How to cope with the stress of building and growing your business

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Some days, it might seem that building and growing your own business is too much to handle, and the only thing that keeps you going is the idea of retiring as a small business owner.

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    Being an entrepreneur is extremely stressful, not helped by the pandemic changing the way we see the new normal and the constant need to improve yourself and the way you do business.

    Fortunately, there are many healthy ways to combat the stress of expanding your business. Read on to find out more about them.

    Appreciate the things that go right

    As you’re growing your own business, it is easy to focus mainly on the things that are not going well. You can become stressed when you’re looking at all the things that are behind schedule or that need to be fixed. Doing this can only harm your mental health.

    Instead, make a list of all your accomplishments and any small business milestones you’ve achieved. There are probably more than you realize. Don’t neglect even the smallest achievements. Put your list somewhere where you will see it often, such as next to your computer or hanging on the wall by your desk. Whenever you start to feel stressed about all the things you believe are not going well, look at your list. Take the time to recall all the things that have gone right.

    Do things at your own pace

    When first starting a new business, many entrepreneurs are too concerned with how old they are and what they might not have yet achieved when compared to other business owners. This kind of constant comparison can really increase your stress levels.

    Although the media often profiles successful entrepreneurs who are in their 20s, this study suggests those people are outliers and not the norm. Instead of viewing your age as something to worry about or be ashamed of, think of it as an indicator of wisdom and experience to apply to your business.

    Remember, you are the only valid judge of your success. And, if you take a look at the list of your accomplishments as suggested above, you will see that you are doing pretty well. So, just take it easy and deal with the issues at a pace that suits you.

    Keep your work and private life separate

    Many entrepreneurs bring their business home with them at the end of the day, and sometimes the lines are even more blurred if they are working from home.

    When that happens, it becomes impossible to fully relax and spend quality time with your friends and family. It is also harder to take that much-needed moment to yourself. It’s essential to take a break from work occasionally and be alone with your thoughts and feelings.

    That’s why it is so important to leave your work and work-related issues where they belong, and that’s your office.

    Setting clear boundaries by, for example, not taking work calls or muting your email notifications outside of office hours, you’ll be able to unwind and ultimately attain a healthier work-life balance.

    Don’t spread yourself too thin

    When you’re stressed, it’s tempting to think that the simplest solution is to keep working and work harder while you’re at it.

    However, in truth, that is nothing but a recipe for burnout and exhaustion.

    Set yourself a schedule that includes time away from work to relax and recharge. Use an app or software to track your hours and ensure you are keeping to a “regular” or “normal” workweek. Encourage all your team members to do the same so that all of you are well-rested and mentally healthy as you move your business forward.

    Remember that you can’t do everything. Evaluate opportunities in terms of the amount of work you put in versus the return it brings to your business. Spend your time doing activities that produce the most relevant results.

    Outsource and delegate

    When you’re used to being the boss, it can be hard to let go and give up control. But as any small business owner knows, you can’t do it all. And if you’re trying to, then you’re probably not doing an excellent job at every single thing. That’s why learning how to delegate or outsource certain parts of the biz is a foundation for success.

    Figure out how you want to spend your time — and what you’d rather avoid. Besides, it’s essential to recognize where your weaknesses are so that you can hand over those areas to other people who do them much better. If there are certain weaknesses that you’d like to correct, you can always look for a qualified business coach to help you acquire the skills you’re lacking.

    Remember to take a break

    This might seem like too mundane advice, but – it is vital to take a break every once in a while.

    Sometimes, taking a short break might be all you need. Stepping away from the stressor for even ten minutes can refresh and calm you. Taking a break can even prevent burnout.

    When you take a break, do something relaxing to unwind. Go for a walk. Get some coffee. Call a friend. Watch a funny video. Don’t do anything business-related. When you get back to work, your mind will be clearer. Your energy will be renewed and you will feel better equipped to tackle the task. Sometimes, stepping away can even increase your ability to problem-solve, opening your eyes to a new and better way to finish the job.

    During your time off work, make sure to “unplug” by shutting down your computer and focusing on hobbies, exercise (preferably outdoors,) and getting plenty of sleep. You’ll be able to return to work with a much lower stress level and a clearer head, ready to take on any challenges that might come your way.

    Accept that there is no such thing as multitasking

    More and more studies prove that no one can multitask. All someone can do is quickly shift their attention from one task to the next. As a consequence, what happens is that you have exhausted both your body and your mind while trying to manage several things at the same time. Moreover, none of these tasks will be done as well as they would be if you were to devote your undivided attention to them.

    You need to resist the urge to work on several different tasks at the same time. Instead, learn to prioritize your tasks. Make a list and gauge them based on their importance and urgency. Then, you’ll be able to focus all your attention on the things that matter first.