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  • Curtis Mackenzie

Stress Management For Business Owners

Updated: Nov 13, 2019

Finally have your own business, a dream come true, so why can't you enjoy it? and why cant you even sleep properly !!? Lack of sales, worries about cash flow, issues with employees, problems with equipment and operations. Your brain will constantly be going, all your problems and concerns spinning around, making you tired and anxious. Owning a business is stressful, and you can't escape the mental stress from arising, but here are some ideas on how to better manage and maintain some balance in your life. Doing so effectively is critical to the sustainability of your business long term.

Write out your problems and take them one at a time.

As you’re building your business, it is easy to only focus on the things that are going wrong. You can become stressed when you’re looking at all the things that are behind schedule and need to be completed as soon as possible. A simple fix to reduce the stress associated with these responsibilities is to simply write the problems down. Stress comes from feeling out of control and writing everything out can re-establish that sense of control and replace that feeling with a clear action plan. It allows the problems to be seen in an organized "to do" list, and lets your brain to relax. Get some sleep, and tackle the list the following morning one item at a time in a determined but balanced way.

Prioritize your tasks into "A, B, C, D and E" tasks

A next level to the idea of writing tasks down is to organize them according to "priority and urgency". Another aspect of stress in business is having so many things to work on that none of the important ones get done. You do the unimportant ones because they're easy, less stressful, or something you enjoy doing, and you never get to those that are difficult, high priority and urgent. Having urgent tasks not getting done is a huge cause of stress, they hang over you. To solve this you need to prioritize your goals. Write down everything that you need to complete then, rank your tasks from highest priority to least (A, B, C, D, E). The things you need to do first should be at the top of your list. As you work, focus on the most important tasks. Once you finish those, you can move progressively down the list. You’re essentially creating an agenda for yourself.

One ranking list could look something like this:

A Task: Very important for the business and time sensitive ie "urgent".

B Task: Somewhat Important for the business and urgent.

C Task: Very important for the business but not urgent

D Task: Somewhat important and not urgent

E Task: Not important and not urgent.

Make sure to get the "A tasks" done first thing every day, then move to the others sequentially "B, C, D, E". "E tasks" might never get done, and that's ok, pass these to an employee or let them solve themselves.

More on this later....

Change your "state".

Are you only focusing on the negative things that are happening? When is the last time you celebrated a sale or milestone that was reached? It could be your stress is coming from your "focus" being on the negative events on your business ONLY. Focus on the positive! You can improve your stress management in business by reminding yourself of the things that are going right. List out all your accomplishments and any small business milestones you’ve achieved, there are probably more than you realize. Don’t neglect even the smallest accomplishments. Put your list somewhere you can easily see it, such as on your desk or the wall. Whenever you feel stressed about all the things that are going wrong, look at your list. Take a moment to remember all the things that have gone right.

Taking breaks prevents burnout. You are running a marathon, not a sprint, and your durability is essential to see the business prosper for many years. When you take a break, do something that relaxes you. Go for a walk, get some coffee, call a friend, watch a funny video, don’t do anything business related. When you get back to your business, you will have a clearer mind. You will have fresh energy to tackle the task, and stepping away might even open your eyes to a new and better way to complete the task. Try Meditation, extra sleep, or changing your work location sometimes.


Find a mentor or peers that are in the same situation

Having people to talk to that understand your stress is very useful. Often family or friends cannot relate to the unique problems of business owners. Its not that they don't care, but simply may not be aware, or sensitive to the magnitude of stress you are experiencing. Other business owners will understand exactly what you are going through because they've been there before. They will also have advice on how to handle specific situations. Build your network so that when you are feeling overwhelmed you have someone to talk to, they likely want to do the same!

Health, Food & Exercise

We all know these are important but nearly everyone doesn't do enough in this area. In particular, business owners can be geared to make the business come first at the expense of everything else. A common negative cycle that business people get into is that initial stress leads to over eating and drinking. This consumption causes unease and lack of sleep, which in turn can impact your performance the next day and the stress gets even worse. Late nights entertaining clients, eating fast food because you "...dont have time", it can all add up and damage your business and personal life. Try to interrupt this cycle! It would be absurd to think a sports athlete could live this way and still be successful, think of yourself in these terms. Eat primarily organic foods instead of processed, low fat instead of high, drink lots of water. Light weights and Jogging two or three times per week will have an immense impact on your mental health. It is only after we go for a run and feel great do we say to ourselves "Why havent I been doing this all along!?"

Interested in more content from us, see our post "A small business owner becomes anything they need to be at the time".

For more information on how to thrive as a small business owner, contact us at New Frame KK.

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