creativity despite being overloaded, we created a list of ways to overcome this obstacle and remain fresh and creative despite your workload. But first, let’s discuss how you can avoid getting overloaded in the first place. 

Why do you get overloaded?

Starting your own business needs a lot of work. In the beginning, you will often work for 12-16 hours to establish yourself on the market, find clients, refine your product, and everything else related to starting a business. Your workload can exceed 16 hours daily, even if you are a freelancer. Beginnings are always the hardest; usually, everyone who starts a business is prepared to invest the time, money, and effort required.

Unfortunately, that means you have little time for your personal life. If you’ve set your mind to creating your business and you have the motivation, you can maintain such a working schedule for about six months. After that, however, signs of fatigue will inevitably follow, and the first thing that will suffer is your creative thinking. Fortunately, most businesses manage to get established after this initial push, so the business owner can relax a little afterward. Still, overload and burnout are serious threats as they take a toll on your motivation and efficiency. So what are the leading causes of feeling overwhelmed?

Representation of a burnout

Workload and multitasking

Reducing workload-related stress can also take the form of simple daily activities. Preparing quick and easy recipes at home not only saves time but also breaks the monotony, giving you a refreshing break from your work desk. These recipes are straightforward and require minimal cleanup, making them ideal for busy individuals looking to balance personal life and creative tasks effortlessly.

Usually, the main cause of overloading is multitasking and workload. Deadlines are crucial, but they also bring a lot of stress, which takes a toll on your psychology. A neat trick to reduce stress is to draw forward the deadlines. This way, even if you are a bit late, you will still have time to finish without stressing too much about it. 

Moreover, in the initial stage of the business, it’s instrumental not to mix too many tasks at the same time. Multitasking is fine to an extent, but it drains your cognitive abilities quite fast. So make sure to have enough rest.

Not enough sleep

Sacrificing sleep to get ahead in your work is the worst idea you can have. It sounds good on paper, but a tired brain will never produce something exceptional. So usually, whenever you feel overwhelmed with your work, a good night’s sleep may be the sole answer to the problem.  

Emotional stress

Emotional stress is often related to burnout and a lack of creativity. When your mind is occupied with your emotional distress, it’s hard to concentrate on the task at hand, let alone create something new and unique. Reducing emotional stress can be as easy as lowering your expectations, being flexible, and avoiding toxic clients when you are trying to establish yourself on the market. It’s far better to take a loss and return the money to a client than deal with emotional abuse and stress. Don’t stick to a single client as if no one else is looking for your services. 

Lack of support

Representation of support

When we talk about emotional stress, it’s tightly connected with support. If you have no one to support you in this difficult task, it’s quite hard to deal with your stress and find relief in kind and encouraging words. People need support, no matter how independent and strong they feel. So find someone to share your problems with and get encouragement. It can be a friend, a person, a partner, or even a stranger on the internet. There are a lot of options out there. 


This is the bane of every entrepreneur, no matter the business industry or niche. Perfectionism is what destroys most companies in their early stages, as the owners fixate on creating each component perfectly. Needless to say, perfection takes time and a lot of effort. However, as we explained earlier, one can only work hard for so long. So even if you have the capital to maintain your business in development mode for more than six months, your body and psychology can’t handle the workload.

Moreover, fixating on each small aspect of your business is a recipe for disaster, as you will always find mistakes and small imperfections. It’s like painting a picture. When you are up close, you can see the imperfect brush strokes, but once you see it from afar, you can actually see that these imperfections are what make the picture unique. 

The fear of missing out

The fear of missing out is not only a great marketing tool but also one of the most common causes of burnout. When you start your business, you tend to grab every single job that comes your way. It’s an instinct that if you lose the client, they may find someone else. That may be, but it’s far better to lose a client because of being overbooked than because of poor work quality. Know your capabilities and make sure to take only the work you can do to the highest quality. Everything else can wait. Creating a calendar with your tasks is also a great way to visualize your free slots. 

Try to avoid these common mistakes, and you might save yourself from overloading. More importantly, however, keep track of your physical and mental status for signs of burnout. 

What are the signs of burning out?

Like most other mental problems, burnout may come as a surprise. Moreover, it’s within human nature to ignore the problem and convince yourself you’re fine. That’s why it’s crucial when you are starting your business to always stay on top of signs of fatigue, overload, and burnout. Thankfully burnout has some pretty unmistakable symptoms.

Physical exhaustion

This is the first sign something is not alright with your overall well-being. Feeling fatigue early in the morning and constantly yawning is your brain demanding rest. So don’t ignore it, or it may lead to far more than burnout. Such symptoms may lead to headaches and migraines as well. 

