No matter how large or busy your small business is, you’ve likely experienced even a little bit of entrepreneurial stress. And in case you’ve managed to ignore the advice of your family, friends and doctor, here are some ways you can relieve a bit of the stress that goes hand-in-hand with running a small business.
- No more eating at your desk. Yes, wolfing down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while reviewing your expense reports is more productive, but it’s also not at all relaxing. You may feel you don’t have enough hours in the day, but you’d be amazed at how much smoother your brain will work by enjoying your lunch in a different room or even outside. While you’re at it, why not go completely nuts and spend your lunch hour with some colleagues? Humans are social beings, after all.
- Delegate more. Even the most well-balanced organization can stand to review its employees’ workloads from time to time. Many entrepreneurs are protective of their small businesses – they’re the ones that gave birth to it! However, you may already have a sneaking suspicion that you can’t (or don’t want to) do it all. What can you offload onto another, trusted, member of your team? What can you ask someone to work on with you for a while? We don’t want you to have nothing to do all day, but if you notice that you’re the only one running around in a frenzy, it might be time to evaluate how many tasks you’ve been giving yourself.
- Make your workplace less stressful. Even if you’re a relaxed, my-door-is-always-open kind of manager, there are probably things you can do to reduce workplace stress. Talk to your employees and see where their satisfaction levels are. Acknowledge employees’ achievements (publicly or privately – it’s up to you). Encourage your team members to take a short break in their days to recharge and maybe creatively brainstorm new ideas for their work. Foster environments of group collaboration and organize employee events. Make your workplace as physically comfortable and inviting as possible (while still looking like a workplace, of course).
- Bring your work home with you. No, we don’t mean literally, but when someone asks how your day was – tell them. You don’t have to get into specifics, but going over key events of your day and how you managed them or how they made you feel is immensely satisfying. Your loved ones ask because they care about you, so talk it out.
- Stretch and move. Many entrepreneurs – especially those with desk jobs or who undertake repetitive tasks – understand all too well the need to get up and move around from time to time. If you don’t, you could end up with hunched posture, sore joints and lovely assorted aches and pains. The good news is you don’t need to invest too much time in stretching and moving to get the benefits. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends a break for 5-10 minutes for every hour you’re working. Check out their website for specific tips and stretches.
- Take a vacation. There’s no honour in burning out. No matter whether you run a home-based sole proprietorship or are the manager of a good-sized team, you should take at least a long weekend off every now and then (and it might go without saying that we want you to take a real vacation sometimes too!). Many entrepreneurs start their own businesses for the freedom of setting their own hours, so do it! Make sure to give your clients or customers enough notice and leave the business, if necessary, in the hands of someone you trust. Let this person know your contact info for emergencies, but resist the urge to “check in” when you’re off the clock.
What stress-relieving tips for entrepreneurs do you have? Let us know!