You’ve probably heard the popular saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” While there’s some truth to that sentiment (because there are definite perks to doing what you love for a career,) when your business is centered around one of your favorite hobbies, burnout is a very real risk. Whether you own an Etsy shop or are a blogger, if the products you create are based around your favorite pastime, suddenly there’s a lot more pressure on an activity that you used to do for fun. When you’re a mother and the primary caregiver, if you feel like all of your time is either working or taking care of your family, this pressure increases your chances of experiencing burnout.
I have first-hand experience dealing with this. I’m a writer and blog about planning, journaling, and creativity. A lot of my posts on both the blog and social media include pictures of my weekly layouts and journals. Even though I write about embracing imperfection in my posts, there still is the added pressure of deadlines to my pages I create. It’s not always making a layout for the pure fun of it; it’s more of an “I have to get this done now or I’m behind schedule” mentality. I’m sure other creative entrepreneurs, from those who sell their crafts on Etsy to those who sell eBooks on Amazon, can relate to this mental shift. With that in mind, read on for my five tips for avoiding creative burnout when your hobby is your business.
Schedule Time for Only Your Hobby
This may sound like an obvious suggestion, but it is easy to forget to make time for your hobby when you’re in the thick of deadlines and creating content. It’s important to allow time in your schedule to only do your hobby or practice your craft, whether it’s creating scrapbook pages, sewing, gardening, writing, or making art. Don’t allow yourself to worry about whether what you produce is good enough to post on Instagram or your blog. In fact, I would suggest if it has been a long time since you’ve been able to do your hobby only for fun, don’t take a picture and Instagram it. You don’t want to either lose your precious time getting pulled into social media or worry about whether your picture looks good enough.
If your free time is limited because of your family responsibilities, if you have a partner, see if you could trade off a few hours with each other for having some free time to pursue your hobby in exchange for your partner to have some time to themselves. If your partner isn’t available, consider either hiring a babysitter or asking extended family to watch your children for a couple hours.
Splurge on New Supplies
Sometimes, when I’m feeling uninspired in my planner layouts, all it takes for me to find inspiration again is allowing myself to get new supplies for my pages. This doesn’t have to be expensive. For me, this could be as simple as new washi tape, journaling cards, or stickers. If your budget allows it, though, maybe indulging your hobby by letting yourself pick up new supplies that you’ve been coveting for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to buying (or you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time to use new supplies.)
Learn a New Technique
When I’m feeling stuck on my art journaling pages, sometimes picking up a magazine with fresh techniques gives me the push I need to try out new ideas and I don’t fall into a rut trying to come up with only picture-perfect pages. Learning a new technique is a great way to break the tedium of creating content for your business and can be liberating. If money is tight, YouTube has so many great tutorials on it for creative projects that you’d likely find some great ideas for inspiration. You could also check out Pinterest and blogs for ideas, too. Be careful of falling into the comparison trap, though. Remember, you’re trying to learn a new technique for you, not for your business. If the new skill ends up helping out your business, that’s wonderful, but that shouldn’t be your focus at this time.
Before you turned your hobby into your business, there was a reason you loved doing your hobby. Spend a few minutes journaling about what you love about your favorite activity and why you started it in the beginning. Not only will this help you remember all the reasons why you love doing your hobby, but this is a great way to reconnect with your personal “why” for your business and can give it you a renewed sense of purpose.
Try a New Hobby
If your workload for your business has left you feeling burned out about your hobby, then maybe spending some time trying a different activity in your spare time may help shake off the blocked feeling. For example, if you’re a writer, you could try your hand at sketching. It doesn’t matter if it’s an activity that you’d be good at; in fact, a beginner’s mindset will help you feel like you have a fresh outlook in other areas of your life, too. It’ll help you shake off boredom if you’ve been in a constant creation mode and break the cycle of repetition.
If your business is based on your hobby, how do you avoid burnout? I’d love to read your suggestions in the comments!
Kelsey Josephson is an introvert who enjoys connecting with others through writing and mixed-media. She lives with her husband, two young children, and a very sensible cat. She can be found blogging about planning, journaling, creativity, and how those three things tie into self-care at www.simplykelseyjo.com.