Emotional exhaustion

Representation of a burnout infused emotional exhaustion

If you stop caring about your work or you are overly emotional, those can be signs of emotional exhaustion. Your psyche is way too tired to control your emotions, so it goes to extremes, regardless of the situation. Most often, people suffering from emotional exhaustion become cynical and detached from others. 

Desire to isolate from others

People who have burned out often avoid contact with other people. They simply don’t have the emotional and mental strength to deal with others. This, however, is highly counterproductive, as meeting with the right people may actually charge you rather than drain you. 

Negative outlook

Overloaded people tend to see the worst in the world, and they expect the worst. Thus, if you start having a predominantly pessimistic outlook on the world, it’s time to have some rest and restart. Negativity often increases the effects of isolation and spirals out of control into depression. 

Neglecting hygiene

That’s probably the most disgusting part of burning out. Generally, people try to stay fresh and clean, regardless of whether they will go outside or not. If you start neglecting your surroundings and hygiene, it’s time to stop working and start doing some house chores. This thing, as you will find out later, will not only retain your civil appearance but will also help you cope with the stress and overcome creative blocks due to overload.

Increased irritability

When you are under stress, even the slightest irritation may throw you out of balance. When you are burned out and emotionally drained, your brain can’t control your outbursts, so you become far more irritable, and even small noises can start grinding your gears. This is a clear sign that you’ve reached your limit, and it’s time to consider your mental health. 

Lack of motivation

If getting up to start working seems like an unbearable task, if you try avoiding starting your job at any cost and you’re ready to clean the gutters rather than sit one more day doing the same old thing, then it’s clear you need a vacation. Motivation has many catalysts, but none of them can save you if you are overloaded and miserable. 

Still, even if you see you’re on the brink of burning out, you need to retain your online presence. Otherwise, when you return from the vacation, you’ll have to start over the inertia you’ve already built. So, how do you overcome the creative block when you’re overloaded?

How to overcome creative blocks due to overload

Getting overloaded with work happens even if you’re always aware of the causes and symptoms. Unfortunately, you can’t just throw all your work away and leave. Sometimes you need to push through and finish your work before you can take some well-deserved rest. When you have mundane tasks, despite being difficult, you can push through on sheer willpower. However, if you have to do creative work, you can’t afford to succumb to your negativity, cynicism, and lack of motivation. You need to be able to produce unique, creative, and inspiring content that will satisfy your needs. Fortunately, there have been some tried and tested techniques that can help you remain creative and inspiring, despite being overloaded and drained.

Representation of a bad ideas

Understand your creative process

First of all, you need to understand your distinctive creative process. For some people, it involves creating a plan and following it strictly. Others prefer to just start at a blank page and see where their inspiration takes them. Some are a mix of the two, as they either create a plan but change it as they run, or they don’t create a plan but still have a clear idea of what the finished product would look like. Knowing your process will help you get into working mode. Sit on your desk and begin your process without any distractions. Leave your phone, close the door, and close all social media. It’s only you and the information you need to finish the job. Everything else should be turned off or silenced. Disregard phone calls, emails, everything. It’s you and your work now. 

Create a schedule

Naturally, you can’t spend your entire day in front of the computer. You need to have rest, food, and some shut-eye if necessary. Still, you can’t afford to jump right into these once you see you’re not in the workflow. So, create a schedule for your work.

For example, give yourself a sharp 1:30 hour of non-stop work whenever you start working. Plan, create, and give all your attention to the work. After that, go to the restroom, drink some water, check a YouTube video, and in general, try to get away from the task at hand for about 20 minutes. Another hour of working session follows, with half an hour of rest after that. If the job has not been finished by this time, continue the same schedule – 1:30 work, 20 minutes rest, one hour work, 30 minutes rest. The main point is to create your own work and rest time slots that fit your working style and your needs. 

If you already have such a schedule and you’re still burning out, you might want to switch it a bit and give yourself more rest and less work time. 

Change your environment

Sometimes changing your surrounding environment is all that it takes to get the creative work going. It’s as simple as getting to another room, standing up, or getting outside the office. You can go to a coffee shop and work there for a while. You can go to the local park and work from a bench. Or you can go to a different city and stay there for a few nights to switch your routine and kickstart your creative spark. 

