Have you ever found yourself wondering how to approach a topic, or item on the “TO DO” list? Recently I spoke with several entrepreneurs who were doing extremely well respectively, but were completlely stressed out when it came to balance, time management etc. Since I’m not an expert, and would never want to give anyone the wrong advice, AND because I always tell everyone to never take advice from anyone that doesn’t have the results you’re looking to attain, I decided to enlist the help one of the best in business to answer the burning question: HOW DO I MANAGE MY STRESS as an entrepreneur. Kim Clark is a widely respected specialist in the field of stress management, and when I found myself challenged with exactly the right way to address this topic, she agreed to help. I believe you’ll find not only some great information below, but more importantly, suggestions that you can impliment immediately. “KIM…TAKE IT AWAY”
Today’s entrepreneur has to deal with stress management in a variety of ways which entrepreneurs before us, never faced. Today we have “likes”, “followers”, “subscribers” and tons of other social media influences to give our attention to, not to mention the needs of our families and friends. For today’s entrepreneur, relief from stress has taken on a whole new meaning, so let’s take a look at what stresses entrepreneurs the most and explore ways to start managing entrepreneurial stress more effectively.
Entrepreneurial Stress: The Causes
One of the main causes of stress for entrepreneurs is most definitely maintaining a healthy balance between work and play. In a regular day for any entrepreneur, we might spend anywhere from 10 hours on up on our business, so when we talk about time management in balancing work and play, we are really talking about self-management in order to keep a healthy balance. When you find those days where it seems like there wasn’t enough time to do everything, it’s not the time that’s the issue. What we’re really looking at is our idea of what should be done in a set period of time in relation to our perspective on our lives and our goals. Having the right perspective and setting realistic goals is necessary. Nonetheless, even if you manage your time well, fatigue and frustration can set in and make even the work you feel most passionate about, feel like a daunting chore.
Stress Management Solutions For Entrepreneurs
In order to manage your entrepreneurial stress more effectively, try these 5 tips:
1. Prioritize: Zoom in on your objectives and energy cycles.
Scheduling your time efficiently is fundamental for every entrepreneur. For example, do you read the newspaper or your rss feed first thing in the morning? I’ve done that many times myself, so this brings us to the first choice an entrepreneur needs to make in order to effectively manage stress and time. Instead of reading “the news” of what’s been going on in the world, work on making your news the first thing others will read in the morning. Seth Godin makes this point very clear in his post The First Thing You Do Setting priorities and time management go hand in hand. I know how arduous a task this is and struggle with it myself because there are always so very many priorities, but here’s a good tip: Throughout your tasks of each day, ask yourself in the moment of doing them, “is this in harmony with my overall objectives”, if not, stop and move on. Try this on a “spot check” basis at first, maybe once an hour or once every 30 minutes. Then once you start doing this regularly, you’ll find time management becomes a lot more simple. You might also find it helpful to make a short mission statement surrounding the major areas for your business and your life, as suggested in Adam Smith’s article:Use Your Mission Statement As a Filter By doing this, you will have a crystal clear vision of the the single most imperative objective you need to keep first.
Benefit gained: You’ll keep your priorities, time management and hence, stress management in seamless harmony and keep your eye on the prize more easily.
2. Get Help: Outsource, use apps and extensions.
One of the chief factors of energy depletion that I see amongst fellow entrepreneurs is trying to do it all. The one man or one woman show philosophy is too difficult for anyone to sustain and your business is all about connecting with others. Today, entrepreneurs have a huge benefit in our ability to facilitate functions which years ago, used to take ages and cost fortunes. Today, you can be working on your market research in Florida while your virtual assistant is redesigning your website in India. Plus you have a vast myriad of electronic devices that make your work easier Lisa Irby lists some great apps to try in her article Awesome Ipad Apps and any browser you use will have a set of powerful extensions to increase your productivity while freeing you to concentrate on growing your business. Decide which services you will outsource and which services you will do yourself, but make sure that whether it’s using the right tools or outsourcing, you have the help you need.
