How Actors Can Defeat Burnout and Stay Motivated

In this article I’d like to talk to you about combatting actor burnout.  There are some pretty terrific ways you can keep yourself motivated that I’d like to share with you.

There are times when we seem to get overwhelmed by all the things we wish to accomplish but sooner or later, if you’re not careful, you may burn yourself out.

Let’s jump right in.

Read Good Books

Feed your mind.  There is such an abundance of content out there in book form that you can take full advantage of each and every single day.  Read.  Learn.  Do.  If you’re not the reading type, than listen to audio versions of the books your interested in.  The point is to receive information and educate yourself consistently.  Keep striving to become the better you.  I’ve written about the importance of reading.  This increases your perspective in life and sharpens your level of intelligence.  Try reading magazines with good information and absorb it all.  Go to libraries and take out free books.  Don’t make up excuses that you don’t have time or you don’t like it.  Just get started and if you are already reading regularly, AWESOME, you already know what I’m talking about.

Visualize Your Goals

Seeing is believing and believing is seeing.  Imagine what it is you are after, what you want, what you aspire.  The more you see it, the closer you come to making it a reality with action, consistency and goals.  Work towards it and never stop seeing it in your mind’s eye.

You can even write down the thing you want most in your life and read it every fresh start of your day.  Keep it burning bright in your brain.

Jim Carrey wrote a check out to himself in the amount of 10 million dollars and he gave himself a time period to make that a reality.  He did.  Within 3 years he earned a 10 million dollar check from a movie he made.

Achieve Incrementally

Ever feel like you are running towards something but your feet aren’t moving?  I have and it’s no fun at all.  One of the things I’ve discovered that really helps you see the ground you cover is jotting down your progress.

This usually comes in handy with me when I am directing a play or a film in rehearsals. Things I automatically jot down in the script while working with the actors, when looked upon later, reveal to me what work was done in those rehearsals and the steps that are being taken.  As an actor, you can do the same thing when you’re in a rehearsal.

Let’s take it one step further.  What if you kept a planner or a journal for the business aspects of your acting career?  This may sound lame at first but it can actually come in handy when you feel static and find yourself in a rut.  Maybe you didn’t really get much done in the past week and you are feeling less motivated in general.  Look over your journal and see what’s changed.  Ask yourself, “What can I do this upcoming week to build my momentum back up?”

Keeping a planner is a good way to keep pace of yourself and increases your own self-awareness.  It’s good for tracking your personal progress and helps you keep consistent with what your goals are because you can actually see it and take your life’s actions into account.

Bite Less, Chew Less

Many times we want, want, want and go, go, go and still can’t get, get, get.  Reason being is because we are chew, chew, chewing too much!

Slow down.  Chill.  Breathe.  Think about removing some of the minor goals you have that just really shouldn’t be on your ultimate radar at the moment. Drop some baggage. We add our own anchors in life and chances are there are a few anchors you can cut loose.  Do that.  Focus on the essentials.  Penetrate the most important things first.  Get them done and then slowly but surely you can get those other pieces finished.

Remember, don’t try to do everything all at once.  Stanislavski actually made a good point.  He said, “When you eat a turkey, you don’t go and swallow it whole because you would choke.  Instead, you carve it up into pieces in order to eat the entire turkey.”  It’s a good analogy for life, isn’t it?  Divide and conquer at your own pace.

Ease Up On The Acceleration

Take breaks in between hard work.  It can be a break after studying for two hours straight and then going for a walk to get a coffee or it can be that you just wrapped on a feature and need to take a week off.  Go for it.

If you don’t take breaks in between hard work, it can all lead to actor burnout and then you will find yourself in your bed whispering for Mommy in the dark.  Joking but you get my point.  =)

Give yourself the right to match good relaxation against good hard work ethic.  You deserve it!



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Joseph Arnone

Joseph Arnone is the founding editor-in-chief of Monologue Blogger. In addition to running MB, Joseph is a filmmaker/producer who has had his films premiere at Festival de Cannes - Court Metrage and Tribeca Cinema's Big Apple Film Festival. He can be reached at