Does this sound familiar? In a recent survey, one-quarter of business owners confess to falling ill due to stress because of work.1
Small business consultant Neil Einstman calls this tendency to get overwhelmed from stress “owneritis.” Understandably, business owners often feel the need to do it all. But there are several simple, easy steps owners can make to combat work-related stress, become more productive and feel good about their businesses.
Learn how to delegate
Delegation is not second nature to everyone—in fact, it’s actually a learned skill.
“But there are a lot of problems that your staff is more than capable of handling—if you let them,” says Einstman, who owns Eyesight Small Business Consulting in Nashville.
And that doesn’t just have to be staff—sometimes it pays to outsource some of your work to a specialist, like doing the books or handling your marketing, because it frees you up to do the things you truly feel passionate about, and are therefore are more productive to your bottom line.
Find someone who will listen
Whether this is a small business consultant, mentor, coach or even just a savvy friend, it’s important to seek out an understanding ear.
When you have someone to talk to about your business who isn’t in the trenches with you every day, you not only feel that stress relief from just getting things off your chest but “you [also] tend to discover things that you didn’t see before, because you’re in the middle of the forest and you can’t see any of the trees,” Einstman says. Solutions then often present themselves.
Wearing all the hats of a small business owner can mean a lot of multi-tasking, but multi-tasking can leave you feeling stuck, having chipped away at a large number of tasks without completing any of them. Instead, small business consultant Joe Christian recommends fully finishing a few tasks, or working to a logical place to take a break.
“Setting priorities and working on tasks having the most value to the company will enhance focus, improve results and reduce stress,” says Christian, who owns Trinitas Consulting Group in Charlotte, N.C.
This method is actually much more productive and less stressful, he says.
Turn off for a set amount of time
Because of that “owneritis” problem, many small business owners struggle with turning off their business brain. Like delegation, this mindfulness is an essential, but learned skill.
Start by dedicating a certain amount of time each week, or each day, to tuning out and fully enjoying something other than running your business.
“You have to step back and say, ‘OK, I’m getting up at 5 AM and having coffee on the porch’ or ‘Every two months I’m taking a day off,’” Einstman says. “It’s just important to have those tune-out times.”
You may have to actively shove work-related thoughts out of your brain at first, but soon this will become second nature.
These four key shifts in how you approach your business may not happen overnight, but with a little effort, they can translate to less stress and a more productive business.
1 “750,000 small business owners missing out on summer holidays with their children,” August 12, 2015, Simply Business
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