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What is Podfade and how to Overcome Podcasting Burnout

Nick Short
Podcast Producer
Updated in:
April 2024
minute read
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Action Points:
Step back and assess any signs of burnout.
Adopt strategies for minimising the risk of recurring burnout
Reflect on your podcast and reconnect with your original motivations
View this experience as a chance for personal growth and resilience building, rather than simply a setback as opportunities arise from challenges.

Understanding Podcasting Burnout

If you have a podcast of your own, you know the work that goes into making sure each episode shines. You’re coming up with ideas, finding guests, researching new and interesting topics to cover and editing everything into a neat package for your audience, and for all of us there can come a time when you feel like you’re running on empty, or maybe that your creative juices have all but dried up.

Maybe this has appeared out of the blue, but often this creeping feeling has been building for some time.

Perhaps you’ve been working on the next episode right up to the deadline, tried to get a hold of just one more guest, or you’re figuring out the best way to round out this season just before the recording session. Doing it once in a while is fine, but we all know how easy it can be to fall behind and start to pick up some bad habits that occur a little too often. You start to get that feeling that maybe you’re pushing yourself a little too hard, but just can’t seem to hit the brakes.

That’s the beginnings of burnout. But you managed to reach your goal and the episode seemed to be well received so you encourage yourself to keep pushing and that’s when the burnout begins to really take hold. Maybe you start feeling a lack of motivation, constant fatigue or feeling that you’re stuck in a creative rut.

Burnout doesn’t just happen out of nowhere, so take a moment and consider what could be causing these feelings. Are you setting unrealistic expectations? Overcommitting yourself to a release schedule that you’re struggling to keep up with? Or trying to keep everything going all by yourself? Once you pinpoint the culprits, you can start to tackle them head-on.

So if you are starting to feel the threat of burnout looming over you, continue reading for some tips and tricks that will help you bounce back stronger than ever.

Podfade: How Burnout Can Affect Your Podcast

Burnout can be defined as “a psychological syndrome that involves a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors”. The three key aspects of burnout being exhaustion, feelings of detachment, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. While this definition was originally used to define burnout within a job, given that podcasting is a regular and significant time commitment, even for those who podcast as a hobby, this definition is still relevant.

Podcasting burnout can be a common experience among podcasters, especially those who manage their own shows. As motivation continues to fall and the added stressors of burnout continue to rise, if left unaddressed, this can lead to "podfade", where a podcast gradually reduces its output over time before eventually stopping altogether.

For a budding podcaster experiencing burnout, podfade can feel inevitable, even if it occurs unintentionally, particularly if you are feeling overwhelmed and out of ideas, maybe you want to skip a week or two, take a mini-break from the podcast and unless you continue to take steps to overcome the burnout, before you know it, you’re six months down the line without any new episodes.

The problem with burnout, is that we fall into the trap of thinking it will go away on its own and unfortunately this just isn’t the case. So people will continue with the habits that they have built up over some time and as the feelings of burnout begin to grow, so too do the effects.

However, the good news is that burnout is reversible and there are strategies to prevent and overcome it.

Strategies for Preventing Burnout

So you’ve hit that burnout roadblock and you’ve identified the issue, but now what? Here are some strategies for preventing burnout.

Communication and Support

When facing burnout, reaching out to someone, whether it's within the podcasting community or a friend or family member, can be immensely beneficial. Communication is key and sharing your struggles and seeking support not only alleviates feelings of isolation but also provides perspective and encouragement. Remember, you're not alone in this journey and sometimes just knowing that can make all the difference.

Practice Self Care

Make sure that you are also taking the time to practice self-care, as that can be one of the best ways to help you overcome burnout and prevent podfade. The importance of prioritising your mental and physical health when overcoming burnout cannot be understated when trying to sustain long-term podcast success and while self care can occur in numerous forms, so here are just some ways you can practice self care.

Establish Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy working boundaries in your podcasting routine, including defined working hours and scheduled breaks, is crucial. By allowing yourself designated time for podcasting as well as personal activities, you create a balance that promotes mental and physical well-being.

Engage in Recharging Activities

Make time for activities that rejuvenate you and shift your focus away from podcasting. Whether it's mindfulness exercises, going outside for walks, or pursuing hobbies, prioritise activities that recharge your energy and provides a mental break from podcasting responsibilities.

Reassess Your Goals

Consider re-defining what success means for you and your podcast. By setting realistic goals, you can better manage yourself and your expectations, leading to greater satisfaction in your podcast’s creative output and performance.

Try to look at the expectations and goals you currently have for the podcast, along with current stressors, to reconsider and redefine your goals so that they align with your wellbeing.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed by the frequency of episodes or working long hours, well into the night whenever the latest episode needs to release, it might be worth considering a reduced output of episodes, to give you a greater lead time for their release. Alternatively, you could consider releasing the podcast in seasons, with a break between release blocks. By introducing a break between seasons, you give yourself time to record and edit episodes ahead of release, to minimise the pressure that comes with trying to keep on top of your release schedule.

Prioritise Your Mental Health

Lastly and most importantly, don’t be afraid to step back and reassess your priorities as and when you need to. Your mental health is worth more than any podcast episode and your audience will understand and support your decision. If you need to take time for yourself, your podcast and your audience will be waiting when you come back.

Rediscover the Joy of Podcasting

Once you have taken the time to navigate your own feelings of burnout and made the appropriate changes to help prevent future recurrences, now its time to reignite that spark of passion for podcasting that burnout has dwindled.

You will have fallen in love with podcasting for a reason, take a moment and think about what that is? Once you have identified it, take time to consider if that still draws you to podcasting and if it does then you can continue working with that passion.

However if it no longer does, that’s ok too, consider other aspects that you may enjoy. Maybe there is another genre or topic you want to explore, perhaps you want to try a new format, or you might think about collaborating with other podcasters. Working with others could give you new perspectives and share the workload, making the process more manageable and enjoyable. You could also consider engaging your audience for ideas, which can help you feel more connected with them and reignite your enthusiasm.

Freshening up the content can breathe new life into your podcast and can get those creative cogs turning again. Reflect on the positive impact your podcast has had thus far and reconnect with your original motivations, or continue to evolve and develop them. They can serve as a reminder of why you started this journey and give you the strength to continue your podcast however you wish to.

Embracing Resilience and Growth

When it comes to facing podcasting burnout, be kind to yourself above all else. Recognise the signs, take necessary actions and remember it's okay to take a break and reassess when needed. Resilience requires self-care and balance, so prioritise your mental and physical health. Your podcast and importantly, your passion, can always be reignited and it's okay for the podcast to change and grow as you do.

Remember you're not alone in this journey, there's a whole community of podcasters who have experienced and overcome burnout, and while it is a challenge that many face, it presents an opportunity for growth. By acknowledging your feelings, setting realistic goals and practising self-care, you can navigate through this challenging time and emerge stronger.

Ready to get started?

Schedule a 30-minute call with Matt, our Founder, to discuss your needs and hear more about our services.

Ready to get started?

Schedule a 30-minute call with Matt, our Founder, to discuss your needs and hear more about our services.

Ready to get started?

Schedule a 30-minute call with Matt, our Founder, to discuss your needs and hear more about our services.

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