Most of us have probably heard about creative burnout. Potentially even experienced it or going through it right now. Professionals in the creative industry need to be on top of the game. Produce fresh, engaging, and converting content. Email marketers are not an exception to creative burnout: creativity is a significant factor impacting the success of your email marketing, whether that’s design, ideas, optimization, content, or even automated journeys.
Burnout 101: What is Creative Burnout?
Burnout is not a new concept. The “burnout syndrome” was actually described in 1974 by Herbert Freudenberger. Creative burnout refers to burnout in people working in creative professions. This condition can make you feel unwell both psychologically and physically:
- Feeling exhausted, “drained”, or stuck. The lack of fresh ideas or creativity can make people feel miserable and overly self-critical. In turn, many start taking things more personally than before.
- Procrastination and reduced productivity can lead to frustration. Putting off work and not meeting deadlines or not being able to work on projects in a timely way can cause people to be irritated. And even push to start dreading work completely.
- It can even result in frequent headaches and actual physical fatigue.
Flexjobs survey has found that a shocking 75% of respondents – three out of four people – have experienced burnout at work! Thus if you’re feeling burned out, you are not alone.
Dealing with Creative Burnout
It is very important to allow yourself to rest – give yourself a break! Try to save your creative juices and let your mind rest.
Remember, rest is not a luxury; it’s a necessity. So take a break. We understand that it may sound like an easy thing to do, while in reality, it’s not. We all have deadlines, fast-paced work environments, and multiple projects being handled simultaneously. This said, creative burnout comes from that overflow, so rest is something you need to plan for too.
Plan Your Work and Know Your Capacity
Try to fix the “practical elements” that could help manage your creative burnout. For example, a content/work calendar is beneficial for many email marketing professionals to keep an eye on the incoming tasks and workload. If you don’t have such a calendar, you should create one or simply download a template from the internet.
However, simply putting the tasks in a spreadsheet will not magically deal with creative burnout. Still, it will help you visualize your schedule: what work is coming your way, any approaching deadlines, and, most importantly, it will help you push work back. Saying no is difficult, but when you have a full schedule with nearly 100% of your capacity used, it’s easier to communicate that to your stakeholders. It will help you prioritize tasks instead of trying to do everything all at once.
Know Where and When You’re Most Productive
Understand how you work best – are you most energetic in the mornings? Then prioritize the most intensive and demanding tasks for your mornings. Or maybe you’re more awake in the afternoons, and, in contrast, your mornings are super slow? Try to re-arrange your work schedule to help yourself perform better.
Improving your work environment could help too – maybe there are unnecessary distractions not allowing you to concentrate? Or maybe, on the contrary, you need more noise and action to be at your best? Perhaps music helps your creative juices flow? Moreover, such simple things as an uncomfortable seat or incorrect screen brightness could negatively impact your work.
Getting re-inspired can help a great deal. Think back: what got you excited about your projects? What or even who inspires your creativity? Seek email marketing inspiration online: for example, our email marketing blog is full of great tips that could help you generate ideas. Also, portals like Really Good Emails could give you a creative boost.
Many content ideas are online, so attend email marketing webinars, conferences, and various industry events and talks. These could give you a great jump start for your brainstorming. And with the ever-growing email marketing community, don’t hesitate to reach out to other email marketing professionals for advice or directions on where to look for resources or inspiration.
Don’t forget your own inbox. Your personal inbox is a fantastic resource: you’re most likely getting many marketing and transactional emails as a consumer. Scan through your promotions tab, open those emails and note what you like or don’t like about them. Click on some links and check where you land. How are these companies promoting their business to you?
Repurpose Existing Content and Rediscover Email Marketing
You probably have an abundance of content that you could repurpose for your emails when you feel like you’re going through creative burnout. Find that content: if you have a blog, look for what you could re-use in the emails from your best-performing blog posts. Revisit your social media posts and company announcements to generate content and design ideas.
Try to rediscover your inspiration by finding your work purpose and what makes you motivated. Why do you love email marketing? Is it because it’s challenging but also rewarding? Or is it because you love coding or writing copy for emails? Or perhaps you enjoy building automations? Many elements in email marketing could inspire you, such as using A/B tests to help your ideas come to life.
Try to focus on what you love in email marketing. Rediscover what makes you happy – even if that’s the adrenalin rush you get when you hit the send button.
Most Importantly, Take Care of Yourself
Creative burnout is not uncommon – while it can be upsetting and frustrating, there are steps you could take to help yourself recover. It is vital that you find time to take care of yourself and take a break. Make sure you use your vacation time for yourself instead of catching up with work. Allow your mind and body to rest. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to see a healthcare professional or a therapist to help find ways to combat the effects of burnout.