The small business owner (or free-lancer) is often the sole person responsible for time management, tasks, projects, deadlines, paperwork and what seems like five million other responsibilities that can have a tendency to pull you in every direction. Sometimes the struggles can seem overwhelming and usually the end result is stress.
Learning how to deal with stress is as important to your long-term business success as making a profit, however finding that work/life balance can be a challenge. Various studies show that over 65% of business owners feel like they are ‘constantly on the go’ and with more than half who said they no longer had enough time to spend with family and friends it would seem that learning how to create a good work/life balance can, not only, benefit your business but ultimately you.
The key to managing stress is keeping a good balance between work, home, social living and leisure time. So what can we do……
Hire a professional
Hring a professional stress management coach can be a worthwhile investment if you are feeling overwhelmed, a professional coach will assess your current situation, create a new structure with you and will guide you towards a more balanced way of living. Ultimately working alongside a coach will give you new tools to deal with your daily stress.
Set a schedule
Set your schedule as if you were going to a regular job, plan your day in the morning and make a list of the day’s tasks, be clear with yourself about your top priorities and focus on the most urgent. A useful tip is to do the tasks you like least first, once these are out of the way the day suddenly feels much lighter.
Don’t do it all yourself
Sometimes as small business owners all the tasks can fall on you to complete, sometimes the best method is to get help, hiring a part-time employee (if you can afford it) can remove a lot of day-to-day administration and time-consuming work. If you cannot afford an employee perhaps a family member or friend can (and often are) more than willing to help where they can.
Very often small business owners and free-lancers can find they spend many hours alone and in fact loneliness can also be very stressful. Maintain a good social support network with your friends, family and other business owners.
Take some time to learn a few relaxation exercises and do them. Meditation, yoga stretches or breathing exercises (for example) can help to reduce stress and restore some peace of mind by reducing anxiety and worry.
For many that run their own business this is an area that is often neglected due in part to a lack of time. However exercise is essential to deflecting the corrosive effects of too much stress and even getting up a little earlier in the morning and taking a brisk walk can have a wonderful ‘feel-good’ effect that will last throughout the day.
Junk food and eating over your computer are often fuel for stress. Take the time each day to leave your office and eat a proper lunch, (try to have vegetables, fruit and 8 glasses of fresh water each day) eating a balanced lunch with the company of friends or family will certainly have a more long lasting positive effect than cramming a soggy sandwich in your mouth over a computer. Remember the old saying ‘your health is your wealth’.
Get your ZZZZzzzs
Try to get a good night’s sleep, as small business owners its very common to find that you work late into the night and sometimes into the early morning and once the head finally hits the pillow the brain is still alert and processing information. Trying switching off your computer a few hours before your normal bedtime, change your mind by taking a walk in the fresh air or spending time with your family. Reduce caffeine, alcohol and very heavy evening meals as these can interrupt with a good night’s sleep. Sleep is very important to our physical and mental wellbeing and your body needs the restorative powers of sleep to rebuild its defenses for the next day.
With the right attitude to stress management we can accomplish anything. Robert Louis Stevenson once said ‘that man is successful who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has gained the respect of the intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had’.
What are your successful stress management tips as a small business owner?
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This post is part of the HP SugarTone contest: “Making your business amazing”, sponsored by Hewlett Packard