Benefit gained: You don’t have to “sweat the small stuff” and you’ll improve your efficiency and productivity!
3. Take frequent breaks from task to task.
Let’s say you have 3 major tasks for any given day, so what you’ll do is give 100% of your energy to the first, most vital task until you start feeling your “inspiration” turn to fatigue. Most entrepreneurs tend to feel the workaholic in them take over with handling their business because of the importance of the tasks, yet pushing yourself when you are clearly fatigued can be counterintuitive and counterproductive. Signs of this: when you feel like your mind has slowed down or you start forgetting things easily. That’s when it’ll be best for you to stop and “free your mind” by doing something totally different. Take 5 minutes and eat something nutritious, get outside for a quick walk in the fresh air, play with your pet. The point of this exercise is to give you the break you need in order to re-charge your batteries. Exercise and meditation can go a long way to help you keep your balance between work and play. You might even consider yoga, which will achieve both the inner peace and outer agility that you need.
Benefit gained: You can produce your best work and gain greater balance in your life. (also good for avoiding burnout.)
4. Make good use of social media and set specific goals.
To physically reach out to the vast numbers of people you would like to reach can seem like a daunting task, but social media can help you by taking your message viral. Discover which trends will work best for your business/product, then choose the social media strategy which is best suited for your needs. Brian Solis writes a very compelling article on what’s new in social media at: 10 Social Media Strategies for 2012 so this can help you in setting your social media strategy. Use tools like Social Marker to have your latest news indexed in over 50 of the most important social networking sites in one click…and it’s free! Social media is a great asset and a must have for any entrepreneur today, so discover ways in which it can help you to achieve your desired results from the priorities you set in step #1. Of course, make sure that when you’re managing your social media strategies, you keep your goals focused. The tip offered in step #1 is a good question to ask yourself whenever you are on any social media platform. You know when you’re on facebook bulding your brand or when you’re on facebook living vicariously through the pictures of your BFF’s vacation.
Benefit gained: You take one good action then you reap immeasurable rewards.
5. Charge your innate tools into high-gear action!
Yes, you’ve got innate tools like: your power to smile, your power to laugh, your power to be grateful, etc. Make a gratitude journal. Why? Because it will lighten your burdens and raise your sense of accomplishment which in turn, will solidify your faith. All of this enhances your capacity to naturally encourage yourself with positive self-talk. Do you tend have a hard time patting yourself on the back after a good day’s work? I know that there are times when I sure do! Stop killing your joy. We are always seeking to improve ourselves, so it’s natural to focus on all of the many tasks at hand but by concluding the day with the thankfulness for 3 or 4 things you did to better your business and yourself, not only do you have a written log of your positive growth (yes, it’s better and the effects are longer lasting if you to jot these things down), but you also get proof of were you were and how far you’ve come. I did this experiment with one area of focus in which I felt like I was standing still, but was I ever amazed a month later when I saw on paper how much I’d actually grown.
Benefit gained: You become, evolve and grow into the person you’ve always truly wanted to be!
I find that the things I don’t have time to be grateful for are the things I most often forget to appreciate. For me, it’s the loss of appreciation of the simple things, like the ability TO BE an entrepreneur that leads to stress. I know that sometimes it can be frustrating when expectations are high, so it’s important to keep your trust strong, belief systems intact, and funny bone active. Laughing about something that didn’t turn out the way I’d planned always makes it easier for me to get it right the next time. Also, always remember your faith in what you’re doing! Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr, so do things that strengthen your faith and spend your valuable time with people who are doing the same. Remember that success doesn’t bring happiness, but it’s your happiness that brings you success. Don’t wait until you’ve gotten your business where you want it to be just to be happy. Start cultivating happiness and joy in your life right now, and as you move onwards and upwards on the staircase of success, no matter what challenges you face, you will face them with grace!
Kim Clark is a specialist on stress management Stress Management/Laughter Therapy and you can find more information on the website: Laughs Heal Come by to visit us at laughs heal and sign up for our newsletter so that you can keep your stress management strategies at peak levels! You can also connect with Kim on Facebook and Twitter
Thank you very much Kim!
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