Dealing with Stress as a Small Business Owner
Dealing with Stress as a Small Business Owner
It’s inevitable! When owning and running a business, there are going to be times when you feel stressed. There is so much that needs to be done and it keeps piling up until the end is nowhere in sight. Sometimes, it just doesn’t feel manageable. There are always too many ideas, projects or clients, but just not enough time in which to deal with them. This is where the thoughts about giving up might creep in. Don’t worry, this is quite normal.
As an entrepreneur or small business owner, it is easy to get overwhelmed. The cause of stress and worry is normally because we are either taking too much on and it feels like there isn’t the time or mental resources to tackle it all or we are doubting our own abilities and in our mind we are painting a very dismal future. Either way we expect our business to crush us and struggle to see a way out.
But do not start doubting yourself and your abilities. You’ve made it this far, so you are certainly capable of overcoming this small hiccup or challenge.
The first thing to understand is that feeling overwhelmed is a choice that we make. It is the brain which decides that we are not coping with the amount of work which needs to get done. The key thing is to have patience with yourself and realise that you are actually very good at tackling problems. Why else would you be running a business? It just takes some focus and a little bit of improvisation.
Increasing productivity, smoothing out problems and retaking control of your mind and business, doesn’t require huge amounts of effort or time. It just takes one or two adjustments to your mindset and daily schedule, and everything will naturally fall into place.
We’re always striving for perfection and excellence regarding our businesses. But when you’re feeling too overwhelmed, this is the time you should admit that you need to stop, take a deep breath and start to think about ways you can combat the stress and prevent it from building up again. If you don’t, you may find that is can be detrimental to your business.
TAKE A BREAK
First things first: you need to take a step back and clear your head. Leave everything as it is and give yourself some room to think. Whether you take a 5 minute break, a couple of hours, or even a few days, you just need to get some distance and space.
Clarity of mind only comes when you are not stressed. In order to relieve all your stress and anxiety, you need to relax. Do whatever works for you. Have a cup of tea, listen to some music or go for a walk. Once you have spent some time away from the problem, you can come back to it with fresh eyes and ears and, more importantly, a fresh mind. Then you’ll feel more able to tackle the problems facing you and your business.
GIVE YOURSELF A PEP TALK
It may sound silly and even patronising but it works. What you have to do is find a mirror and look yourself in the eye. Breathe deeply and tell yourself that you can do this. Say it over and over again until you believe yourself.
It’s also wise to make this part of your morning routine. Before you leave for work, or if your manage your business from home do it before you sit down at your desk, perform this little ritual. Refer back to it throughout the day if things get tough and you feel yourself struggling.
Creating a positive outlook is the key to success. Believing in our own capability is essential for boosting self-confidence and having the motivation to carry out all your plans and projects.
STOP TRYING TO MULTI-TASK
Our brains can only manage so much at once. If we try to multi-task and do a hundred different things all at the same time then it’s inevitable that we will start to feel burned out. The most drastic effect of this is that we may lose interest in the business.
So, this is important, you must make a to-do list. It clears your head to write everything down on paper. But don’t linger over how much you have on your to-do list, not just yet.
The next thing to do is order them in rank of priority. Highlight the most important ones and put aside the rest. Anything that needs to be done in the next week should have most of your attention. Get on top of the urgent or short-term tasks, then you can review your to-do list afterwards.
We can’t deny that having a plan or a to-do list is important. Categorize tasks that are urgent, and get them done as soon as possible. Of course there will be some tasks or projects which are ongoing, so make sure you plan accordingly.
Set aside a few minutes a day or an hour every week to review your to-do list. Delete or cross out anything that’s done and decide what is now the most important tasks which require your attention.
GET TIME WISE
Underestimating how long a task takes can be detrimental. It can set you back for the rest of the week or even month depending on how big the task is. If you think it’s only going to take you 30 minutes to do something then set aside an hour. As a general rule, always double the time you think it will take to complete a task. That way you wont feel rushed and you have time to settle your mind.
ASK FOR HELP
Sometimes, it can be difficult to admit that we’re struggling. But it is like the old saying goes: a problem shared is a problem halved. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend or family member to sit down with you and go through things. They might be able to bring a different perspective and solution to a problem or come up with some new ideas.
Also ask yourself: can someone else handle this? Learn how to delegate the more medial tasks such as phone calls or filing to an assistant. You’d be surprised how much time you can save by letting other people take over tasks for you.
LEARN TO SAY ‘NO’
One of the biggest problems small business owners face is the inability to say ‘no’ to people. When we say ‘yes’ to too many clients or appointments, that’s when we begin to feel overwhelmed. We have this awful habit of trying to please everyone and soon enough we end up with far too much to do.
Before you say ‘yes’ to someone, or agree to doing something, say ‘I’ll check my schedule and let you know’. This way you can go away and properly think about it. You’ll often realise that it isn’t a priority and you really don’t have the time to spare. Then you can gently say ‘no’ and save yourself a lot of anxious worrying.
5 KEY THINGS:
- Organise your time effectively
- Take some time away from your business you clear your mind
- Prioritise your tasks according to urgency
- Learn to delegate tasks to other people to free up your time
- Believe in yourself and your own abilities.
You may find that even just trying one of these tips can alleviate a great deal of unnecessary stress and worry. They can help you learn to love your business again and avoid that awful feeling of being overwhelmed during the hectic periods.
“If I can do anything to help you through this stressful and challenging time do [Contact me] today. I wish you well.” ~ Anthony