How I Cope With Stress (a day in the life of an entrepreneur)

May 21, 2018

Running a business (particularly one delivering professional services!) has its share of stress.  Some days are full of lovely emails from clients, others … not so much.  I know how not dealing with stress affects all aspects of your life.  So bear with me while I share what helps me plus some tips I hope will help you find that calm happy place!

During the day, when (if) it all gets a bit much I give my brain a break … Kindle is my escapism and 15 minutes spent in fiction land does wonders for blood pressure!  In a calm and reasonable way I can then come back and deal with the issue causing the problem … minus the stress!

What do you do when something stressful crops up in your day?

For a more intensive approach come the weekend if we don’t have plans I’ll be scavenging at the beach for drift wood, pretty shells and sea glass then it’s into the garage for some crafty unwinding time.  I’ve only started doing this in the last few months and it’s a way to keep busy doing something I love while freeing up my head to think freely. Whether you’re crafty, physical, creative or like puzzles … if you haven’t already, spend some time finding your ‘happy place’.

Here’s some tips to try yourself, let’s do our best to eliminate stress from our business altogether!

8 Ways to Manage Stress as an Entrepreneur

  1. Prioritise Your Tasks: With so much on your to-do list it all gets overwhelming.  Plan and prioritise all your tasks so you know what it is you have to achieve each day then focus on one task at a time.
  2. Work-Life Balance: At the end of the day, time is our most valuable resource. A lot of entrepreneurs are workaholics who “live to work” and fail to devote enough time to rest and relaxation. Block out time for you, for your family and friends and protect that “self-maintenance” time above all else.
  3. The Glass is Always Half Full: 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 realise. 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.
  4. Tools and Processes Are Your Best Friend: An automated, systemised business is one of the best ways to minimise stress.  If something goes wrong, having a process to handle the problem is critical.  Having processes and tools to improve your time management means human error (a big factor of stress) is reduced and errors or issues that do pop up are simply an opportunity for improvement (highlighting a system you don’t have yet).  I’m just about to release a free guide to help with this so stay posted!
  5. Shutting Down Your Brain: It’s extremely hard to separate work from your personal life, how many of us come up with our best ideas when we should be winding down to sleep!  Keep a list of everything you need to remember (either on an app or in your diary) so you’re not constantly worried you’re going to forget something.  Then use a tool (I use Headspace) to practice mindfulness, making sure you’re present in everything you do … not constantly thinking about work.
  6. Time Out: You know this already, how important it is to take breaks regularly.  Not easy when you have a deadline rushing up at you or you just want to finish one more thing, but even 10 minutes spent going for a walk, grabbing a coffee or calling a friend (anything not business related) will result in a clearer mind with energy to complete the task. Stepping away might even open your eyes to a new and better way to complete the task.
  7. Recognise Stress: By understanding your triggers and reactions when you’re feeling stressed you can manage it more effectively.
  8. Taking Care of your Health:  Running a business takes a lot of petrol! Your business comes with long nights, early mornings, no weekends and no sick days. Your nonstop life puts strain on your body, and then you add stress on top of that (I’m not helping am I!!!) .  You need to take care of yourself. Don’t forget to do the simple things. Drink water throughout the day. Regularly eat. Get enough sleep.  Without making the mountain too high in terms of healthy food, exercising hours every day, sleeping 10 hours every night (!!!), concentrate on the basics your body needs to be healthy.  A healthy body can deal with stress a lot better than a run down one.

Finally, stress is something I monitor constantly.  Being open about it … stress does not diminish my status as a super hero! … and talking to friends, family and other business owners helps.  I’d love to hear how you deal with stress in the comments below.  You might just help others!

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