Growth July 8, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,881 Reads share

Managing The Business Owner: Get Out Of The Office!

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When you can’t shut it off, it’s time to get away

Usually when I say this, someone reminds me that a business owner can’t go on vacation when the business  is at a crucial point with a product launch or some other delicate situation. But even when you are required to be close to the office, there are still moments when you can create some space to relax and refresh. It might be 15 minutes that you shut off your phone.It might be five minutes you take in a quiet spot in your workspace.

But more importantly, if you’re finding yourself fretting, feeling pressured or even overwhelmed, then how effective can you be as you try to absorb information, make decisions or communicate clearly?

And what is at stake is You

When all is said and done, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go ’round and ’round in your head. Other than making yourself  a little crazy, it also puts  a damper on your productivity. Stress is a remarkable experience. Sure, it can be a motivator. On the other  hand, when it’s not contained or eliminated, it can hijack your intelligence and ability to think clearly.

Do you want your most primitive part of your brain running your business?

When all is said and done, it comes down to neurobiology. When you’re stressed, the emotional center of your brain (the amygdala) takes over and reroutes away from the front of your brain (your prefrontal cortex). Normally, you can organize your behaviour, thoughts and actions with your prefrontal cortex. But when you’re stressed, you’re perceiving a threat and then it’s all about survival. Your ability to analyze and sort through priorities and choices are hindered. You might become irritable which also interferes with how you interact with others. For some people, it manifests as low mood or even depression. Not exactly a Leader of the Year kind of situation.

So, get out of the office

Small business owners wear a lot of hats and generally feel deeply responsible about the success of their business. But that doesn’t mean you let your business eat you alive!  Whether it’s 5 minutes or 2 weeks, allow yourself to shut off. It might feel strange at first, as in “shouldn’t I be doing something?” Here are some beginning steps:

  • Breathe 3-5 deep slow breaths can be very beneficial. And the best part, you can do this anywhere- in meetings, standing in line or at your desk
  • Be mindful When you’re doing a task, focus on that alone. If you find yourself “suddenly” looking at a social media site or your email, just return yourself to the task.
  • Know when to say when After you’ve read the same sentence 5 times in a row and you’re still don’t know what you’re reading, it’s time to call it a day. Leave your desk, your device or your task and do something else.
  • Schedule some down time It can be daily, weekly or a specially designated time (like a vacation) and consciously choose what level of being plugged into your office would both allow to you practice relaxing and refreshing yourself.

What effects of stress have you noticed on how small business owners lead their organizations?

What helps you re-focus when you’re tired and/or stressed?

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Elli St.George Godfrey

Elli St.George Godfrey

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