Whether you have twenty employees or a business that consists of you and only you, stress is going to happen. And, when it does, business will continue to go on. If you can’t slow down and deal with the source of the stress, it will get worse. The friction will turn into fatigue, possible illness, and then, ultimately, complete business burnout. It can happen to anyone.
Anyone, that is, that’s not actively doing what needs to be done to avoid burnout. However, none of these approaches will add more things to your undoubtedly packed schedule. This is a guide meant to suggest doing things differently to encourage a better quality of life for you and those closest to you.
Reduce the Stress
If you can’t afford to change your schedule, you may be able to make the work you do less stressful in some capacity. If your stress is temporary, these solutions may be all you need.
Outsource or Automate
If you’re used to handling everything yourself, the idea of outsourcing even the smallest tasks can make your skin crawl. However, as a leader in your business, your time is most likely better spent working on things that make significant changes, not minutiae.
Take small steps to outsource (or automate) the simplest tasks of your day-to-day. Does your business handle a lot of orders? Consider using e-purchasing tools to manage them more efficiently. Doing so will give you more time to work on your business, or time to step away and take care of yourself for a change.
Make Your Work More Social (or Not)
If you love social situations, find someone to work with. Make a portion of your business collaborative. Tap your network for opportunities. For extroverts and social butterflies, being around other people melts the stress away.
Introverts, on the other hand, may need to find a way to create pockets of work time where they can seclude themselves from others. This allows them to focus in and do their best work, freeing up more time for other activities.
Improve Your Health
If you can do nothing else, start paying attention to how much you sleep and what you’ve been eating. Taking a small step to ensure that your body is getting the minimum it needs to fight off the stress in your life is the least you can do while you work through whatever immediate business concerns you have.
Change Your Mindset
Changing how you think about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it can be all you need to avoid burnout. For the chronic worriers, all that stress may be coming from “imaginary” problems. It can be all too easy to blow things out of proportion, but there are ways handle this.
Remember that no matter where you feel like you are in life, if you can just make your business 1% better every day, you’re really on to something. Just make sure that 1% is something that sticks, not something temporary.
For example, just keeping up with order fulfillment won’t move your business forward because you’ll have more orders to fill in the near futures. However, updating your website, create an automated email sequence, or filing your taxes could count as 1% activities because they occur rarely and can make a significant impact.
Remember Why You’re Here
One of the key benefits of having a business plan is remembering how much you’ve already accomplished and precisely what you need to do to reach wherever you want your business to go. Growing your business, in many cases, won’t solve your burnout problem- it might make it worse. So, before you get there, look at how you got to this point. Now, think about what you could do differently.
Define What Matters
Why did you start your business? Was it for a personal reason? Was it your one true passion? Was it only for the money? If it was the latter, that’s fine. What did you need the money for, or why do you still need it? Remembering your reasons can help you put what’s most important in perspective. Writing them down and re-reading them can help you remain focused.
Burnout is most often created by overworking yourself. In order avoid that, you need limits. Know what yours are and work to make the most of them. Remember, if you burn out, you won’t be doing anything.
Create a Real Workspace
The results are in: open workspaces might improve collaboration, but they up stress over time and impair productivity. Find a private space that you have some control over. Personalization, even something as small as a plant on your desk, can calm you down, decrease stress, and boost creativity. You don’t have to be completely closed off, but having a workspace that is just yours, for work only, is key to maintaining stress-free focus.
Schedule Time for Work and Time Off
Scheduling how you spend your time is key to success both at work and at play. Once you make a plan, be sure to stick to it. Create strict limits and learn how much you can do in a set amount of time. No more staying in the office until 4 am and then deciding it’s too early to go home. No trying to see how many meals you can go without. Schedule time for all necessary activities.
If you don’t think you have enough time for leisure, health, and your business- you might want to consider again. Most people spend more time on activities they rate as “low priority” than “high priority.” The key to making the most of the time you have is to track it. Be aware of where you spend your time now, and make critical decisions about how you want that time to be spent in the future.
Commit to Something Else
Committing to something outside off work can help force you to take your schedule more seriously. Devote time to something that boosts your mood, or that’s important to you on a high level. It could be faith-related, a volunteer activity, or even a recreational sports team. Remember to always take care of yourself first, work always comes second.