Running a business is an exercise in stress. As an entrepreneur you wear many hats and deal with multiple priorities. You have to please difficult people and meet tight deadlines. But if you are not careful, this incessant juggling can drive you a little crazy. It can, at any rate, stress you out, which will not only impact your level of satisfaction with the business but also affect your general wellbeing.
Luckily, there’s help. There are many things a new business owner can do through the day to minimize stress and keep the mind focused for enhanced productivity.
Meditate on a regular basis
The ability to focus is almost a superpower, and meditation is what makes it possible. The more focused you are, the less time and energy you waste. Your days are lived out with a strong sense of purpose, and when your energy aligns with your vision/goals, there is little room for stress.
Stress arises from a sense of overwhelm, a lack of direction, and a fear of the unknown. Meditation gives you a lot of answers along with a clear sense of direction.
Proven benefits of a regular meditation practice include:
- A reduction in stress;
- a balanced perspective on life;
- improved insight and creativity;
- improved memory;
- greater self-control;
- improved immunity/health;
- and ultimately, enhanced productivity.
Regular meditation also helps one sleep better, and good sleep is linked to better performance in all areas of life. It is, however, becoming increasingly common for people to struggle with sleep, thanks to the near-continuous use of gadgets through the day. If you struggle with sleep despite having looked for cures, meditation may help. You can also assess the quality of your sleep at Somn to gain a deeper understanding of the issues that are keeping you up at night.
Eat the frog for breakfast
Brian Tracy introduced this idea to the business community with his book Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, but it has been around in collective consciousness for a long time. Mark Twain had remarked with his characteristic dry wit many decades ago, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
This is another way of saying don’t procrastinate important matters just because you do not have a liking for them – especially if you do not have a liking for them.
What do you dislike the most about running your business? Some entrepreneurs are buzzing with ideas and yet shy away from marketing the existing ones. As a smart business-owner you know what you have to do to take your company forward. You don’t necessarily have to be in love with all the components of doing business. But instead of only focusing on that which excites you and ignoring the rest, get out of the way what you must do but don’t quite feel like it.
When we know we have been procrastinating matters, they remain at the back of our minds for longer than they should. We feel guilty about it. We wonder how it will backfire (because we know in our gut that it will backfire). This leaks energy and contributes to stress. Better get unsavory tasks out of the way first thing in the morning.
Plan your day (as much as you can)
If you don’t want to find yourself swamped with multiple to-dos and an ever-piling list of commitments, resulting in ever-increasing stress, you will have to engage in some smart planning.
The emails will keep trickling in.
The phone will keep ringing.
People will post unflattering comments on social media about you or your business.
Customers will (at some point) be critical of your services.
At the same time, new opportunities will also come knocking on the door.
All of this might happen at the same time.
It can lead to a meltdown. What should you tend to first? The client emails, the social media circus, or the negative customer feedback?
Planning is key here. All of the above need to be dealt with but not at the same time.
- Dedicate a time slot to where you deal with emails, and barring emergencies don’t let that spill over into the rest of the day.
- Devote an hour or two to your social media marketing efforts and resist the urge to check your Twitter every few minutes.
- If you are required to keep up with industry trends, carve out time periods of 30 minutes or so to catch up on the reading – for instance when you are grabbing a coffee or are in an Uber.
Handle your time like a pro. There’s only so much you can get done in a day. If you don’t want to burn out, create schedules and stick to them as much as you can.
Don’t take things personally
When criticism is directly aimed at a business owner, it’s hard not to take it personally. After all, it is about you and your company.
It’s good to be affected by negative feedback but only to the extent that it gives you a direction in which to proceed. Don’t dwell on it though.
The client or the customer had a set of expectations and likely they haven’t been met. Instead of going on the defensive, seek insights into why someone wasn’t happy with your work. Improve where you can and let go of the rest. You cannot make everyone happy, but you can give everyone a fair audience, listen to their comments, and decide what to keep and what to discard.
From stressed out to stress-free
Stress is a by-product of an ill-planned lifestyle. A healthy routine is the founding stone of a healthy long-term life. In theory, we know the basics – eat well, sleep on time, and find a spiritual practice to keep the mind peaceful. In practice, however, a lack of planning throws all our grand ambitions out of the window.
This weekend, take out the time to create your best possible routine to help you accomplish your short-term and long-term goals. Stick to the routine as much as you can and keep the above points in mind. You should eventually begin to notice your stress levels going down and your productivity levels going up.