14. Use online productivity tools.
I use tools like Toggl to help me focus, get organized, and keep track of where I am devoting my time. It’s too easy to get scattered among the many things that I have to do as a small business owner: emails, calls, running social media, marketing, etc. When I can objectively measure and analyze the amount of time I am spending on each project, I can better assess the return on investment for that time.
15. Play a round of golf.
When you start a company, you’re constantly thinking about how to make the company succeed. While it is incredibly hard to shut that off, you still need to do things that make you happy. For me, I try to at least go play a round of golf or hit a few balls at the range to clear my head, get some fresh air and look at something besides a computer screen.
16. Set expectations up-front.
Always set realistic expectations for customers at the very start. This will save you a lot of anxiety and worry in the long run. It is better to “over-communicate.” But when I get super stressed you will find me practicing yoga or at the dog park — both activities put me at ease instantly.
17. Work in the cloud.
As the owner of a small business management firm, it is extremely stressful when we lose paperwork we need to stay compliant. In order to eliminate that stress, we’ve organized our paperwork by making digital copies and then storing them online on various cloud applications, like Dropbox. This way, all our information can be easily accessible and never get lost.
18. Do more for yourself.
Running a busy massage studio involves a ton of planning, scheduling, organization, and communication. I cut down on stress from work by making time for a 90-minute deep tissue massage. Having time to myself to devote to relaxation is crucial. Its amazing how much we do for other people day-to-day, and how little we do for ourselves.
19. Develop a weekly game plan.
Game plan your calendar weekly. Block out time every Monday to sit and reflect on your own and compile your list of action items that you want to accomplish in the week ahead. Then keep your focus centered on completing those tasks and not letting your business take you on its own ride.
20. Stop the email insanity.
One of the biggest things that stresses me out is a constantly growing email inbox. I find that it’s easy for me to spend hours on email, only to find that, 1) I’ve made little progress, and 2) I could of spent the time on the bigger (and more important) projects. By turning off my phone and signing out of my email, I’m able to work productively and with a lower blood pressure.
21. Create balance.
Will you work hard, stay up late, wake up early, and push yourself mentally and physically if you are passionate about your business? Yes, of course you will. Therefore, make sure that personal time is a part of your schedule. Make appointments with yourself and keep them. Exercise, meditation, family time, even (healthy) eating can and should be in your calendar as an appointment, just like everything else that is important in your day.
22. Collaborate with your team.
Whenever one of us is at a boiling point and feels extremely stressed, our founding team members get together and we talk through it. We all have individual tasks and responsibilities to stress over, but we’ve found that continually keeping each other in the loop and talking about them seems to have a very positive calming effect and brings in a natural reality check.
23. Put the situation into perspective.
Before reacting, I try to think about where the other person is coming from and how I can help alleviate their stress. Seeing the situation as an opportunity to serve someone instead of as a fire to put out will drastically change the dynamics, lower stress levels and in most cases result in a positive outcome for both parties.
24. Hire good employees.
Even though good employees are sometimes few and far between, good ones are worth every penny of their salary. With my employees I’m able to delegate and trust that they will go above and beyond the call of duty. My project manager is my secret weapon to combat stress as she keeps tabs on all ongoing projects and tasks so that I can focus on other things.
25. Listen to audio books at night.
Falling asleep with a racing mind is the worst thing in the world, and I am willing to bet most entrepreneurs main problem is their own mind. Listening to an audio book (I use audible.com) is like having a bed time story read to you and is the best at shutting it off. Just don’t listen to a business book while trying to sleep — that will back fire.
How do you prevent, reduce and overcome stress in business? Let us know in the comments section below.