Running a business is not easy, and trying to manage stress is sometimes a part of the job.
Between all the meetings with clients and the budget trickling down, it can quickly feel like the whole world is against you. If this sounds familiar, remember you are not alone.
If you are a busy entrepreneur who struggles to manage stress — you know who you are — we have some tips for how to deal with business stress to ensure you are operating at your best.
Set Yourself Goals
It is necessary to have something you can look forward to focusing your energy on and maintain a clear perspective. That is why goal setting is as essential for your mental health as it is for your business.
Setting the right goals, having a step by step plan to reach those goals, and following through will help you feel a greater sense of fulfilment while reducing stress levels.
However, if your goals are unrealistically high or too low, and if you don’t have a workable plan in place, they can create an atmosphere of negative emotions and excessive stress when you don’t achieve the goals you have set.
It is useful to break down your goals to annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily to manage them better, and not get overwhelmed.
Another tip is to make sure your goals are inline with your vision for your business and its purpose.
These are usually very clear as you start a business but unfortunately are often sidelined due to the many challenges we face as business owners.
If you need help in this area, feel free to reach out to a professional advisor who can help you take stock and determine what you should be focusing on to reach your dream goals.
Make a To-Do List
Creating a to-do list can help keep you on track and motivate you throughout the day, week, or month. Plus, everyone feels good crossing things off a list.
Here’s a few points to make your list more effective.
- Write a daily list and assign priority from most important to least — in the process determining other tasks that should perhaps be delegated. This priority list should be based on your goals.
- Give each task an appropriate time limit – not too fast or slow. You can apply the 80/20 rule here: 80% of your productivity will come from the 20% of tasks that are priority.
- Tick them off as you accomplish each task – the sense of achievement as you do so will motivate you throughout the day.
- Do one task at a time – multitasking can be overwhelming. It’s best to concentrate on the task at hand, and take the time required to complete it.
Delegate The Workload
Running a business is stressful, no arguments there! Even a small one is typically beyond the limits of one person. Ensure you avoid taking on more than you can handle.
Working smart by using the right expertise and utilising new disruptive technologies to help achieve rapid results affordably.
In the area of winning new customers and growing your business by intelligent marketing online, it is often of little value for you to struggle alone.
Bring on hired help to assist you in satisfying the numerous requirements of your business that are giving you stress such as website improvements and social media.
A quick and easy way to start this process is to compose a list of all the tasks you do in a day and select the ones you wish to delegate.
Make sure the people you delegate the tasks to have the capability to do that job to the required standards. If not, You and the other person will both be stressed by the situation.
Maintain Good Eating Habits
When you are working as hard as you are, you need all the fuel you can get. Running on an empty stomach is never fun. Don’t skip meals because you’re too busy.
When you’re hungry, eat and if you’re especially peckish, take the time out of your schedule for a good meal (You’ve earned it).
Make sure you’re getting enough nutrition daily to stay healthy, while getting the balance right between quantity and calories. Speak to a nutritionist or read up on healthy eating for advice.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Pulling an all-nighter might feel like it’s synonymous with being a successful entrepreneur, but in reality, not getting enough rest will cause you more harm than good.
The resulting stress and fatigue will hinder you from performing at your best.
Getting enough sleep is just as important as the other tasks on your to-do list. Sleep functions as a sort of laundry cycle for the brain. During sleep, the brain flushes out metabolic buildup, neurotoxins, and distribute components that enhance cellular repair.
For our brains to function to its optimum capacity, a minimum number of hours of sleep are essential.
Studies have shown that seven to nine hours of sleep is ideal for adults between 18 and 64 years old. Find out what’s right for you and stick to it. Your sleep is something you must not compromise on.
Move Your Body
Exercising for as little as 20-minutes daily has been proven to reduce stress and release dopamine into your nervous system.
This natural chemical plays a role in several body functions, including movement, memory and motivation. Exercising keeps your body healthy, helps fight illness, and elevates your mood and energy.
Additionally, if you find yourself seated for several hours daily in front of your laptop, take 5-minutes out of your schedule to stand up and take a deep stretch to loosen muscles, relieve aches and boost your energy.
Finding opportunities for some quiet time at the end of each day and if possible at the start of your day, is vital for every entrepreneur in handling the many challenges each day brings.
It may feel impossible at first, but try starting with 10-minutes of meditation. This practice can help ease your racing thoughts, reduce anxiety, and help prepare for deep sleep.
Once you’re comfortable with meditation, try extending the practice by 5 minutes until you work your way to an hour.
Meditation and prayer can help with building better health, relationships, and can be a useful exercise for goal achievement, whatever that goal may be.
It’s vital to seek more knowledge on this topic as there are several different forms of meditation so it’s best to find the one that works for your lifestyle.
Balance Work and Play
You can’t work all the time so stop pushing yourself so hard. If you put in too many hours, you will inevitably burn out, leaving yourself exhausted and unhealthy. Relax and give yourself time to breathe.
If you can, limit yourself to working exclusively during office hours. Taking a step back to recharge your batteries will ensure you are in a positive frame of mind to maintain a healthy work lifestyle.
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Don’t Expect Overnight Success
The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” can apply to any business.
You might have years of experience in your industry but just because you open a business, doesn’t mean you will see immediate results.
As frustrating as it is, it takes time for people to know who you are, and to trust and recognise your brand.
When you find things going wrong or fail to achieve positive results, instead of stressing over it, think of it as a learning curve to see what went wrong and what can be improved?
Going back to the values of your business can always help to resolve problems.
In the case of netStripes, whenever we have an issue within the business, we turn to our values for a resolution.
Eg. One of our values is ‘Customer Success’ so if there’s an issue with a client, we will look at it from their perspective, and decide how to handle it.
What were the issues? Was it a genuine mistake by somebody? How do you avoid it, and what’s the learning there?
As a result, the worst thing that could happen is you realise you need to improve the process.
The next steps would be to calmly discuss the issues with the client, and offer the right resolution, then improve the process so it doesn’t happen again.
That being said, if areas of the business are not seeing any positive results after a substantial period, it’s worth further looking into. Get the help of a business advisor to identify any issues that might slow or halt a business’s growth.
By adopting some of these techniques, you will feel a greater sense of being grounded, a calmer mentality, and boosted confidence.
This, in turn, will help you cope with managing stress at work, and make it much more enjoyable. Not a bad side effect of taking ownership of your mindset!