– You’re sitting on the sofa watching TV with your partner or kids, but your mind is buzzing with all those tasks that you still haven’t completed yet. You have your iPad or Tablet perched on your knee just in case something urgent pops up (and when it does you sneak into the kitchen to respond).
– You regularly work well into the wee hours of the morning (sleep is for wimps).
– If you’re a parent, you try to cram in one to two weeks’ work into those last remaining hours before the school holidays begin – after all, someone might notice that you’ve taken a day (or shhh two) to some spend time with the kids.
– And as for you and that cellphone of yours, it’s a case of together, forever and utterly inseparable!
For anyone starting up or running a business, some form of stress is unavoidable, simply because of the nature of the beast.
And a certain amount of stress might even be considered a positive thing, a driving factor, if channeled in the right way to meet challenges and achieve goals.
But problems arise when even though you know you need leisure time when work ought to be set firmly to one side, you feel as though it’s impossible to step away from everything, so you don’t.
There’s just so much stuff to do.
One of the first things you’re taught on ‘Management Leadership’ courses is how to delegate. I think it’s one of the first things that entrepreneurs should be taught too. When you’re in the early stages of your business, it’s tempting to feel that you have to do as much as possible all by your lonesome and your budget may well dictate that to some degree. But there comes a point when you need to delegate, in other words bring on board help – through an experienced mentor, or a consultant for example.
Interestingly, a study conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder into the stress levels of entrepreneurs indicates that inexperienced entrepreneurs have more of a problem doing this than experienced entrepreneurs. Associate professor and co-author Maw-Der Foo said:
“Inexperienced entrepreneurs actually become more stressed when they take a break from their work because they’re not able to completely remove themselves mentally and they feel guilty about stepping away.”
Experienced entrepreneurs, on the other hand, know the value of stepping away from the problem for a moment and seem to employ two useful tactics, called “active coping” and “avoidance coping‘. Foo explains:
“In active coping, you take the bull by the horns. If you have a problem, you face it. If you lack sales, you make sales calls. If you lack funds, you seek out investors.
Avoidance coping sounds negative, but it’s not. It means getting away from the problem for a moment. You watch a movie, go have coffee with friends or go on a vacation, for example.”
If you feel you can’t step away from your business at all, it might be time to take a good look at how you’re operating it. A successful business has systems in place that enables you to either automise it, or put someone you trust in charge while you’re away.
Don’t overstretch yourself with commitments or get carried along with so-called urgent requests from others. Plan a more effective way of managing time where priorities are dealt with first. Remember the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your outcome comes from 20 percent input.
Factor in time to meet up with friends and really enjoy leisure time with family. Those precious moments are vital for your wellbeing.
Let’s face it, without health and happiness, that wealth you’re striving for will be pretty much useless!