Tips to avoid burnout
Updated: Apr 24
If you’ve ever worked in the entertainment industry, you’ll know it can quickly become really time-consuming to stay on top of your schedule. Whether you’re meeting every evening for rehearsals in a play, modeling for photoshoots and fashion shows, or working on film sets whenever you get called, it can easily become hard to balance everything without the proper techniques. Plans could change at the turn of a dime and you have to know how to adjust your schedule without getting overwhelmed. In this blog, I will discuss a few good strategies to help you become the boss of your busy schedule without burning out halfway through the week.
Prioritization is key to avoiding burnout in the entertainment industry. With so many potential demands on your time, it's imperative to be clear about what's most important and to set realistic expectations for yourself. One way to do this is to make a list of your most pressing tasks or projects, and then rank them in order of importance or urgency. You could also consider using a time management tool, like a calendar, planner, or scheduling app, to help you stay on top of things and avoid overcommitting yourself. I like to use a calendar on my phone because then it’s really easy to check and you can also set reminders for yourself for certain tasks or events you need to attend to. By taking a proactive approach to managing your time, you can stay focused and energized, even in the midst of a busy production schedule.
But sometimes things don’t always go to plan. Something urgent might come up like an audition with a quick turnaround, or your car won’t start and you have to fix it over the weekend. It’s at this point that one of two things tends to happen if not both. Either you start falling behind in your responsibilities and miss important industry events or you start sacrificing your health to keep up with everything else. This is the last thing you want to do because it is the quickest way to burn out before your scheduled breaks. If you ever start to feel overwhelmed, remember the acronym HALT.
Sometimes I get caught up in focusing on my career and forget to maintain these four simple necessities. By neglecting these feelings, you’re more likely to feel stressed and irritable, but recognizing them and taking steps to address them will reduce your overall stress levels and improve your well-being. For example, meal prepping at the beginning of the week is super helpful if you don’t have time to cook every day. I also always keep snacks in my bag or car if I get hungry while out and about. Some people opt to eat out on days like this, but unless it's an emergency, I prefer to save that money for acting classes.
If you're feeling angry, take a few deep breaths or go for a walk to help release some of that tension. Maybe you're frustrated about an audition you're struggling with or a coworker that just won’t cooperate. I’ve noticed that most of my anger usually comes from a lack of food or sleep, so these moments are definitely a good time to take a step back and re-evaluate a better approach to your problem.
If you're feeling lonely, having a support network of colleagues, friends, or family members can be invaluable in helping you navigate the ups and downs of the entertainment industry. This could include people you can turn to for advice, encouragement, or just a listening ear when things get tough. It’s also important to go out and do fun activities with friends to give your body the breaks it needs to be alert.
And if you're feeling tired, try to get some rest or take a break to recharge in a quiet place. A 15-20 minute nap can give the boost you need to get through the rest of the day, but any longer than that will put you into a deeper sleep cycle making you even more tired. It's best to keep a consistent sleep schedule and not stay up too late when you can help it. By practicing self-care and paying attention to our needs, we can better manage stress and avoid burnout.
In the fast-paced and demanding world of the entertainment industry, avoiding burnout is essential for maintaining a successful career. Prioritizing your tasks and using time management tools can help you stay on top of your schedule and avoid overcommitting yourself. However, unexpected challenges and disruptions can still arise, which is why it's important to practice self-care and pay attention to your physical and emotional needs.
I'll leave you with one last BONUS tip before I go. Effective communication is key in the entertainment industry, whether you're working with other performers, directors, or agents. Make sure you're clear about your availability, deadlines, and expectations, and be willing to speak up if you're feeling overwhelmed or need additional support. Once you have that down, you’ll be able to conquer any obstacle or conflict with a noticeable level of professionalism that sets you apart from all the other industry connections you’ll meet.
Daniel Ward is an actor, writer, and contestant finalist of Broadway Bound Live Season 2 and can be contacted on Twitter @wordsofward34 or Instagram @wardledorp