Are You Experiencing Entrepreneurial stress? These 14 Tips Will Help You
Entrepreneurial stress is usually experienced by every entrepreneur.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’re probably familiar with the word ‘stress’. More than that, it can be one of the words that define your life. Managing your own business is rewarding and challenging at the same time.
You get to create your own schedule, be your own boss, and make your own money. But you are also responsible for a lot of decisions, a lot of missteps and a lot of outcomes, both good and bad. With these responsibilities come pressure and with pressure comes stress.
Stress is simply a result of pressure and high levels of activity over a prolonged period of time. When you’re stressed, you feel overwhelmed, anxious and pushed to your limits. You feel depleted because you’re completely over-engaged.
Over time, accumulated stress can lead to depression, addictions, unhealthy habits, and a mental or physical breakdown. The toll that entrepreneurship takes on mental and physical health is innumerable.
Recent studies have shown that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to feel depressed and thrice as likely to exhibit addictive behaviour when compared to the general population.
Forming an idea, making a plan, executing a project and pushing for success can leave you feeling exhausted. Of course, your hard work is worth it when you see your business thriving.
However, it can make the whole experience less enjoyable if you don’t manage the stress that comes with it.
You have these tips to reduce your entrepreneurial stress and start to appreciate the journey into industry life.
These tips will help you to be enthusiastic in making the most of every opportunity along the way.
1. Look After Yourself
Taking care of yourself by ensuring that you eat well, exercise regularly and sleep for a reasonable length of time will influence almost every aspect of your working day.
Your business can take a lot out of you and put a real strain on your body and mind, and it’s your responsibility to prevent this from becoming overbearing.
Remember the simple things like staying hydrated by drinking water throughout your day. If sleep is an issue for you (as it is for many businessmen and women), try reducing the amount of caffeine you consume.
Any caffeine you drink will stay in your system for 4-6 hours, even more. It depends on your level of sensitivity as it may be different for different people.
Taking part in some kind of sport or fitness activity will act as another outlet for you to manage your stress, and release endorphins making you feel immediately more uplifted.
2. Separate Work From Home
It’s common to bring the stresses of your business home with you. Your entrepreneurial brain will be whirling with thoughts non-stop, and it can be very hard to just switch off.
Getting some quality time with your family to relax and unwind at the end of each day should be a priority.
If you have anything troubling you, write it down along with anything else you need to add and close the book until tomorrow.
It’s most likely an issue to your company can handle. So, keep it that way by extracting it from your mind and storing it on paper until you can tackle it in good time the next day.
3. Identify the source of stress
Being aware of personal stress is only half the battle. You also have to find out the root causes of your stress.
- Is your stress caused by an overly-tight schedule?
- Are you doing more than what is reasonable? Do certain situations make you stressed out ?
- Do you have a habit of procrastinating until the deadline?
Or perhaps your personal life, habits and attitudes are adding to your stress level. Once you figure out the source of your stress, it becomes easier to get a handle on it.
4. Start fast, end slow
When working on a big task or project, you most times fall into the habit of starting at the absolute latest point you can start working and still finish by the deadline.
This ‘work technique’ can simply be referred to as ‘start slow, end fast’.
You probably recognize the downside of such a stressful philosophy. You basically wait till the very last minute and then try to maximize the period of frantic rushing involved in every task you work on.
Most entrepreneurs unwittingly follow that approach and it’s little wonder that they burn out. Fortunately, there’s a solution.
Flip that around and you have a better ‘work technique’ – aim to start fast, end slow. It’s a subtle difference but it makes a huge difference. Finish tasks/projects with a lot of time to spare and your work life will be significantly stress-free.
In other words, don’t procrastinate.
For instance, if you have two weeks to finish a funding proposal for your business, have it completed by the end of the first week or latest by the beginning of the second week.
If you’re going to move your business to another location, have most of the packing done with several days to spare.
5. Delegate tasks
Trying to do it all by yourself is simply shooting yourself in the foot. The reason is simple; you can’t. Plus, there’s no need for you to.
If you try to manage every single part of your business yourself, even up to the tiniest detail, then you end up spreading yourself too thin which invariably causes stress.
