Last Update: August 2, 2014
Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The idea being that negative experiences can toughen people, making them better able to manage subsequent difficulties. But surely he knew that every entrepreneurial superhero is still mortal? So, even when we feel like we’re capable of doing it all, stress and worry can take its toll on our health and performance.
Some small business owners seem as though they’re always walking on sunshine, while others are frantically pulling their hair out. Yet the truth remains: every entrepreneur is faced with challenges in business. So, how can we prevent, reduce and overcome them? While life may give you 99 problems, your business shouldn’t be one of them.
So we asked twenty five entrepreneurs to share how they run their world with more ease, reduce stress and enjoy a more productive life and business. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Have fun things around your office.
Chances are you may be stuck to your desk. Especially if you’re in a home office it can be lonely, dreary, etc. I love having fun things around like great snacks, my dog, Nerf guns, holiday decorations, and even candles for stressful days. Its all about making your space comfy and relaxing for you. Stop to have fun breaks. I stop every hour or so to play with the dog, throw darts, stretch etc.
2. Go for a run.
Two years ago, I started running to help eliminate stress. It didn’t take long for my neck pain and constant headaches to virtually disappear. Running does something to reset you mentally, and it improves your creativity and outlook with very little effort. I now build a 5k run into my schedule two or three times per week.
3. Tell your significant other something positive about your day.
I tell my wife a positive aspect to my day instead of just jumping into the negative. It helps change the mood of the evening. I also leave my cell phone at home when I go out to dinner with family and friends. There is nothing worse then getting a bad client email on Friday evening while your trying to unwind.
4. Make emotional wellness a priority.
Go on a ‘genius date!’ An example of a genius date is visiting an art exhibit, taking a dance class or attending a lecture and connecting with a genius outside of your industry. I go on weekly Kizomba dancing genius dates because they help me connect with my own genius and inspire new ideas for my business while reducing stress.
5. Change your environment.
On stressful days, I like to get out of the work environment and take a short walk outside. I’ll try to appreciate the beauty around me, such as the flowers or nice architectural design. Then to calm down and get rid of the stress at the end of a busy day, I’ll take a long hot shower then meditate before bed. When I have more time I like to get together with friends to laugh and socialize.
6. Make a to-do list.
Some people may think to-do lists will add stress because it reminds them of all of the work they have to do. But for me, when I take 30 minutes to plan out a detailed to-do list for the week on a Sunday evening it actually shows me that I can accomplish it all. It helps to reassure me that there is no reason to be overwhelmed. Sometimes putting it all on the table makes tasks more achievable and less daunting.
7. Reduce the gap between what you say and what you do.
The gap between what you say and actually do is where small stress situations build up to huge pain points. Avoid unnecessary tension and maintain consistency in your actions.
8. Go outside.
Take five minutes to go outside, appreciate the outdoors, nice weather, and breathe in some fresh air. You can feel the stress disappear. Then go back to your desk and take a new approach to your stressful situation with a more positive outlook.
9. Exercise regularly.
Someone suggested this to me, which seemed crazy to me at the time. Who wants to think about exercise when they are already exhausted and stressed out? However this year I’ve made it a priority to exercise at least 2-3 times a week and not only am I healthier, I’ve noticed a huge change in my attitude as well. There’s definitely something to be said about endorphins.
10. Never do it all by yourself.
First, find a reliable and trustworthy team who can get things done. In my first business, I tried to do it all myself — that doesn’t work. Second, whether it be family or friends, make sure you have a very good support structure.
11. Play recreational sports.
Go to the gym and play basketball. I shoot hoops and take out my frustration on the court and come back a whole new me.
12. Plan ahead.
You always have to have a plan B and C, because if things go wrong clients and customers won’t want to hear excuses. They just want results! This alleviates stress because if you hit a bump in the road, you know there’s back-up to ensure everything runs smoothly.
13. Stay on track with virtual notes and physical whiteboards.
I eliminate stress in my day with a combination of Evernote and a whiteboard on my wall where I keep a list of goals.