Stress is a reality for everyone – but as a small business owner, you probably deal with your fair share amount of stress every single day.
Whether you are trying to find new customers, managing your current ones, financing your business, trying to keep your employees happy or paying your small business taxes – the list of daily stressors you incur may go on and on.
However, as the business owner and essential lifeblood of your business, your only option is to bottle up your stress and carry on, right?
Most entrepreneurs and business owners have a difficult time stepping away from their daily tasks and keeping their mind off of business. Taking time to clear your mind of the day-to-day concerns of running a business is just as important as being plugged into your business.
To help you prioritize your time and stay sane while running your business, we’ve put together some of the best ways for entrepreneurs to de-stress.
Recognize Stressors and Don’t Try to “Tough It Out”
There are probably things you deal with – whether daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly – that always stress you out. Maybe it’s an annual meeting, daily tasks or when you have to pay bills each month.
If you know that a particular task, meeting or time of the month stressed you out, you will be better prepared to deal with it when it comes along.
When these stressors do come your way, don’t merely try to tough them out and move on. Stress can have a direct impact on your mindset and of course, your health. If you let stress build up without taking the critical steps to de-stress, your well-being could face a severe decline. As the primary caretaker of your small business, you need to keep your mental and physical health in tip-top shape.
When those stressful times come around, here are a few ways to help you clear your mind and not get overwhelmed.
1. Take Control of Your Schedule
There are plenty of reasons you quit your 9 to 5 job and decided to fulfill your dreams of becoming a business owner.
One of them is to take back control of your workday and not adhere to a set schedule of working hours. Unfortunately, when you are just starting your own business, it is easy to lose control of your schedule quick.
Try to keep in mind that you are your boss now and don’t have to adhere to a schedule you haven’t created. If there is something about your schedule that you dislike or stresses you out every day, then just change it! Perhaps you leave work every night at 7:00 pm completely overwhelmed, but know you’d be much happier if you left at 5:00 pm to get home and de-stress, then make that a priority when creating your schedule.
If you have clients, partners, or employees that are always filling up your schedule during the most productive part of the day, then specify blocks of time on your schedule that is off-limits to everyone. It might be time to invest in scheduling software, so your team knows that certain times of the day you are not to be disturbed at any cost.
You may find that the way your day is structured is the primary stressor, so take your schedule back into your hands. Use scheduling software to build your days around time when you’re most ready and willing to work – and block off time that you don’t want to be disturbed.
2. Be Okay with Saying No
When you are a small business owner, you will often find yourself saying “yes” more often than “no.” You are trying to build a business, so you probably usually take on extra tasks and responsibility to ensure the success of your company. Whether you’re trying to make a customer happy, helping out your employees or partners or taking on all daily tasks that need to be done, it’s easy to say “yes” if you feel like you’re helping your business grow.
The problem is, if you’re taking on too much, you will quickly get overwhelmed and stressed by everything you have to do. If you can’t put the proper amount of focus into a task or project, though, then your business will suffer in the long run. Additionally, you will be far more stressed out if you’re not getting everything done to your standards. The cycle goes on and on.
If you become okay with saying “no” to the things you don’t need to do, both your business and your stress levels will be far better off in the long run. By saying “no” more often, you will have extra time and energy to focus on the essential tasks that you answered “yes” to.
3. Get Comfortable Delegating Tasks
Another great way to de-stress and take things off your plate is to learn how to delegate. It’s not reasonable to think you can say “no” to everyone all the time. Things need to be completed for your business to run smoothly and continue to grow. That doesn’t mean every single task or project needs to be done by you, though!
Rather than overwhelming yourself with projects and tasks, hand some of them over to your employees. Your energy levels and mindset will be much better off – both in the short and long term.
As a small business owner, your company is like your child. You’ve grown it from the ground up, probably doing everything possible by yourself. While it may be hard to hand projects and tasks off to other people, you have competent employees, so put your trust in them to do the jobs well. If you’d still prefer to go it alone, consider outsourcing some of the more straightforward tasks that other people can do for you and using scheduling software to ensure everything stays on track.
4. Prioritize Self-care
This is probably one of the most cliché de-stressing techniques, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t crucial – especially for small business owners.
Any non-work related activity that helps you clear your mind and removes stress, prioritize it! This time of your day or week should be considered just as important as the time you spend running your business.
Self-care can consist of a lot of different things. Maybe you take 20 minutes a day to meditate. Meditating once a day has several proven benefits and could be a great way to clear your mind and de-stress. Perhaps you prefer exercising to de-stress – use scheduling software to set aside time each day to release some endorphins!
Initially, it might be hard to set aside portions of your day to leave the office and focus on self-care. But as you continue to prioritize yourself, you will find that it becomes easier and you will be much more focused and productive when you are working.
5. Improve Your Diet
Take care of yourself, whether physically or mentally, is one of the best ways to balance your stress levels.
While you may not realize it, staying healthy has a significant impact on your energy levels as well as your mental state. Try your best to maintain a healthy diet by drinking lots of water, getting plenty of sleep, and getting active daily.
It’s an easy-to-do de-stressing step. You’ll quickly find that when you’re in good physical and mental shape, you are much better prepared to deal with stress when it pops up.
6. Structure Your Days
Running your own small business is chaotic and stressful. As the business owner, you take on a lot of tasks and projects that will guarantee the success and future of your business. Unfortunately, the future isn’t always predictable.
Where and when possible, try to put some order and systems in place. This could be investing in scheduling software for you and your employees or adding in new policies to help guide specific processes. Whatever tasks or projects you find to be stressful, come up with a method to make them as smooth and seamless as possible.
With structure attached to each project and task, you won’t have to worry about reinventing the wheel every moment you move your small business forward. Many people thrive in systems and benefit significantly from the organization, so adding structure to your business can help to remove unnecessary clutter and stress from your mind.
Additionally, by adding structure to your processes, you will find it is much easier to delegate tasks to your employees and monitor progress. If it’s easier to keep a tab on the tasks and projects going on in your business, whether through more structure or scheduling software,, you will be yourself a great deal of time and headache.
7. Don’t Forget to Unplug!
As a small business owner, you’re probably always hearing about the mythical work-life balance concept. But is it achievable when you’re a busy entrepreneur?
Well, the good news is that it is achievable and should be prioritized. A lot of entrepreneurs treat their small business as if it’s their entire life, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
When you are at work, then be fully present at work. When you are home, though, be fully present at home. You may struggle to keep from checking your email every few minutes, but it’s vital to do so to maintain your mindset. Take care of emails and phone calls first thing in the morning when you’re back in the office.
By unplugging from work while you’re out of the office or at home, you will find that your stress just melts away.
Being a small business owner can be overwhelming, but the stress that comes along with the job can be quickly dealt with if you identify your main stressors and actively combat them.
When your stress builds up, you will feel like the whole weight of the world is on your shoulders – or at least the weight of your business! By acknowledging and attending to your stress levels, things will get better, and your business will continue to move forward. It’s all about keeping a perspective on things and maintaining a positive mindset.