Ask any entrepreneur how their doing, and most of them can sum up their feelings in one word: stressed. While entrepreneurship can be incredibly fulfilling and help you to grow personally and professionally more than you ever imagined, it’s also an incredibly high-stress environment. Every day feels do-or-die, and the fate of a lot of people’s hopes (and money) lies with you. Even after you’ve gotten your company off the ground, the stress of a CEO doesn’t exactly make life any easier.
If entrepreneurship is the road you’ve chosen, you’ve probably done it for good reason. It’s your passion, it energizes you, and you can’t imagine your life working for someone else. It’s great that you’ve found a path (a lot of people never do), but without the proper stress management, this kind of role will eat you alive. Learn to manage the stress and find a balance with your personal life, and you might just find a lifetime of success AND happiness.
Don’t have time to think about all this? You need to make time, or the burnout is going to come quickly and swiftly. Here are some tips for managing your day-to-day stress. You’ll thank me in a couple years.
1. Have an outlet for your frustration, outside of work.
Ever been told you need to unwind? That’s exactly what this tip is for. You need a place outside the office where you can channel any pent up emotions that come with the job. Frustration, aggression, or even over-excitement if gone unchecked can lead you to make poor business decisions. You need a place where you can go to clear your head, re-gain focus, and release some of the energy you build up at work.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing basketball, training in a cross-fit gym, or going out for a row on the local lake/river, just find an activity that lets you stop thinking about work and lose yourself completely in the activity at hand. There’s a reason so many “ah-hah!” moments happen in the shower or while you’re cleaning: when you clear your mind, you allow yourself to re-set and reframe your situation in more unique ways.
2. Meditate, every day.
In line with my last tip, meditation, even for a few minutes a day, has vast health benefits. It lowers your blood pressure, reduces your risk of disease, reduces your risk of cognitive deterioration, and increases your sense of well-being. It’s also great for your memory and ability to focus. You’ll live longer and make more level-headed decisions in the board room.
This practice should be an opportunity to ground yourself every day. You will be surprised at just how hard it is for you to sit still and silent for just 2 minutes without letting your mind get riddled with outside worry’s. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, and every time your mind begins to wander, refocus on the exact moment you’re in and the feeling in the moment of your breath.
3. Break your day up in allotments of time, and stick to it.
At the beginning of your day, come up with a tentative list of what needs to get done and figure out how much time you can dedicate to each item. Put the most important tasks at the top, and be honest with yourself about how long these items should take. When you give yourself a deadline, you’re more likely to get things done.
You’re sharpest in the morning, and you can never be sure what is going to interrupt you later on in the day, so always do the most important tasks first. Even if you don’t make it to the end of your list one day, you’ll know that you made the biggest possible difference with the time you had.
4. Develop a solid morning routine.
How you start your day off often times effects how productive we can be the rest of the day. Start of right each morning with a couple quick wins, and you’ll feel more empowered to take on the rest of the day.
5. Focus on today.
When you’re starting and growing a business, the company you have today isn’t going to be the company you have 5 years or even 6 months from now. Things change quickly in a start-up, and it can be easy to get caught up in long term goals that distract and overwhelm us.
Think about it like this: when you’re climbing a mountain, it’s a lot more overwhelming to focus on the peak. When you put your attention towards each step in front of you, suddenly the task at hand becomes a lot less daunting, and you’re a lot more likely to keep going.
Focus on today’s goals. Celebrate today’s wins and share today’s accomplishments. Set aside whatever “finish line” you’ve set up for yourself and enjoy the journey, otherwise, it’s going to be a long hike.
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