Do you know what the source of your stress is?
s it a bad day perhaps where you didn't get everything go your own way, or when someone didn't hear you? From my experience of working with business owners I find entrepreneurial stress is often linked to our business objectives and our personal aspirations as well as our expectations of ourselves and others.
With that in mind, here are my top 10 ways to cope with entrepreneurial stress. I hope you find some, if not all them useful.
1. Interruption and distraction log
This is one small page of a notebook which you can divide up into the time, source and reason for a distraction or interruption. At the end of the day, take time to review your entries and see if there’s a way to reduce or eliminate them. Can you put the out-of-office on your emails? Can you turn your mobile upside down or even leave it in a drawer?
2. Daily and weekly planning
This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my own life. 20 minutes planning at the beginning of each week can literally save me hours! I use the time to get the little things done, like my suggestions above. A solid plan for each day prevents your time being dictated to you and allows you to work with a focussed mind.
3. Connect your daily plan with your high pay-off activities
On the next page in your notebook, write your day’s goals/to-do list. Are they completed? Did you add to them? Reflect on three leading questions; What went well? How did I celebrate? What could be different/better tomorrow? This is how I like to end my day, figuratively (sometime literally) drawing a line beneath business so I can move on with my personal time.
Speaking to a colleague, friend, partner or trusted connection can be immensely helpful. Your thoughts and feelings may be verified, challenged or just simply heard. And, you may be able to help someone else with their fears, concerns or challenges. Talking things out really does alleviate entrepreneurial stress.
I’ve always tried to have an element of physical activity in my life. Whatever you choose to do, it’s a proven fact that physical activity lowers stress and aids sleep. If you struggle for time, even a quick turn around the garden or down the road can do wonders.
6. Control the controllable
A useful mantra for reminding you that some things are just out of your control - you can only control how you react to them. Implement time management tools, continue to educate yourself in your industry, and use your network for support to maintain that control. As an example, I stopped watching the news 5 years ago and it changed my energy, because I avoided focussing on the things I couldn’t change.
7. Get away from your desk
Stopping work can seem impossible at times, but if you don’t take a moment to step away you could find yourself slowly becoming overwhelmed. There are micro-moments throughout the day you can often miss – stand up, breathe deeply, change your focal length, and then get back to it.
8. Practise mindfulness
Whatever you’re doing, do that and think of nothing else, which can be easier said than done for many! However, if you’re going for a walk, enjoy your surroundings, really listen to what’s going on around you, hear the traffic, notice the sounds and smells - make sure you’re truly present in that moment and not churning over the events of the day that’s gone, or ahead. If you’re working on a task, try not to let your mind wander or be distracted by another ‘shiny object’.
9. Delegate or outsource
Is the source of your stress that you have too much to do in too little time? Is it because you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, takes you too long or not within your skillset? Your business may have reached the point of organic growth and it could be time to bite the bullet and expand your team, or otherwise delegate.
10. Find a professional who helps with stress
You might do well to find someone who is professionally qualified to teach you the coping methods and skills to recognise your trigger points. Ask someone you trust if they can recommend someone, ask social media groups or check in with Mind, the mental health charity.
I sincerely hope this article has been of use to you. All the best - Mike
The Entrepreneurs Mentor