I recently set myself up an excellent studio space in our new apartment. I thought having this space and this room dedicated to art would help with my work-life balance, something I have been struggling with. To a certain point it has, so has the summer and the loosening of lockdown measures. But I still finding myself pulling ridiculous hours and not taking time for myself.
My new studio space
One of the habits I've developed is listening to podcasts while working. Illustration can be lonely, and podcasts somehow make me feel like isolated. My favourites are from SVS learn and I often feel like I know Will Terry, Lee White and Jake Parker personally. After all, I spend a lot of time with them via podcast! However, I've been avoiding one of their recent podcasts, knowing the subject would likely hit too close to home - burnout.
They begin their podcast describing the signs- I barely need to listen to know that I have all of them. They talk about the difference between stress and burnout and the main factor being a lack of excitement. I feel this one strongly. Here I am, living the life I've always dreamed about. I have more work than I can handle, and I draw - for a living! But I think it's important to take a step back and analyse the potential causes and results.
Since November 2020 I have not had more than 2 days off in row
I work on average 60 hours a week, balancing 3 different jobs
I am available to clients, 24/7. I'll respond to messages at all hours of the day, including evenings and weekends
I am currently completing my masters
In the last 7 months, I have illustrated 5 books and illustrated them well.
I am well aware of what is wrong with the above points. It's too much. It's too much for anyone, and I am not Hermione Granger with a time turner (although, if I did have one, I would likely use it to go back in time to sleep) The problem is that I can see the fault in my actions. I can listen to a podcast on burnout knowing exactly what they will tell me.
But I don't know how to fix it.
When you work for someone else, they dictate the hours, so it's easy to determine on hours, and off hours. At the moment, off hours seem to mean those hours I can work on my masters. There's rarely ever a time when I truly turn off, and this needs to change.