How Self Employed Graphic Designers Can Avoid Burnout

585 396 Derek Kimball

stressed graphic designer

While there are many obvious benefits to being a self employed graphic designer, sometimes we just get burned out. Many of us work long hours with the pressures of handling every aspect of our business. If you find yourself overstressed at times, consider the following remedies:

Being More Selective With Design Projects:

being selective with design clients

Rather than taking on every project that comes your way, try being more selective with the clients and projects you take on. You’ll feel more invested in your work and become less stressed. Since I began implementing this quality over quantity philosophy, I definitely feel less overwhelmed.

Finding Recurring Sources Of Income:

recurring income

Unlike the “do the job, get paid, do the job get paid” method of offering services, many designers these days are supplementing their income by selling apps, prints, WordPress themes and more. Establishing these recurring sources of income can be a great way to make some extra money while doing something different.

I think the key here is finding something you’re good at and enjoy doing. For me, it’s photography…I sell stock images on iStockPhoto. If you’re good with copy, consider an affiliate blog. If you’re well versed in typography try your hand at creating and selling your first font.

Exercise, Sunshine, Healthier Diet:


During project crunch times or moments of inspiration, do you find yourself pushing through hunger, body discomfort or fatigue? I know I do. Failure to take breaks and stretch from time to time can wreak havoc on our back, eyes and circulatory system. Don’t forget to stretch, take time to eat, exercise from time to time and get some sunshine. It’s much easier to stay creative when we aren’t in pain or mental dismay. I’m speaking from experience here…my lower back hates me for it.

Getting & Staying Organized:

disorganized graphic designer

It can be difficult for busy designers to stay on top of things, but keeping your workspace and computer files in order will help with peace of mind, saving time and reducing stress levels. Tips for designers to stay organized.

Separating Work Life From Home Life:

work from home graphic designer

For work at home designers, it can be difficult separating work life from home life…especially when our work area is integrated into our home space. If this is a problem you run into, try creating more of a physical separation between your living quarters and your home office space. This may help ease that “tied to work” feeling and prevent as many visits to the computer.

Another thing worth considering is setting your own work hours and sticking to them. For example, any time after 8pm, your office space becomes off limits. Maybe have one or two days a week solely for personal/family time.

Am I missing something here? Don’t be shy…share your thoughts by commenting below.


Derek Kimball

Derek is the founder of DesignBuddy and a full time graphic designer. He specializes in logo creation and visual branding. Over the past 13 years Derek has helped hundreds of clients grow their business and establish a stronger brand identity. View his portfolio, or get in touch. If you'd like to receive an occasional free newsletter with useful design related content, please subscribe here.

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