Take breaks and reflect on your work

Representation of a break

 Taking breaks is the only way to retain your creativity when overwhelmed by tasks. You need time to get away from the task at hand and give yourself some space. Then, you can have an entirely different perspective on the same problem and find a better, unique solution. If you stay on top of your creative work all the time, you won’t be able to see it as the audience will. So give yourself some space and time to reflect on your work. 

Give yourself digital downtime every day

The best way to battle fatigue from work on your computer is to give yourself some digital downtime. This does not include your sleep. Sleeping is mandatory, and naturally, it does not involve any digital screens. Still, make sure to have at least 2-3 hours a day doing something you like away from computers and screens. Leave your phone and give your eyes and brain some rest. If you love cooking, you can cook something while you are resting. Still, in our experience, the best way to relax after long hours in front of the screen is to do some exercise. Whether it’s some physical exercises, riding a bike, or jogging, when your muscles are working, your brain has the time to relax and refresh. It’s no wonder all billionaire entrepreneurs use their digital downtime to refresh and come up with new unique ideas. 

Find inspiration

Speaking of new ideas, actively seeking inspiration can help a lot in this regard. Everyone has their own trick for finding inspiration, and there is no single best way to do so. Still, there is some general advice you may follow until you find your own inspirational process. 

  • Talk to a friend and discuss ideas – Talking with friends that are not experts in the same industry and field will give you a different, new perspective on the problem at hand. A simple conversation with a friend can trigger your inspiration. 
  • Grab a beer – Now, when we say grab a beer, we mean one beer. Research has shown that the alcohol buzz can increase creative cognition. So, grab a beer, enjoy it while being away from the screen, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if ideas start popping up. 
  • Meet someone new – Meeting someone new often takes you out of your comfort zone and forces your brain to work harder. It’s stimulating, and usually, new people mean new ideas.
  • Read or watch on related topics – If you don’t have the motivation to go out and meet new people, you might as well try to get inspired by someone else’s work. Read articles and watch videos on the topic at hand. It might help to revisit some of your old work as well. This way, your brain will connect the patterns that lead to the inspirational moment back then. 
  • Experience something new – Experiencing something new can also drive your creativity up. Usually, experience is what helps our imagination grow. So, new experiences often lead to new ideas and feeling much more inspired afterward. 

Don’t waste inspirational periods

Once you’ve reached an inspirational moment, don’t waste it away. Start work immediately, even if you are resting. Sometimes great ideas come during the night. So don’t think you will remember them in the morning. Get up and put them down so you can expand on them the next day. Ideas are forgotten as fast as they are thought, so don’t waste time and use the most of your inspirational period. 

Put all your ideas down

Representation of collecting ideas

More importantly, make sure to put all your ideas down, no matter how irrelevant and stupid they feel at the moment. Ideas reflect your creative process, way of thinking, and association process. So if you want to get your entire brilliant idea in all its details, you need to have a full map of your thought process. 

Do some monotonous task

When you’ve burned out, the best way to recollect your thoughts is to shut off your brain and do some monotonous tasks. They might be related to your business, house chores like cleaning or washing the dishes, or it can even be some pointless task that will keep your hands occupied but your brain free. The physical work will activate your brain, but it won’t require it to think. So instead, it will be free to wander in new directions and, more often than not, give a unique creative solution to the main task. 

Allow yourself to be bad

That’s another secret. People are quite afraid of being the worst at what they do. But you don’t always need to be perfect. You can allow yourself once in a while to exploit your worst ideas. Such ideas often lead to nothing but a restart of your thinking process. But sometimes, they truly lead to something brilliant. Just look at Aerosmith’s “Dude looks like a lady,” and you know what power the worst ideas have. And who cares if you have some terrible ideas and products on the drawing board? People will only see the end product, so don’t be afraid to experiment with bad ideas. 

Start creating … anything

So, for the same reason, even if you have no idea, all you need to do is start creating. Whether it would be drawing circles, writing gibberish, or just throwing website elements in your website builder, you need to start working. Have a bit of no-holds-bar fun. Express your frustration on the white canvas or white paper. Even if you delete everything afterward, at least you will kickstart your muscle memory, which will help your brain get into working mode rather than slack off.

Avoid overload whenever possible

Actively trying to avoid overloading yourself will help you a lot in your creative work. Creative work needs time, so if possible, delegate as much of your mundane work to others and just automate it. For example, when it comes to website hosting, HostArmada is the best solution, as we offer lightning-fast website speed, 99.9% uptime, and excellent security. Moreover, we maintain your network and ensure your website is up and running, so you won’t have to check servers and make updates. Just check our plans, and if you need help choosing the plan that suits you best, contact our team. We are always happy to help.