Being an entrepreneur or business owner is not easy. It may be exciting, it may be rewarding, but it certainly is challenge. That is probably why so many people play it safe and join the ranks of someone else’s business or a public organisation. If you don’t handle pressure well as a business owner, you may well find yourself taking the same, more predictable route.
Bob Miglani author of “Embrace the Chaos”, said that a trip to India taught him to go with the unpredictable, fast and chaotic nature of the world. Accept things, don’t overthink and move forward.
Embrace the uncertainty, you can get side-swiped at any point in business, with uncertainties regarding the economy, and the potential for just one or two negative reviews to cause major damage to a brand or company reputation. If you can’t change such factors, then accept them and change what you can. Take action and move forward – for example, reach out to all of your happy customers and see if they are happy to write positive reviews.
Failures often are stepping stones to success.
Whilst his underlying philosophy can provide a great foundation for your approach to running a business; many of us are looking for answers and solutions that we can implement quickly.
One practical way of reducing pressure and stress by reducing your workload is to outsource specific tasks.
A good way to assess what you can outsource is by keeping a log of all the tasks and jobs that you do in a given week.
Next to each task, write down how much it is worth to the business and how much it would cost to outsource.
For example, deleting unwanted emails, taking phone calls from sales-people, even prepping meals.
It can cost as little as $3 per hour to outsource admin tasks to a virtual assistant overseas. You may have to invest some time in trialling different assistants and researching how to manage them, but this can dramatically reduce the hours that you work each day in the long run. Assistants are often used to do repetitive tasks, to deal with unwanted emails and to book travel arrangements.
Getting into a work-flow, or flow state is one of the best things about working on something that you have a passion about. One thing that kills flow-state however, is interruptions. It can also disrupt your general ability to focus, especially if you are worried about missing important calls. Using a specialist virtual receptionist like Moneypenny’s real estate answering service is a great way to ensure that you can focus on the work at hand and not have to worry about missing any calls. A 24-7 service may also be invaluable if you struggle to switch off in the evenings when you are supposed to be relaxing. With a specialist service, with a dedicated receptionist, you can enjoy the benefits of a ‘team-member’ who is both knowledgeable about your industry and your business.
A mobile phone can be a hindrance and a great help when it comes to productivity and reducing stress levels.
Since the launch of the iPhone in June 2007, phone and tablet apps have come a long way. The first apps on the iPhone were Loopt (a location tracker) and eBay; today there are nearly 2 million iPhone apps available; some of them are pretty good!
Project Management tools can help with workflow, even if you don’t have any employees. Asana is a free project management tool for teams of less than 15 people.
In Asana you can manage tasks by entering them into either lists or ‘boards’, you can easily add people to each task and have conversations whilst you are both viewing the same task. You can easily add documents and other files via Google Drive, Dropbox and other storage tools, or you can upload them directly from your phone or computer.
In terms of tile management, Google Drive is also a great tool that is free for a specific amount of storage. You can create files, work on sheets or documents and access them anywhere – as long as you have an internet connection and a device to connect to it. You can share files with people and you can chat, make notes and work on them at the same time. No need to save and refresh.
Managing all your ideas can also be a challenge. Ideas are precious when it comes to coming up with business ideas, and if you fail to write them down as soon as you think of them, you will permanently forget many of them. Evernote is a great ‘idea manager’, your brain is a better processor than it is an archive, so any ideas you have, put them in Evernote so that you can work on it or come back to it at a later date.
We could talk about apps for this entire article – one more that will make your writing much easier to copy check is Grammarly. You can install an extension or download the app and just copy and paste your copy into the interface, to get feedback on your grammar. ProWritingAid.com is also very useful for copy checking your work.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for us, but we don’t always make time for it. ‘Incidental exercise’ can help a lot. For example, if you are waiting for the kettle to boil, you can bash out a set of squats or push-ups. You can also integrate exercise into everyday tasks, for example, you could wear ankle weights or wrist weights for a few hours per day, or just when you are playing with the kids in the evening.
Tabata intervals are also great for the busy business owner. Just 4 minutes of exercise, a few times per week has been shown to produce a range of health and physical performance benefits. Tabata intervals last 4 minutes and comprise of 8, 20-second intervals of maximum intensity exercise, followed by 10 secs of rest. For example, you could do as many squats as you can in 20 seconds,8 times – and after 4 minutes – you’re done! There are plenty of Tabata intervals timers on YouTube that you can use. To read a scientific paper all about Tabata intervals, please click here.
Meditation & Mindfulness
Again, by now, almost everyone has heard of the benefits of meditation. If you struggle to meditate, consider trying a guided meditation that uses binaural beats. If you simply don’t have time to set aside to meditate, you can try adding some mindfulness to everyday tasks. For example, every time you clean your teeth, close your eyes and focus on the feeling of the brush on your teeth and gums. Even whilst you are working you can try and be mindful. Use a Pomodoro timer that breaks your work into 25-minute ‘sprints’ followed by a 5-minute break. Use the sprints to focus on the work at hand, bringing your attention back to the work, every time your mind wanders.
You must consult your doctor before taking any supplements or adding new foods to your diet. With this kept in mind, a few minutes of research into adaptogenic herbs may well be worth your while if you are feeling run down or overwhelmed.
Adaptogens are herbs that support the body’s ability to deal with stress. They can help with stress, inflammation and fatigue. Adaptogenic herbs include ashwagandha, RhodiolaRosea and a range of medicinal mushrooms. Again, discuss any of these herbs with your doctor before consuming them, as they can interact with medications and some may have side-effects.