STRESS MANAGEMENT: 7 STEPS TO MANAGING STRESS AS A BUSINESS OWNER
Becoming an entrepreneur can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences you could ever have. Equally, it can also be one of the most stressful experiences you may ever experience.
Being an entrepreneur involves plenty of learning. Everything falls on your shoulders from planning your business and marketing needs, securing financing, day to day operations, customer service, taxes and regulations...to name a few!
But no one mentions stress management as one of the core areas that can play a huge role in the future success of your business. How we handle the periods of stress, and self-doubt is critically important to the long-term health of not only you but your business.
What is stress?
“Stress is the body's reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response” (Clevland Clinic, 2019). Stress does not only come from “negative” experiences but also from positive changes as well (buying a house, birth of a child, getting a promotion).
Even though stress is a part of everyday life, if we feel high levels of stress over a sustained period of time and feel overwhelmed or anxious, it will take a toll on our physical and mental health; not to mention our business.
What can you do to manage your stress?
Step 1: Identify the source of your stress
Let's face it, stress isn’t leaving your life anytime soon!
There will always be an aspect of stress in your life. The first step to managing your stress is identifying the source of your stress.
Is your stress caused by...
- Constant deadlines...
- Schedule overwhelm...
- Time constraints between work and family time...
Break down the problem that is causing the stress by writing down the themes you view as stressful on a weekly basis.
If you feel as if you can’t make any changes to your life and business to lessen stress, I guarantee if you take time to break down each stressor into smaller segments, you’ll be able to tackle the issue and find ways to better manage the situation.
Example: Let’s say dropping off or picking up your kids from school causes stress because it interferes with appointments for work. Try coordinating with friends and family to do carpools a few days a week. Having that time back to focus on your appointments will lessen your stress, get you home earlier and have you spending stress-free quality time with your family in the evenings.
Step 2: Delegate
It’s impossible to do it all and there is no need for you to do it all either.
Micromanaging every aspect of your business will leave you spread too thin and unable to effectively stay on top of things and meet deadlines.
Learning to delegate is essential to unburdening your stress and fostering your business. There are many small ways you can outsource work and take some of the strain off of yourself. Try utilizing a virtual assistant who can field questions, do calendar management, make follow-up appointments, respond to emails, and handle bookkeeping.
In order to effectively manage your business, it’s important to identify things that need your attention as well as other areas that can be outsourced so you have more time to provide exceptional service to your clients.
Create a profile on Upwork to find a Virtual Assistant who can work on small projects or be continual support for your business.
Step 3: Schedule weekly "Admin Time"
A great way to stay on top of your work while also lessening your stress is to schedule time during every week to only focus on follow up items and plan for your upcoming week.
As you are following up on outstanding issues that have been piling-up it lowers your workload. Knowing that you have that “scheduled time” each week will lessen your stress since you know you’ll be able to wrap up and get rid of all of those little things on your to-do list.
In addition, by planning your work week ahead of time, you are able to start a new week on a fresh and organized note without last-minute changes.
Step 4: Utilize technology
There is a multitude of different software that can help to simplify your life.
If your email inbox is an issue, begin taking advantage of email management tools such as Boomerang and Things. These resources can help you to schedule when you’ll respond or follow up on an email. Each email has an action item attached to it, therefore you know that you aren’t letting anything fall through the cracks. This ultimately limits your stress and makes you feel more in control.
Other software such as My Junna helps you to increase communication among the care team, assign tasks to yourself and other care team members as well as link appointments to your calendar (Outlook, Gmail, iCal, and yahoo) so you never miss a task or appointment. You can learn more and schedule a free demo here: https://myjunna.com/contact/#contactdemo
Learn to say “No”
Do you find that you sometimes say ‘yes’ when everything in your body is telling you to say no? We ignore these feelings and ultimately wind up in situations where we have over-committed ourselves, which provides more stress in our lives.
Not everything is an essential commitment and it’s okay to say no sometimes! Stop saying yes to the wrong things and you’ll immediately cut your workplace stresses by a huge amount. Then you’ll be able to use that extra time to finish your tasks early, rest, cook yourself a nice meal, or anything else that helps you to wind down.
Step 6: Connect with like-minded people
Being a business owner is hard! It can be helpful to know that others have been through the same thing, so you know you’re not alone. Recognizing that every stressful problem and overwhelming obstacle has likely been faced by others can help you put things into perspective.
Because of that, it’s important to connect with other business owners so you can feel like you’re not alone! Below are some organizations that have routine networking opportunities so you can connect with like-minded business owners that are encountering the same struggles you are!
Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO)
Another option is to find a mentor who has been in business long enough to have perspective on all of the little things and provide validation during your stressful periods of business as well as offer advice. Make sure to attend networking events so you’re able to connect with successful business owners that can offer this to you.
Step 7: Find balance
The seventh step of reducing your stress is finding balance. What works to achieve balance is different for everyone but it’s important to find what helps you remove yourself mentally from work.
When your brain is always consumed with work, it impacts how you feel when you and you're supposed to be enjoying time outside work, your interpersonal relationships as well as how you feel about your business since you feel constantly chained to your job.
Here are some positive ways that high-performing business owners find they are able to clear their mind to find a sense of balance.
Exercise: High-intensity cardio or even just taking a brisk stroll is a great way to release endorphins and will give you an instant pick-me up.
Research has found that exercise is an excellent outlet for any type of emotion; especially for stress (Viveros, J; Schramm, D. 2018). As you exercise more, you will be less likely to feel stress and irritation about work issues. So take a walk or join a zumba class-just make sure to pick a physical activities you enjoy, so you’ll stick with it!
Meditation: Any type of deep-breathing exercises are great ways to focus on the present and not on work issues, the future or anything else that may be weighing on you. Taking deep breaths provides a cleansing effect and provides us with a sense of letting go.
Let us know in the thread below how you’re planning on managing your stress!
Cleveland Clinic. (2019). Stress. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11874-stress
Vetter, A. (2018). Why Hiring a Virtual Assistant Is the Best Move Entrepreneurs Can Make. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/amy-vetter/why-hiring-a-virtual-assistant-is-best-move-entrepreneurs-can-make.html
Viveros, J; Schramm, D. (2018). Why Stress Management Strategies Work. Retrieved from:https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2923&context=extension_curall
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