As business people, we all have times of stress, don’t we? Much of it is workplace stress. I certainly had my share in forty years plus. And I’m sure as many of us are on the lookout for successful ways to reduce all forms of stress. No doubt in my mind.
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The idea being that negative experiences can toughen people, making them better able to manage subsequent difficulties.
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But surely he knew that every entrepreneurial superhero is still mortal? So, even when we feel like we’re capable of doing it all, stress and worry can take its toll on our health and performance.
Some small business owners seem as though they’re always walking on the sunshine, while others are frantically pulling their hair out.
The truth remains: every entrepreneur is faced with challenges in workplace stress. So, how can we prevent, reduce and overcome them?
While life may give you 99 problems, your business shouldn’t be one of them. Not in my mind anyway.
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Here are some interesting ways to run your business with more ease, reduced stress, and enjoying a more productive routine.
Have fun things around your office
Chances are you may be stuck to your desk. Especially if you’re in a home office, it can be lonely, dreary, etc. I love having fun things around like great snacks, my dog, Nerf guns, holiday decorations, and even candles for stressful days.
It’s all about making your space comfy and relaxing for you. Stop to have fun breaks. I stop every hour or so to play with the dog, throw darts, stretch, etc.
It’s all about making your space comfy and relaxing for you. Stop to have fun breaks. I stop every hour or so to play with the dog, throw darts, stretch, etc. Stop and do some basic exercises so your back and legs don’t get as damaged as when being sat down for hours is beneficial. Also, meditation and relaxation exercises are recommended at the workplace. You might enjoy this meditation guide.
Workplace stress … go for a run
Two years ago, I started running to help eliminate stress. It didn’t take long for my neck pain and headaches to virtually disappear.
Running does something to reset you mentally, and it improves your creativity and outlook with very little effort. I now build a 3k run into my schedule two or three times per week.
Change your environment
On stressful days, I like to get out of the work environment and take a short walk outside. I’ll try to appreciate the beauty around me, such as the flowers or nice architectural design. Then to calm down and get rid of the stress at the end of a busy day, I’ll take a long hot shower then meditate before bed.
When I have more time, I like to get together with friends to laugh and socialize.
Think something positive about your day
I tell my wife a positive aspect to my day instead of just jumping into the negative. It helps change the mood of the evening. I also leave my cell phone at home when I go out to dinner with family and friends. There is nothing worse than getting a bad client email on Friday evening while you’re trying to unwind.
Use online productivity tools
I use Apps to help me focus, get organized, and keep track of where I am devoting my time. It’s too easy to get scattered among the many things that I have to do as a small business owner: emails, calls, running social media, marketing, etc.
When I can objectively measure and analyze the amount of time I am spending on each project, I can better assess the return on investment for that time.
Make a to-do list
Some people may think to-do lists will add stress because it reminds them of all of the work they have to do. But for me, when I take 30 minutes to plan out a detailed to-do list for the week on a Sunday evening it shows me that I can accomplish it all.
It helps to reassure me that there is no reason to be overwhelmed. Sometimes putting it all on the table makes tasks more achievable and less daunting.
Take five minutes to go outside, appreciate the outdoors, nice weather, and breathe in some fresh air. You can feel the stress disappear. Then go back to your desk and take a new approach to your stressful situation with a more positive outlook.
Set expectations up front
Always set realistic expectations for customers at the very start. This will save you a lot of anxiety and worry in the long run. It is better to “over-communicate.” But when I get super stressed you will find me practicing yoga or at the dog park — both activities put me at ease instantly.
Focus on emotional wellness
Go on a ‘genius date!’ An example of a genius date is visiting an art exhibit, taking a dance class or attending a lecture and connecting with a genius outside of your industry.
I go on weekly Kizomba dancing genius dates because they help me connect with my genius and inspire new ideas for my business while reducing stress.
You always have to have a plan B and C, because if things go wrong clients and customers won’t want to hear excuses. They just want results!
This alleviates stress because if you hit a bump in the road, you know there’s back-up to ensure everything runs smoothly.
Stay on track with virtual notes
I eliminate stress in my day with a combination of Evernote and a whiteboard on my wall where I keep a list of goals.
As the owner of a small business management firm, it is extremely stressful when we lose paperwork we need to stay compliant.
To eliminate that stress, we’ve organized our paperwork by making digital copies and then storing them online on various applications, like Dropbox. This way, all our information can be easily accessible and never get lost.
Develop a regular game plan
Game plan your calendar weekly. Block out time every Monday to sit and reflect on your own and compile your list of action items that you want to accomplish in the week ahead. T
Then keep your focus centered on completing those tasks and not letting your business take you on its ride.
Get plenty of exercise and rest
Someone suggested this to me, which seemed crazy to me at the time. Who wants to think about exercise when they are already exhausted and stressed out?
However this year I’ve made it a priority to exercise at least 2-3 times a week and not only am I healthier, but I’ve also noticed a huge change in my attitude as well. There’s something to be said about endorphins.
Stop the email insanity
One of the biggest things that stress me out is a constantly growing email inbox. I find that it’s easy for me to spend hours on email, only to find that, 1) I’ve made little progress, and 2) I could have spent the time on the bigger (and more important) projects.
By turning off my phone and signing out of my email, I’m able to work productively and with a lower blood pressure.
Will you work hard, stay up late, wake up early, and push yourself mentally and physically if you are passionate about your business? Yes, of course, you will.
Therefore, make sure that personal time is a part of your schedule. Make appointments with yourself and keep them.
Exercise, meditation, family time, even (healthy) eating can and should be on your calendar as an appointment, just like everything else that is important in your day.
Collaborate with your team
Whenever one of us is at a boiling point and feels extremely stressed, our founding team members get together, and we talk through it.
We all have individual tasks and responsibilities to stress over, but we’ve found that continually keeping each other in the loop and talking about them seems to have a very positive calming effect and brings in a natural reality check.
Put the situation into perspective
Before reacting, I try to think about where the other person is coming from and how I can help alleviate their stress. Seeing the situation as an opportunity to serve someone instead of as a fire to put out will drastically change the dynamics, lower stress levels and in most cases result in a positive outcome for both parties.
Hire good employees
Even though good employees are sometimes few and far between, good ones are worth every penny of their salary. With my employees, I’m able to delegate and trust that they will go above and beyond the call of duty.
My project manager is my secret weapon to combat stress as she keeps tabs on all ongoing projects and tasks so that I can focus on other things.
The bottom line
These are things that we already know, of course. They are not rocket science and shouldn’t be.
This list of little things simply reminds us of what we have forgotten. Then it is up to us to put these lessons (or reminders) into daily use through persistence and practice.
That will lead to a happier and less stressful life.
How do you prevent, reduce and overcome stress in business? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he writes about topics to help improve the performance of small business. Find him on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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