Design Business Blueprint: burning bright instead of burning out

Happy December, fellow designers and design lovers! As we wrap up another turbulent year in our ever-evolving industry, it’s time to take a moment to acknowledge ourselves and our efforts. Your life as an interior designer is a busy and bustling one, brimming with creative energy, client expectations, and the intricate dance of collaboration with industry professionals to get the job done. We now find ourselves in the throes of the holiday season, so this is the time to reflect on the year gone by and equip ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead.

Acknowledging the Hard Work

Interior designers, take a bow. The demands placed upon you are nothing short of extraordinary. From creating unique designs that transcend the ordinary to managing client expectations that sometimes feel like walking a tightrope, the year’s journey has been intense. Add managing staff, coordinating with contractors, engineers, and architects into the mix, and it’s no wonder you might be feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. 

The pressures are real, and it’s important to recognize the toll they can take on your health and well-being. Burnout, the silent adversary, lurks around the corner for those who push themselves too hard for too long. We all know an exhausted mind is not the fountain of creativity we depend on. So, let’s explore some ways to protect ourselves against burnout. 

Understanding Burnout

You work hard. You say yes to everything. You give 150%of yourself to your design projects, your clients, and your staff. But that may not actually lead you down the path to success. In fact, it’s a slippery road that often leads to burnout. Burnout isn’t just feeling tired; it’s a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion, coupled with a sense of detachment and cynicism towards your work. It’s a designer’s kryptonite, sapping the passion and joy that drew you into this line of work in the first place. Working relentlessly under intense pressure all the time may not be all it’s cracked up to be. 

A Blueprint for Avoiding Burnout

Know When to Say “No”: This is one of my favorites, so I’ve prioritized listing it first. While the excitement of taking on every design job that comes your way can be hard to quell, discernment is key. Saying “no” isn’t a rejection of the opportunity, it’s a strategic decision to maintain balance in your busy schedule and life. Start by assessing how much you can take on and successfully produce; understand your limits and priorities. Also, consider whether the opportunity will bring you joy, or drain your creativity. Channel your energy only into opportunities that align with your vision, strengths, and business goals. Taking this approach will always leave you with space to create high-quality work you’ll be proud of. It will also safeguard your well-being, fostering a sustainable approach to your business. Saying “no” can be a tool for self-preservation.

Embrace your zen to avoid burn out

Make meditation part of your daily routine. Keep in mind, meditation can be different things to different people. Whether you prefer mindfulness, spiritual, breathing, focused, movement, or mantra-based meditation, a daily dose of om will help clear your mind so you can think strategically and effectively. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy affair; even a short moment of calm can do wonders and recharge your creative batteries.

Prioritize regular self-care to avoid burn out

In your relentless pursuit to ‘get it all done,’ don’t forget to include yourself on the long list of things that need tending to. Prioritize self-care. And I can’t stress that enough. Prioritize it in a way that resonates with your needs. Whether it’s a spa day, a long walk, or simply indulging in your favorite book, regularly invest time in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.

Hydration and sleep to avoid burn out

It’s astonishing how often we overlook the basics. Stay hydrated, get a good night’s sleep – these aren’t just clichés; they’re foundational pillars of well-being. Depriving yourself of these essentials only weakens your physical defenses against burnout.

Lastly, take that vacation you keep talking about

With your seemingly endless list of things to get done, taking a step back may feel like a luxury you can’t afford. However, interior designer Robin Baron, founder of her vast eponymous design empire, offers a different perspective – that taking time off is something you can’t afford not to do. Robin’s company policy doesn’t allow employees to carry over vacation days from year to year. Why? Because she understands the importance of regularly taking time off to rejuvenate and recharge. Robin shares, “Design is demanding work, and our minds thrive when we allow ourselves the space to breathe. Taking vacations isn’t just a perk; it’s a necessity. It’s about acknowledging that the best designs come from designers who are inspired…and well-rested!”

The Holiday Season: The Pause Button You Needed and Earned

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As we find ourselves amid the festive cheer, let’s use this holiday season as the ultimate excuse to hit the pause button. Escape to a winter wonderland…or to the beach. Spend quality time with the family. Simply indulge in the guilty pleasure of doing absolutely nothing. Make the most of this precious time. Whatever you do, remember that the holiday season is not just about spreading joy to others but also about replenishing your own reserves. 

The Design Business Blueprint for December is all about safeguarding your most precious asset – you. Navigate the holidays with intention, embracing the opportunity to step back, recharge, and return to the new year with renewed vigor. Your clients and staff and colleagues will all thank you. And, hey, you’ve earned it!

Thank you for continuing to join us each month for Design Business Blueprint. We’ll be back with lots more in the new year. For now, wishing you a warm and happy holiday season filled with peace, joy, and good health. 

About Design Business Blueprint

Design Business Blueprint is a Design News Now exclusive monthly column written by Yudi Kaufman of YKD Associates. Yudi is a multifaceted business strategist, entrepreneur, and creative, who brings years of experience navigating the home furnishings and interior design industry from the inside out. He has a background in interior design, furniture design, sustainability, e-commerce, business management, human resources, accounting, marketing, and public speaking. Yudi holds a Master’s degree in Sustainable Interior Environments from New York’s FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology. A true left-and-right-brainer! Check back each month for more business tips and follow @ykdassociates on Instagram.

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