Avoiding the Burnout // 7 Tips to Keep the Passion Alive in your Work

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Staying passionate about the work you do is imperative if you hope to live a satisfied life. For me, I have struggled to strike that healthy work / life balance. I am passionate about not only writing but also sharing what I have learned and have not had the opportunity to do either over the past 6 months.

As we jump into the 7 tips to keep the passion alive in the work you produce, I want to start with a small update on what has kept me from regular posting and maintaining an active social presence. If you want to skip ahead to the meat of the post, use the TOC on the left side of the window.

Flash back to January 2015. Cinescapes, the company I started in October 2013, decides to transition from working directly with clients to working with local agencies. Until this point, it was a clear object that we set early that we did not want to work with local agencies – we focused on working with clients directly or with international agencies. However, at the start of this year, with the opening of our Saskatoon office, we decided to give the local agencies a try.

THE OBJECTIVE: Establish a strong footing in the local production market.

THE RESULT: A drastic shift from working with clients as creative collaborators and specialists to that of task-masters. Now let me clarify, not all of the agencies we worked with treated the experience as if we were task masters – we actually were able to position ourselves as creative collaborators with a select few that we enjoy working with and continue to collaborate with.

I’ve attached a couple projects that were exceptions to the rule. We enjoyed the process from start to finish.

As the year progressed, I saw myself falling further and further away from the projects I enjoyed working on and away from people I wanted and enjoyed working with. I was getting closer to a profession I was falling out of love with. Fast-forward to October 2015 and I finally realized that I was no longer feeling creatively fulfilled in the work I was producing. I even felt disconnected from the work I wanted and enjoyed working on. I was burnt out. It was at this point that I realized I needed to go back to my grassroots and focus on what was important. It was time that I shifted focus and re-evaluated the five and ten year plans.

As I write this post, I am just at the start of this new journey and I can say that I am very excited to get back on track and driving towards what I initially set out to do in October 2013.

Although I would love to post images from projects I didn’t enjoy, that just seems irresponsible so here are a few from the fun ones.

7 Tips to Keep the Passion Alive in your Work

I was warned many times that if I kept up the pace I was going that eventually I would burnout. I never listened – and it ended up almost killing my passion. Through this experience, I learned how important it is to maintain a clear vision and to keep these seven tips in the back of your mind with the decisions you make.

  1. Set long term goals.
  2. Set short term goals.
  3. Strike a balance.
  4. Build your networks.
  5. Find your happy place.
  6. Take risks.
  7. Take a break.

1. Set long term goals.

It is key that from the onset of any project or journey that a clear set of long term goals are established. These can be high level things that help guide the decisions you make on a weekly, monthly and/or yearly basis. How often you check in is up to you and your needs but it is key to create some for points of reference. This will help with the way in which you deal with clients, the types of projects you take on as well as other aspects of your creative life.

2. Set short term goals.

Short term goals are critical to keep you on pace day to day. Make sure you track your time and understand where your time is going. Create check up points through calendar scheduling and if possible, a project management platform. For us. we try use Asana as much as possible to keep everything organized.

Further to this, short term goals are great for establishing a sense of accomplishment with the work you are doing. I find that when I think of jobs as a set of steps, I am able to get a better grasp of what is required for a job and feel that the projects are moving forward with the small accomplishments. When you are working with an agency who sees you as a task-master, this is the only thing that will keep you sane and through the 30 rounds of changes – which only seems to happen with the agencies who only see you as task-masters.

3. Strike a balance.

This comes in many forms from work/life balance, passion/paid work, and more. It is key to utilize your short and long term goals to see where your balance is. For me, I started my own business so I could dictate the types of projects I produce as well as when and what I am working on. I will be the first to admit that I have not lived a balanced lifestyle in some time. My goal over the next two months is to find my balance and reinvigorate my passion.

4. Build your networks.

No matter how you decide to approach your career, building networks is the most important part in the short and long term. Never stop building these networks. Team building is ABSOLUTELY critical to the success of your career. You can’t do everything yourself so make sure to build a strong team.

Further to this, by establishing a strong team, you are motivated by the ideas and inspiration you get from other creatives. These like minded individuals help push you to become not only a better filmmaker but also a better person.

5. Find your happy place.

My happy place is producing projects where I have final edit. When I can control the creative vision, I don’t care what type of work I am producing as long as I am able to feel good about what I am working on. It is key to determine what makes you happy and work to include this in your life as much as possible.

6. Take risks.

It is important to talk risks with not only the work you produce but also the way in which you live your life. I try as often as possible to push my comfort zone and experience new things. I frequently find myself jumping in a car or subway and taking an unknown route or stop to check out a local pub or park to see something I may not have seen before. I try and stay away from routine as much as possible – however much I love routines.

7. Take a break.

Now when I say take a break, I mean a complete break. I don’t know how many times I took a ‘break’ but didn’t stop checking emails, responding to clients and or inevitably making that one small client change request. Even if you tell clients you are unavailable, they will continue to email and will continue to expect work – even if you set expectations upfront, let them know you are taking the day off, and even if the project has went past the critical path outlined for a project. They seem to think you are available 24/7 even though they only work a 9-5. These people also feel they deserve a break sometimes but can’t seem to realize we are also human and need breaks too. I continue to struggle with making myself unavailable to clients but this is something I am trying to balance. It is critical and this is what I have been missing over the last few months. Now time to do something about it!

And there we are, the seven tips. I feel I just scratched the surface on the importance of each and can guarantee that I will be going more in depth on each of these points over the coming months.

Questions / Concerns? Would love to hear your thoughts or how you keep the passion in your work. Let me know in the comments below!

 

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