For anyone starting a small business, the to-do lists, financial needs, licenses and permits, and logistics can be overwhelming. And that’s putting it nicely.
Long hours, sleepless nights, and endless worries take their toll on even the calmest of characters. If you’re stressed out, use these tips to minimize the hassle. Keeping it under control means being happy and healthy while growing your business, which is good for everyone involved.
Maximize Your Time
It’s obvious why small business owners feel like they have to do it all. There are only 24 hours in a day, after all. On top of work tasks, you still need to be able to spend time with your family, sleep, and take a little bit of time for yourself. If it sounds like a nearly impossible feat, you’re not wrong. But maybe you don’t quite have the budget to hire additional help right now. In that case, you can start getting things under control by setting priorities.
First, look at your daily schedule. You might work at all hours, blurring the line between work and home life. While some might call that "hustle," it could be hurting your productivity and causing you unnecessary stress. A better grip on your schedule means you can maximize your time and get work done when it counts.
If you aren’t sure what your daily schedule looks like, especially if it varies each day, start logging your time for a week or two. Then, take a look back to detect patterns, like when you’re most productive and when you find yourself drifting for another cup of coffee. Once you know your routine, you can set a more concrete schedule for yourself. Remember to pencil in time for working out, relaxing, eating, and sleeping. It might seem silly, but you’re more likely to take the time to do things for yourself if you schedule them just like business tasks and appointments.
By setting boundaries and budgeting time for work, home, and yourself, you’ll know exactly what you can get done each day, and not waste time and energy overextending yourself.
Create Stress-Free Zones at Work
If you’re lucky, you can take an hour for lunch and go for a walk to de-stress. Realistically, you’ll need to find other ways to reduce your stress at work.
One of the best ways to ensure a less stressful day is to create stress-free zones. Take a corner of your office and place a plant, an image of nature, an essential oil diffuser, or a wireless speaker (or all of the above) so you can have a tranquil spot to take a deep breath and listen to your favorite song before getting back to business.
Consider blocking out time on the calendar each day or week when you’re not to be disturbed at all. Maybe you use that time to address specific to-dos, or it can just a bit of downtime. Either way, that’s your allotted time to be left alone. Consider it non-negotiable.
Make Your Home Workspace as Calming as Possible
There's a good chance you also need a workspace in your home for the occasional after hours work or brainstorming meeting. To minimize stress at home, create a functional workspace free of clutter. Organization not only makes you more efficient, staying clutter free can make it easier to focus. Start your day on the right foot with a neat workstation.
When grabbing a few hours of late-night work after a long day, adjust the lighting and temperature in your home workspace to reduce your fatigue and minimize stress. Use natural light when possible, and keep your thermostat above 68 degrees so you can expend your energy working rather than keeping warm. Cornell researchers suggest 77 degrees Fahrenheit as the optimal room temperature, but we don't blame you if you prefer things on the cooler side.
Finally, make peace with this fact: You’ll never be able to eliminate all stress. Maximizing your time, creating stress-free zones at work, and making your home workspace as calming as possible will help you keep it under control so you can spend more time focusing on the fun stuff.
Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help small business owners live the best lives that they can.