Almost half of small business owners feel that the stress of running their business has damaged their health, according to Bolt Insurance’s research. The American Institute of Stress agrees with the warning that stress is the basic cause behind 60 percent of all human illnesses and diseases, such as heart disease and stroke.
Startup owners are especially susceptible to the reality of high-stakes stress. Many wonder how they’re going to make their mortgage payment and payroll when business is still gearing up.
Luckily, there are ways to get on top of your stress. HelpGuide.org claims that realizing you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Take back some control today with a few easy steps.
1. Focus on the journey
Instead of focusing strictly on a long-term goal, stay in the moment and focus on small, manageable tasks to progressively step closer to your dream. Stop the self-inflicted stress by overwhelming yourself with a mile-long to-do list. Instead, make a list of all the productive things you did over the day.
This process naturally motivates you to grow your list and find new ways to stay productive. Instead of working towards an exhausting goal, work towards enriching your life with the excitement and satisfaction of watching your business grow.
2. It may be time to think about downgrading your phone
Continuously upgrading your phone to stay on top of the latest trends is a slippery slope. Never unplugging means you never have a chance to have other interests outside of work or the time to think of new projects or to fix a problem that is bugging you. A downgrade means fewer distractions. The temptation to click on daft websites, to check emails, to play addictive games, and to do work during leisure time is removed.
You could use a smartphone or Blackberry for work, and then switch to a flip phone like the LG 450 to chat with friends and family and to use in case of an emergency. The temptation to stay hyper-connected is fierce, but a flip phone forces you to slow down and breaks the addiction to constantly be plugged in and ready to respond.
3. Have a life outside of work
There’s no faster way to burn out than devoting yourself completely to your work without any outside focus. Join a group for a game of basketball or soccer in your off time to burn off steam. Take up the guitar, and spend a half hour a day strumming away to clear your mind. Or just make a point to try a new restaurant every week. Remember to put regular date nights or friends night out on your calendar to keep your connections strong.
4. Learn to delegate
Getting your company up and running from scratch fosters a sense of pride and control. The idea of handing over the reigns to anyone else can feel paralyzing and keep you from outsourcing the simplest tasks. But you need to realize that your company can’t grow past you and that your own time and expertise are limited.
Find a few small, manageable tasks and release them to a trusted colleague as a test. As the tasks are done efficiently and to your specifications, expand the duties delegated until you can let go of your old duties and focus more on business building and having a life.
5. Simplify your home life
Once you’ve cut back on stress at work, look at your home life. Make a list of what’s frustrating you on a daily basis. Hate doing laundry? Have it sent out and wake up to clean clothes instead of a hamper full of dread. Declutter and throw out old clothes and knick-knacks that make your home feel overwhelming.
Automate your bills, hire a housekeeper and set up a food or grocery delivery service. Once you’ve decluttered and streamlined your home life, take time to relax and reflect on why you wanted to be an entrepreneur in the first place.