It’s okay to get help when you need it. Getting time- consuming tasks off your list by handing them over to capable employees is the way to go. Outsourcing specific tasks can also work for you if you run a small business.
This gives you enough time and clarity of mind to deal with things that matter. You can concentrate your time, energy and efforts effectively into important tasks without feeling overwhelmed.
It’s essential to learn how to unburden yourself and conserve the best of your brainpower and creativity to projects and issues that demand your full attention.
6. Keep perfectionism at bay
If you’re constantly concerned about creating a perfect business, you’ll burn out quickly. Why? A perfect business is non-existent. You won’t ever create it.
Bear in mind that there are certain situations that are beyond control. There’s no point having sleepless nights over the unpredictability of the business world. There’s also no point obsessing over a task or project and having it on your desk for several weeks or months.
That’s also not to say that you should be complacent. Your goal should be progress and improvement. Of your business and of yourself as an entrepreneur in a competitive environment.
You need to put in your best at all times but also avoid setting unreasonable and artificial goals for your business. Know when to get something done and move on. Remember, quality service or product is rarely perfect.
Another thing is to embrace your failures and learn from them. Being an entrepreneur means that you’ll make mistakes – a lot of them. Wrong sales forecasts, a venture that turned bad and the likes are inevitable and part of the entrepreneurial process. The key is learning from these mistakes and moving forward.
7. Tweak your schedule
Creating a routine and sticking to it is a great way to add some sort of structure to your hectic life. However, don’t aim for a ‘to the minute’s schedule as this will simply overwhelm you.
Things happen, and it’s easy to get rattled when things don’t go according to plan. Your schedule should be flexible as well as efficient.
The point is to have a clear goal and aim for each day as you work. Try to be as specific as possible. For example, saying that you want to attend to unread emails is vague. ‘I want to answer at least thirty emails today’ is better and more specific.
Furthermore, having an overly-tight schedule can no doubt cause stress. There are twenty-four hours in each day and unfortunately, we can’t have more.
Are your duties and obligations for each day reasonable for a twenty-four hours time frame? (Minus sleep time). If not, then find ways to make your schedule less burdensome. You can cut out or cut back on certain activities or outsource them.
8. Prioritize your work
Maintaining a to-do list is a fantastic way to cut through unnecessary distractions and work with a sense of purpose. But what do you do with a list that’s going out of control?
If the length of that task list of yours overwhelms you, why not just take a deep breath? One thing that has helped me stay calm when it seems that I have a thousand and one things to do is to sort them out according to their importance.
I just pick out two or three most important tasks, focus on getting them done and then promptly move on to the others. This technique gives you amazing clarity of mind and helps you to streamline your energy into things that matter.
In addition, most times it seems tempting to accept every offer or request that you get. After all, you certainly want to grow your business and gain more experience. But saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way is going to overwhelm your schedule.
Some jobs and opportunities are going to be just right for your business. Either in monetary terms or in terms of the referrals you might get, or the experience you’ll gain.
There are also some jobs that, no matter how tempting they seem, you can simply do without them. Differentiate between the two and focus on jobs that are right for your business.
Learning to say ‘no’ when the need arises, is a great business tactic. It’ll simplify your work life and ultimately reduce stress.
9. Prioritize your sleep time
If you work late frequently, as most entrepreneurs do, what invariably suffers is your sleep time. Medical research has shown that a lack of adequate sleep can have adverse effects on the body.
Such effects include; migraines, an inability to concentrate, weak immune system and of course, increased stress levels. So, to keep stress at bay, guard your sleep time.
Don’t sleep when your eyes start dropping or you start seeing in twos. Fix a suitable sleep time and stop working an hour to that time. Listen to music, read or engage in any other night ritual that helps you relax.
This helps your body, brain and mind transition from work zone to sleep zone. Get enough sleep and wake up well-rested, on alert and prepped for the day. You’ll be glad you did.
10. Mind what you eat
Good eating habits don’t just help you maintain a great figure and boost your immune system, they can also help you combat stress. Good eating habits aren’t just about what you eat but also when you eat.
