Any new business owner who is following their dreams is going to go periods where they’re stressed out. After all, setting up a new business takes a lot of hard work, and making it successful takes even more work. Unfortunately, many business owners have not learned the skills needed to manage their stress which can lead to burn out and not being productive enough. Below are some practical ways to keep stress under wraps no matter what may be happening in a business or personal life.
Make Other People Happy
Forbes has an excellent tip on how to manage small business stress: focus on other people. By focusing on other people and how you can help them, you’ll not only distract yourself from your problems, but you’ll feel better knowing you’re making a difference.
One of the most effective techniques for reducing your stress is to take the focus off yourself. When you start devoting time to helping others around you inevitably spend less time thinking about your own problems. There are several studies from the University of Pennsylvania linking happiness with service to others. It may seem strange to connect the two, but the truth is many people who are stressed in the corporate world are so partly because they are incessantly thinking about their own issues and situation, rather than others. We need to balance the two.
Learn How Other Business Owners Manage Their Stress
Another way to learn how to manage your stress is by speaking to other business owners or read an interview where they reveal how to keep their cool together (or at least that’s what they claim). Here’s one example of an entrepreneur who manages his stress. Find out what he revealed when he was asked a series of questions for an Inc. article:
Gesche Haas, Founder of Dreamers // Doers
How do you deal with a particularly stressful day?
Journaling has been the single most helpful thing for me. It's meditative, calming, and extremely effective for identifying how I should be spending my time. As a founder, we're so focused on building a business, that we forget ourselves; even though it is *us* who is the most important building block of our company.
The secret to succeeding as an entrepreneur is?
Persistence, and being honest with yourself on what's working, and what isn't working.
What's the most commonly held misconception about startups?
There is nothing “glamorous” about 99.9999% of startups; although press makes it seem so otherwise…
Did you have doubts about launching your product? If yes, how did you overcome it?
There was massive self-doubt involved with launching my product. For any ambitious person, you can't help but wonder if you are doing enough, if you're on the “right” track. I overcame my self-doubt by trying enough things that did not work. I could not be more firm or determined about the path I am on now, because I've been able to shed my ego along the way, and introduce healthy habits. I can now focus on building a business out of a place of excitement, not fear
What's your advice for aspiring startup founders?
Every aspiring startup founder should dig hard within themselves, to really get to know themselves. The #1 mistake I see early-stage founders make, is making decisions for the wrong reasons. In the end, all our lives are, all that our companies are, is the result of decisions we've made. By knowing your “why”, you will be a better, happier, more successful founder. It allows you to embark, and dominate, the path that is right for you.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s easy to become so burned out that you forget to take care of yourself, but as small business owners sometimes that’s easy to do. To prevent burn out Entrepreneur recommends taking the time to relax, exercise, and unwind. Otherwise, work will become a chore as opposed to something you love.
Good health is important when you’re an entrepreneur. Running a business takes a lot out of you. Your small business comes with long nights, early mornings, no weekends and no sick days. Your nonstop life puts strain on your body, and then you add stress on top of that.
You need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to do the simple things. Drink water throughout the day. Regularly eat. Get some sleep. Try to do some additional things, too. Go to a health food store and buy some natural supplements. Reduce your caffeine consumption. When you’re healthy, your body can better handle the stress.
If you can, regularly exercise. While exercise will make you physically fit, it is also a great method of small business stress management. Through exercise, you can release your anxieties and frustrations. You can clear your mind and relax. Even a small amount of exercise can reduce your stress.
Organize Your Environment
Is the environment in which you work unorganized, and you can’t seem to find anything? Forbes mentions that this may be one of the reasons you’re stressed out. If that is the case, take a half an hour or so and tidy up your workspace. It may help you clear your head and find things more easily.
The renowned personal development guru, Wayne Dwyer, says you can tell the state of a person's mind by the state of their car. I agree. if you're feeling overwhelmed one of the most effective strategies is to create order in your immediate environment – car, office, home. As you take charge of your surroundings your feelings of control will increase. And as the esteemed behavioral psychologist Martin Seligman has shown, there's a strong correlation between feelings of control and well being.
Keep Track of Your Time
Time can get away from you, and if you’re not careful, you can feel like you got absolutely nothing done by the end of the day. That’s why it’s important to keep track of your time and making a daily task list can help with that. Another thing that may help is writing down what you need to complete hour by hour. Leave time for breaks and lunch and see how much you can get accomplished by staying organized and more aware of your time. VeryWell Mind has more thoughts on this below:
Do you find yourself constantly rushing? Does your mind race with all that you have to do? And do you have trouble remembering it all? If so, you already know that living like this can be pretty stressful, don’t you? Getting organized with your time can make a huge impact on your life: Your to do list can all get done, and it can stop occupying your thoughts.
In getting your schedule organized, remember a few important things. First, don’t overbook yourself. Plan only as many activities as you have time for. Also, be aware of what you need to get done and when — in a way other than keeping it all in your head. (I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done for a cohesive time management plan.) Finally, schedule in some downtime. If you’re always running, running, running, you may be less efficient overall because you’re tired of all the running. Schedule in some downtime, and you can really focus the rest of the time.
Give Yourself Some Credit
Tech Crunch says that just because you haven't been mentioned on a fantastic website doesn’t mean you’re not doing everything possible to ensure your business is a success. Give yourself some credit when credit is due and don’t get burned out – sleep is essential as is your sanity.
Don’t assume because you’re not at every event or trending on TechCrunch you’re not working hard enough. Take the downtime and use it to come up for air; it will pay dividends for managing your head space and preventing burnout.
Technology seems to have endorsed the notion of failure as a right of passage. The reality of failure is a lot more complicated, and its impact can be devastating. Your ability to manage burnout will keep you and your budding startup in the game.
As with most things in life, if you’re feeling like you’re on the edge, the answer is usually in front of your nose. You’re not as busy as you think, and you’re not alone. Be smart, find time for yourself throughout the day and, most importantly, make time to sleep.
The only leverage you and everyone else has in the startup game is your ability to stay focused and manage dynamic situations. The people who do that best, succeed. Period.
It’s Okay to Say No
Learning to say no is important when running your own business because there are going to be times when you can’t fit something in or you’re feeling stressed out. Effectively manage your time and be okay with saying no to some tasks or people – it’ll help you get more done and stay dedicated to making your small business great!
When you’re a small business owner, it’s much easier to say “yes” than it is to say “no.”
You’re trying to help your business reach new heights. So whether it’s pleasing a customer, bringing more on, helping out your partners and employees, or picking up all the tasks that need to get done, it’s easy to say “yes” when it means you’re helping your business grow.
But if you pile too much on your plate, you’ll quickly get overwhelmed by everything you have to do. And if you can’t put enough focus into each new project, then your business will be worse off in the long run. On top of that, you’ll be more stressed if you’re not getting everything done to your standards. It’s an ongoing cycle.
If you can learn to say “no” to the things you don’t really need to do, both your stress levels and your business will be better off in the long run. By saying “no” more often, you’ll have more time and energy to execute on the things you said “yes” to.
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