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5 Tips for Avoiding Burnout as a Proofreader

Being a freelance proofreader means you can set your own schedule and work wherever you want. But this can also make it easier to experience work-related burnout. So, what can you do to stay productive and healthy? We have five tips that can help:

  1. Set boundaries to make sure work doesn’t creep into other areas of your life.
  2. Make time for self-care activities or leisure time to rejuvenate yourself.
  3. Reduce the amount of work you take on (or take some time off altogether).
  4. Ask friends for support, or seek help from a mental health professional if required.
  5. Learn new editing skills so you can work on different kinds of documents.

For more on all the above, check out our detailed advice below.

1. Set Healthy Work–Life Boundaries

When working in an office, it’s easy to delineate when you are at home and when you are at work. But that isn’t easy for freelancers, who often work where they live.

Freelance proofreaders can set healthy boundaries between their work and home lives by:

  • Creating a specific workspace in the home or finding a coworking space outside of the home so that you have a dedicated working environment.
  • Setting specific “office hours” so your day has a regular structure.
  • Putting away work devices and work items when those office hours are over.

As well as helping you avoid burnout, healthy work–life boundaries can boost productivity.

2. Make Time for Self-Care

A little self-care can go a long way in helping you avoid burnout. This means:

  • Making time to cook healthy meals rather than snacking while you work.
  • Getting enough sleep to ensure you’re well rested.
  • Taking regular exercise to keep you fit and relieve stress.
  • Scheduling time off to relax, for leisure activities, or to take a vacation.

This will help you stay healthy, so you’ll be able to work for longer without burning out.

3. Reduce Your Workload

Burnout often occurs because we take on too many things at once. So, if you’re feeling the stress of a massive workload, you may need to adapt your working practices. Options include:

  • Using workload management software to help you use your time wisely.
  • Limiting the number of projects you take on simultaneously.
  • Seeking longer deadlines on non-urgent projects to avoid a time crunch.
  • Passing work on to or sharing projects with other freelancers you trust.
  • Raising your rates so you can work less but still earn what you need.

It’s okay to take a few days off now and then, too, especially if you’re feeling stressed. But if you do feel like you need a break at short notice, don’t leave your clients in the lurch: let them know when you won’t be available in advance, then you can switch off and relax.

4. Seek Help If Needed

Occasionally, the root of burnout is deeper than overworking or poor boundaries. Mental health struggles can both cause exhaustion and result from not managing burnout early on.

If things don’t get better with self-care and healthy habits, it may be time to see a therapist or another mental health professional. These individuals are trained to work through difficulties with you, helping you overcome negative thought patterns and find a better balance.

5. Learn New Editing Skills

Finally, to keep your work fresh, it helps to take on new challenges. As a proofreader, this may mean offering a new service or branching out into a new type of writing. But if you want to do this properly while maintaining professional results, it helps to seek a bit of extra training.

Luckily, we can help with that! The full Becoming A Proofreader course covers a range of writing types. And we have specialist courses on academic proofreading and formatting if you want to focus on a specific area. To find out more, why not give the free trial course a go?

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