Working in the tech sector provides a wide range of opportunities for career growth and personal development that many other industries generally fail to distribute. Constant workflow consistent of a variety of engaging projects is just a small portion of what a job as a designer or developer can get you.
Burnout is a real phenomenon that has affected the careers of thousands of designers over the years. One of the arresting aspects of it is that burnout can show up unannounced.
In other words, one day you’re fine and the next you’re wondering what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. Although burnout isn’t 100 percent preventable, you can reduce your susceptibility to it by making a few smart moves.
Four Proven Tips for Avoiding Burnout
Burnout sounds like a buzzword, but it’s also a medical term that features real symptoms and effects. As the Mayo Clinic defines it, “Job burnout is a special type of job stress — a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.”
It’s caused by such conditions as lack of control, unclear expectations, dysfunction in the workplace, lack of interest, little to no social support, and work-life imbalances. Here are four essential tips to help you avoid it.
- Get Out of the House
If you work from home, you need to get out of the house and interact with other people on a regular basis … preferably every day. This is a critically vital way to prevent you from feeling trapped.
“One of the things I liked least about working from home for a long period of time was the lack of human interaction,” says Ciaran Mahoney of Dialpad, a leader in business communications.
“Depending on your situation, you may be able to go into the office a couple days out of the week. But if that’s not possible, you’ll need to find a way to get in some face-time so you don’t go insane.”
- Don’t Overcommit
Overcommitting can often be at the root of job burnout. If you can learn how to pace yourself and schedule your projects and time in a way that suits you and your energy levels as well as productivity, you’ll be much better off.
For ambitious designers, turning down work can feel like a cardinal sin. But telling a client “no” can be an essential skill you should have. You don’t want to do it too often or you’ll ruin your reputation, but a well-timed refusal of extra work can protect you from a lot of unnecessary stress.
- Hire People to Handle Small Tasks
You might have heard of the 80-20 rule. Also known as The Pareto Principle, this maxim states that 20 percent of your time/work/effort produces 80 percent of the results/revenue/success.
If you can identify this breakdown in your workload, you can then spend your time focusing on the 20 percent and hire other people to take care of the time-consuming 80 percent.
“You might know a few other friends who freelance and would like the extra work, or maybe even a few friends who have full-time jobs but would be willing to earn a little extra cash,” digital media expert Megan Sullivan says. “While you may want to do everything on your own, don’t underestimate the value of sending up a flare and getting a little aid.”
- Pick Up a Hobby
It’s important for you to have activities to look forward to outside of work. Not only does this give you something to strive for and encourage you to work faster and more efficiently, but it also prevents you from spending every waking hour on your paid labor.
The best tactic is to pick up a hobby (or two). Find something that’s totally different from whatever you do during the day — preferably an activity that forces you to step away from the computer — and invest in it. You might be surprised by how much more engaged you feel when you return to work.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Burnout can happen to anyone, so it’s vital for you to do everything you can to put yourself in a position that empowers you to stay engaged and enthused. There will probably always be days when you don’t want to work, but you can ensure they are fewer and farther between if you create a system that works for you.
There’s an interesting trend right now in online activities. Ever since the Internet came into its own, people have constantly declared that content is king.
But more and more, the web development framework around the content is playing a vital role as well. In fact, at some point, how well the web development is executed may come to mean more than the content. In other words, we have nearly achieved “the medium is the message” status on the web.
What does that mean to you as a web developer or content generator? The answer lies in the notion of a blog itself, inside premium WordPress plugins, and bundled up with the essence of new SEO methods.
We must also take into account the degree of specialization that some of this knowledge requires. That means you have to work in teams with people who have different skill sets from yours. This is forcing developers and generators to — gasp! — learn to communicate better.
Begin with the Idea of a Blog
When you’re setting out to create a blog, what mental steps do you go through? You have an idea, and you convert it to text, perhaps with some images inserted, and then post it.
But then what? How and where do you share it? Through social media channels? By individual messages to people? Through a subscription list?
Every question you ask about how to spread of the message relates directly to the concepts of web development. As a content generator, you have to know how to set of a framework of sharing and publicizing, or your idea will go exactly nowhere.
The simple blogging skill set is no longer enough for even a mild level of success.
Check Out Premium Plugins
Further into the idea of web development, consider how much you can accomplish with free tools associated with the WordPress blog format. It’s amazing, really.
You can have a full-featured presence without spending any money. But … if you want to tweak the format; if you want to express yourself more professionally, more succinctly, in a more streamlined way; then that’s where further web development skills are going to come into play.
Because buying plugin licenses and learning to use them effectively is your fast track to standing out visually and technically.
Think About the Importance of SEO
To be a successful content generator of any sort, you now have to know the web development aspects of SEO. You can’t write the way you used to.
Certain stylistic changes are now required, both in terms of raw content and understanding how to put together headlines, titles, subheadings, and image captions.
Teamwork Becomes More Integral
Another thing you’ll quickly realize is that you can’t create a successful online presence on your own anymore. There’s a good chance you’ll need a graphic designer, a photographer, a web developer, a social media guru … all of these positions are necessary!
And though any person can double or triple up on these tasks, it’s nearly impossible to do them all yourself. Get a team, or get left in the digital dust.
Communication Skills Become More Important
Accompanying that team effort is going to come some communication frustration. Especially when you try to mix the creative and the technical together, serious cultural and language barriers exist.
A web designer won’t likely understand the drive of a blogger to use poetic words and phrases any more than a fiction writer understands why tiny adjustments in color scheme can any difference at all. But together, web development and content generation will create the perfect marriage of skills for online success.
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