How to Avoid Burnout When You're a Busy PR Professional

Jan 10, 2022

Burnout can be a huge problem for any entrepreneur. But as a busy PR pro working for yourself, handling clients, pitching, and working to grow your agency, there’s SO much on your plate...which can seriously be a recipe for burnout. That’s why learning how to avoid burnout is absolutely essential. 

For every entrepreneur (and really, for everyone in general, too) mental health should be a priority. Taking a step back and learning how to avoid burnout will set you up to be happier, healthier, and more successful. 

Wait, What Is Burnout? 

Burnout happens when we experience a ton of stress over a long period of time. When we’re stressed, burnout shows up and impacts us emotionally, mentally, and even physically. 

There are lots of ways that you can know that you’re starting to be burnt out. To start with, you’ll feel physically and mentally exhausted, and be irritable or upset. It’ll be hard to accomplish things, and you might find yourself staring at the screen or procrastinating. 

Also, many people with burnout experience a sense of dread and increased feelings of Imposter Syndrome

If you find your mind brimming with thoughts like “I can’t handle this” and everything starts to feel like it’s just too much, you’re most likely reaching a state of burnout. 

Learning how to avoid burnout will help you stay calm, cool, and collected. But more importantly, you’ll get to enjoy what you’re doing…and after all, isn’t that a huge reason why we get into PR in the first place? 

How To Avoid Burnout With 5 Simple Strategies

Ready to learn how to avoid burnout? 

These five strategies are simple but powerful in helping you curb the overwhelm and stress that leads to burnout. Let’s dive in! 

#1: Fill Each Day With Joy

One of the best ways to keep yourself from reaching burnout is to LOVE what you do. If you look forward to working every day, even as stressful situations arise, you’ll be able to find joy each day (in the clients you work with, the work you’re doing, etc)

And to make that happen, you have to niche down and ONLY work with clients that light you up. 

This is something that we really focus on inside The Agency Accelerator. To avoid burnout, you should build a business that serves you by niching down and getting strategic in who (and how) you serve.

#2: Build A Schedule That Serves You. 

Speaking of your day-to-day work life, you’re going to want to set up a schedule that actually works for you. After all, one of the BEST parts of being a PR pro is working for yourself and setting your own hours. For example, I (almost) never work on Fridays so that I have time to pursue passion projects and de-stress. 

You should structure your days in the way that YOU work best. 

Are you the most energized in the morning? Do your most creative work then and save emails for the afternoon. 

Do you want to make dinner and spend time with your kids each night? Make sure you have a clear boundary for when you’re “on” and “off” at work. 

Speaking of that, one of the biggest factors that lead to burnout is feeling extreme pressure from demanding clients. If you want to focus on how to avoid burnout, it’s time to communicate and set some boundaries. Make sure your clients know right from the start of working with you when you’re available, and what they can expect from you in terms of communication!

#3: Hire A Team To Help You Grow 

As you think about your PR journey, consider what your life would look like if you could outsource your work and delegate to a qualified team. 

Remember, your hours as the “CEO” in your business are so valuable...and paying someone to handle day-to-day tasks like email, marketing, pitching, social media, accounting, etc can really help ease your burden. 

Hiring a team might sound scary. But really, it’s the best way to prevent burnout...AND the best way to scale to new heights in your business. 

Inside The Agency Accelerator, we cover tons, from finding team members and the legal and financial concerns involved to onboarding and offboarding team members and everything in between. 

#4: Don’t Be Afraid To Take Breaks, Vacations, and Time Off

I know that when you’re working for yourself, the thought of time away is really overwhelming. 

And if you’re working with clients on a retainer basis, you might feel like you need to deliver those services constantly in order to keep your clients happy. 

But the reality is that you NEED time away from your business. That’s an essential part of learning how to avoid burnout!

If you hire a team, you’ll be able to take time away with no problem. 

You can take strategic steps to make taking time off less stressful. You’ll need to plan ahead and clearly communicate with your clients (and team) about what’s happening and when. 

But really, this starts with vetting your clients. You should ONLY work with clients who understand that PR is a big-picture, long-term strategy. That way, they’ll respect you and your boundaries…and they’ll even WANT you to know how to avoid burnout by taking time off. 

Related: How to Be More Selective and Start Saying No to Clients

Set Boundaries and Learn To Say No

We just touched on the idea of boundaries. But when you’re learning how to avoid burnout, boundaries (and not just for time off) are a HUGE piece of the puzzle. 

One thing that leads to burnout for PR pros, in particular, is feeling like you need to be “on” all the time—checking and answering emails as soon as they come in, even at night and on the weekend. Remember: 99% of the time, these emails aren’t actually emergencies.

In order to avoid burnout and be amazing at delivering stellar PR services for your clients, you need rest...and that means you need boundaries! 

Set boundaries like: 

  • When you’ll stop working each day (including checking/answering emails)
  • Not working on the weekends except for emergencies
  • Not working while on vacation or OOO

These boundaries are normal, necessary, and healthy! You just need to make sure that you communicate those boundaries with team members and clients. 

Especially if you haven’t niched down, another huge cause of burnout is saying “yes” to every single client, opportunity, or project that arises...even if it’s something you hate. 

There are lots of reasons why you should be selective about the work you do. But especially to avoid burnout, you need to be strategic and focus on work that you love with clients who value you. 

If there’s one thing you should take from the “boundaries” section of how to avoid burnout it’s this: remember—no is a complete sentence. 

Learning how to avoid burnout is one of the most important foundational steps you should take as a PR pro. Without actively striving to make your life less stressful, you’re going to become burnt out. And as an entrepreneur, that’s something you’ll really want to avoid. 

These five strategies are simple to implement, but make a huge difference in preventing that dreaded burnout.