Stress is just a fact of life for every small business owner. There’s no way to permanently eliminate it from your life, but there are ways to manage it instead of letting it manage you. Here are four tactics that successful business owners use to get a grip on stress.
Delegate. Small business owners often create their own stress by refusing to let go of any aspect of running their business. If you’ve got employees, delegating not only frees up your time but helps them grow. And don’t assume you can’t afford to hire. Add up the time you spend on tasks someone else could be doing, run the numbers on the new business you could be bringing in if you had more time, and you may find that hiring a part-timer will pay for itself.
Take care of yourself. You wouldn’t abuse and destroy your business equipment, would you? You keep your equipment running smoothly so you can get maximum performance out of it. Do the same with your body by getting adequate rest, exercising regularly and eating right. Drink plenty of water and take quick breaks to get up from your desk and walk around the office. Just 10 minutes on your feet will rejuvenate you. Your body is your most important piece of equipment, so keep it tuned up and ready to work.
Figure out what stresses you out. Often the sources of stress occur over and over again. Maybe it’s a weekly deadline that always seems to sneak up on you, or a tool you use every day that doesn’t work quite right. Perhaps you always feel stressed at the end of the business day or first thing in the morning. Once you’ve identified your daily torments, take steps toward eliminating as many as you can. If your office printer constantly malfunctions at key moments, eliminate the stress by springing for a new model. Take note of the worst stressors for a week, then go back and laugh at the one-timers, but make sure to find a way to correct or avoid the repeat offenders.
Write it down. Juggling a never-ending to-do list in your mind is a terrible burden and a major cause of stress. You’re bound to forget something critical, and even if you don’t, you’ll worry that you will. Free up your brain by putting everything you’re thinking about on paper, laptop, tablet or PC. Just be sure you choose one method and stick with it, or you’re creating even more stress for yourself. You will be surprised at how well you can sleep at night when you know you have all your tasks written down and you can refer to your master list if you forget anything.