Over the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with thousands of business owners to start, grow, and sustain successful businesses. With all of that experience I’ve learned a thing or two when it comes to managing workflow and controlling my stress level. Believe it or not, I’m often asked about that aspect of business ownership by other entrepreneurs who are struggling to find a balance.
While controlling workflow and managing stress isn’t an exact science, I can state with great confidence that there are a few “tricks of the trade” that I will share with you. Being informed in this area is the first step. Implementing these tips I’m about to share with you is step two. So without further ado, here they are:
When the laundry list of things to do is long, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and defeated. We all have to accept the fact that we are 1 person and there are only 24 hours in a day. Translation: You can only do so much.
The problem with many entrepreneurs is that we like to think we have superhuman abilities and are capable of leaping tall buildings. The reality is that we don’t and never will. Therefore, it is foolish to put unrealistic expectations on ourselves.
Rank every task in order of importance and focus on those tasks that have the highest priority first. Accomplish what you can accomplish in a reasonable workday (8-10 hours), and leave the rest for another day. Trust me, the work will still be there tomorrow.
SET REASONABLE DEADLINES
We all want to do well and offer our clients the highest level of customer service. What we often forget is that those whom we serve are usually rational and can differentiate between a reasonable timeline and one that is unrealistic. Yet we want to be great, so we tend to make promises that may stretch us too thin. Eventually, this approach will come back to haunt us.
As entrepreneurs, we spend so much time hustling to make sales and grow topline revenue that we fail to establish clear boundaries. Our clients ask us to do something, and we say YES. They ask if we can complete the task by a certain date, and we say YES, even though we have already said YES to more things that we can possibly respond to within the designated timeframe.
I get it, I was there once myself, but the reality is that this approach is a recipe for disaster. You will either fail your clients or burnout from stress (or worse). Trust me, you aren’t doing anyone any favors and you will end up being miserable.
When you make the decision to set reasonable goals and deadlines, you will feel completely liberated. Your clients will still love you (and still want your product or service), your customer service will actually improve, and I guarantee your stress level will drop. Trust me, those whom you serve will respect you when you establish boundaries and live by them.
This is another one that can be tricky for a lot of entrepreneurs. When you build your business from the ground up, you wear every hat and know your business inside and out. You’ve always done it your way and it’s hard to let go. How can you release that responsibility to others and trust them to do it the way you did it?
Guess what? You simply cannot afford not to. Find the right people, train them well, and trust them to do their job. They may not do it exactly the way you did it, but they might do it just as well or maybe even better. Either way, when you let go and learn to rely on others you gain so much peace and will definitely feel less stressed.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH
This may sound somewhat rudimentary, but I promise it makes a difference. When we get overwhelmed with everything, it impacts us mentally and physically. If we don’t do something about it, there will be negative consequences.
For me, taking a deep breath allows me to press the pause button. It helps to remind me that I don’t have superhuman powers and there are limitations on what I can accomplish in any given period of time. It also helps me to re-focus my efforts as I move forward and complete each task efficiently, and effectively.
There is much more we can do to manage our stress, but this is a really good place to start. If you’d like to talk this through, or could use some assistance in implementing these practices into your business, I’d love to help. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.