Too much stress has a debilitating impact on one’s health, focus, and productivity. Stress management is the series of practices and techniques geared towards minimising or eliminating stress. However, there are certain types of professions or undertakings that naturally come with stress, running a business is one of them. Acknowledging stress as part and parcel of the business is one step closer to managing it.
Here are 15 effective stress management practices for busy entrepreneurships;
1. Expect for the best, but, be prepared for the worst
In business, expecting for the best is the norm. However, things don’t always happen as planned. The negative variance between the expected outcome and the actual result could mean a lot of pressure and stress. Manage stress by coming up with a plan B. A backup plan will give you peace of mind, and could very well save the day in case the primary course of action falls through.
2. Set reasonable expectations
Be reasonable when setting up plans and expectations. Consider all factors that could affect the outcome and include a good margin for errors or miscalculations. Learning curves, downtime, and delays should be considered and monitored.
3. Address problems before they become emergencies
Do not wait for anticipated problems to blow up into a major company crisis. Make it a practice to resolve issues as soon as they are known. One customer complaining about your service should be enough to make take a closer look into the service department. An anticipated shortage of supplies should be addressed before it affects your production schedules.
4. Know that you cannot control everything
We can plan all we want, get into the smallest details, and create several alternatives for any given scenario; but a plan is never a reality. Anything and everything can go wrong and there is nothing we can do to control it or plan to avoid it.
5. Take the outsider’s perspective
Running a business means strong attachment and 100% involvement. And a lot of stress! Decisions that involve people are harder to do when you’ve developed relationships. Sometimes, taking the outsider’s perspective makes things easier and clearer. An outsider would look into your organisation objectively, without the blurry lines of emotional, social, and personal implications.
6. Initiate action
Waiting is stressful, especially if it’s for something that will have a heavy impact on your business or career. Instead of being the reactor, initiate the action. Do not spend time waiting for Company X to sign the proposal, instead, work on several other proposals, or call them up and let them know you won’t be waiting for long. Do not wait for your employees to deliver the level of productivity you want. Find solutions – re-train, re-assess the process, or re-hire the right people for the job. Taking action is taking control of the situation.
7. Release your frustrations
Take time to blow off steam, in a positive way. Some people take a walk, others hit the gym, some would call a friend, and others would call a meeting. Letting other concerned people know of your frustrations can ease the stress level. Whatever you prefer, make sure that you stay professional and respectful. Avoid calling out and blaming people, harming relationships, using unprofessional language, and divulging too much detail.
8. Take the positive outlook
Things might look hopeless today, but there is always tomorrow to look forward to. Instead of looking into the pile up of orders to fulfil, think of the increased sales. Don’t focus on your burgeoning responsibility, instead, appreciate your growth and improvement.
9. Resolve or avoid stressors
Identify your major stressors, then make a way to avoid or eliminate the factors that cause your stress. Some of the major stressors in the workplace include disorganized files, noisy co-workers, deadlines, and office politics. Any form of change also causes office pressure. Manage, if not eliminate, all sources of stress.
10. Work smarter
Working harder is not always better. Adopt better and more innovative ways of doing things. Technology has a lot to offer in terms of lightening things up for entrepreneurs. Online platforms for business processes like accounting and bookkeeping ensure reporting accuracy and timeliness, alternative communication channels help save a lot of time and effort, and cloud computing streamlines the business.
11. Get help from the professionals
You cannot do all things by yourself. Running a business means forming an organisation and directing them to strive for one goal, business success. No need to stress over things you do not know or want to do. Find the right people – professionals in their fields of practice, and let them do the work for you.
12. Take a healthier lifestyle
Ironically, the most popular stress busters are not kind to your body. Binge eating, caffeine, partying, and smoking should be avoided as they will just lead to more health problems. Switch to a healthier lifestyle – exercise, get enough rest, engage in vigorous activities, eat healthy, and spending time with your family.
Meditating give you the opportunity to reflect and revert back to what’s important to you. It is easy to get sucked into the fierce business competition, chasing for the biggest contract, launching the latest product, or driving for the highest sales record. Meditation will get you back to the basics, present clearer perspectives, and arrive at better solutions.
14. Make time for your hobbies
Make time for things that you love doing! Strive for work-life balance. Working all the time can easily lead to stress and burnout. To ease stress, find some time for your hobbies and interests outside the office. It will give you a refreshing diversion, creative outlet, and self-fulfilment.
15. Cut the stress build up
Cut the pressure build up and take a break from anything that is stressing you out. Say no to impossible customers, take a vacation, or take the afternoon off to watch a movie. These little me-times and fell-good victories will effectively blow off the pressure and lower stress levels.