Don’t sacrifice food and eat ‘when you have the time’. Eat as often as you need the fuel that sustains your body. It’s easy to eat snacks as meals on hectic days until it gradually becomes a habit but a diet filled with junk food is a no-no.
Eating right doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or time-consuming. The point is to be intentional about what goes into your body.
Simply including a lot more fruits and vegetables can go a long way in increasing your energy levels, which can help you handle stress better.
11. Give your stress a workout
I mean that literally. Exercise is a fantastic way to get your blood pumping and improve circulation, things which are good for your heart, body and mind. Plus, it’s amazing how going out in the open and moving your body clears your mind.
The next time you feel stress coming on, get up, take a brief walk and you’ll feel revitalized – instantly! Engaging in rigorous exercises for a specific time at least three times a week releases endorphins which are the ‘happy’ hormones that can help you handle stress.
Exercise is also an excellent, non-destructive outlet to take out your frustrations, anger and other negative emotions. So, make time for physical activities you enjoy. Head to the gym, go for a jog or a brisk walk or join a sports club. Stick with it and make it a part of your routine.
12. Don’t make your business your whole life
As important as you feel your business is, it helps to remember that life goes beyond it. Running a business can be demanding but it’s essential to create time for other things outside your work life.
- Build fulfilling relationships.
- Attend events that are not work-related.
- Commit to vacation time.
- go on holiday.
- do something fun and don’t lose your joie de vivre.
Engaging in a hobby you’re passionate about is a wonderful way to give yourself a break once in a while. Engaging in a hobby gives you the chance to ‘get down’ to do something lighthearted, recharge and reconnect to yourself.
It can also provide a great opportunity to meet people and connect with others socially. It also gives you something to anticipate during your work time, just like how you looked forward to recess time as a kid.
So, why not try hiking, playing golf, swimming, taking cooking classes, craftwork or any other thing that stirs up your juices?
13. Be positive
If you often find yourself focusing on the negative things you need to check your attitude and work towards creating a positive one. A simple way to do this is to show appreciation – to yourself, to others and to the work you do.
There’s always something to be grateful for. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, anxious or upset because everything seems to be going wrong, take a moment to reflect on the things that are right in your life and cultivate a sense of gratitude.
Believe me, you’ll feel calmer, gain more perspective and feel less stressed.
Finally, stress isn’t completely bad. Studies have shown that stress under the right conditions can improve performance.
Nevertheless, it can wreak havoc to your physical and mental health and harm your productivity. Employ some of the above strategies in your life, beat stress, be at your best and make a success out of your business!
14. Relieve The Workload
In the digital age, there are several ways of autonomizing many processes you usually configure yourself.
Transferring your workload and modernizing your services will free up some of your responsibilities. It also gives you time to focus your efforts on being the best business owner you can be.
Search for any aspects of your business that you can be relieved of, such as a contemporary user testing platform to carry out research and analyze the data.
Outsourcing services like this can also alleviate some stress from your employees too. This means they have a greater opportunity to complete different tasks with the extra time they now have.
You might have been ignoring your mental and physical wellbeing whilst pursuing your business ideas. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Drop some responsibility and dedicate this newfound time to improving your lifestyle and becoming a healthier, happier and more focused entrepreneur.
You probably know entrepreneurs who seem to have it all. They make running a business seem like a piece of cake and never seem rattled, or show any sign of stress at any point.
It isn’t that successful entrepreneurs never experience stress, they are just better at coping with it. They have included a stress management plan as part of their business plan.
Stress management techniques and strategies put you in place to effectively deal with stress. Finding these strategies and including them in your daily routine ensures that you remain productive and efficient in your business.
Stress, as an entrepreneur, is inevitable. Whether you’re naturally inclined to deal with stress or not, you have to adopt some stress- management techniques if you truly want to succeed as an entrepreneur.
Working yourself to exhaustion can seem to have short-term benefits, especially if you have a long list of tasks to complete. However, over the long term, you won’t benefit from a physical/ mental breakdown and neither will your business.
Which of these techniques and strategies do you find most useful and applicable to you the most?