Feeling Stressed Out, Under Pressure, Stretched Too Thin? Here’s Relief

nutcracker stress pressure public domainBrother recently released its annual small business survey and one of the notable results revealed was that small business owners continue to feel stressed out and stretched thin by their work:

  • 35 percent would like to cut back on their roles and responsibilities.
  • 26 percent want to take more time off.
  • 20 percent feel they need to improve their work-life balance.

For those owners, it must often feel like “the worst of times.” But I can assure you that with all of the tools we have today, it really is “the best of times” for small business owners who need some relief.

I have some practical ideas for you, but first let me suggest an attitude adjustment: Start to see yourself as the orchestra conductor, not as the harried musician that has to run around and play all the individual instruments. As the conductor, you stand above the fray, coordinating each part to achieve perfect harmony. And to get that done, consider these strategies and resources.

Just say no. Small business owners are sometimes too accommodating. They can’t say no to anything. Get your priorities straight. Decide what community events and charities you can support and draw a line. Don’t extend yourself on business projects that promise only marginal rewards. In fact, cut loose activities that aren’t contributing sufficiently to your bottom line.

Take full advantage of the cloud and apps. Do you have legacy systems that you need to let go of because they take too much of your time? You may have to buy some apps or start paying for SaaS (software as a service), but the time you save by doing this may “save” you by decreasing your stress level and giving you renewed energy and time to put toward productive endeavors.

Delegate. Whether you hand off assignments to current employees or bring on some virtual employees or freelancers, offload some of your work. Start with your weakest tasks, the things your struggle with. They deliver the greatest payoff and are holding you back the most.

It is difficult for small business owners to let go of various aspects of their business. However, without letting go, there can be no growth. It takes wisdom to be open to evolution within your business, and this kind of wisdom is its own reward. Your business will move forward, you will be more personally satisfied and you’ll be poised to recognize and develop new opportunities.

Unplug. All too often when small business owners get home at night they either collapse or continue dealing with business. See your time at home as a time to recharge your batteries; you can’t recharge them if they continue to be drained by work related worries. Set aside time every day to not answer emails, not answer your cellphone and not futz with the business social media. Pick up a book and treat your mind to some simple pleasures.

I started this by citing some statistics. Let’s make a commitment to be part of the 65 percent that doesn’t feel the need to cutback on work and take a chunk out of next year’s survey results.

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