You’re not the only small business owner feeling a little stressed this year. Whether you’re panicking at the state of the economy or overwhelmed by a huge workload, your apprehension can negatively impact your businesses. The difference between your experience and that of others can be found in the manner in which you handle your stress. Unless you take active measures to alleviate and manage your anxiety, your anxiety will manage your business.
In a recent Inc.com article entitled “4 Steps to Knock Out Workplace Stress,” author and lawyer Matthew Swyers shares his suggestions in coping with job-related anxiety:
1. Be positive. Often you can think away your stress. When you change your thought patterns and continually repeat positive affirmations, like “I have plenty of time to fulfill all my work obligations” or “I am feeling calm and relaxed,” you increase your capacity to manage difficult situations. Also remember that having lots of work to do means you’re busy in a recessive market. Consider all those unemployed or unhappily employed individuals who would love to be in your shoes, stressing about a personal practice with a never-ending to-do list or overwhelming workload.
2. Compartmentalize. We can become easily overwhelmed when looking at the big picture, which may include a mound of work. When you compartmentalize projects by breaking your work down into smaller projects or tasks, you minimize your stress. Consider how these jobs can be tackled on a daily basis, and then schedule them into your workday so that you’re more inclined to move towards project completion stress-free. Swyers explains, “By focusing on a smaller subset of the larger picture you will derive a sense of accomplishment from those goals being met that, in turn, will allow you to focus more on those daily tasks reducing the overall tasks on your plate which will lead to reduced overall stress levels.”
3. Determine task attainability and then communicate. When you set your goals ensure that you can attain them with the time, energy, and resources you have available. An unattainable goal is unrealistic and will cause stress. Consider if some of those things causing you stress may be the result of unattainable goals. Revisit those tasks that may have unrealistic deadlines or scope. And once you determine attainability be sure to communicate your findings with all involved parties, including staff and/or clients.
4. Accept the inevitable. Your stress doesn’t influence a project’s outcome. Sometimes you just have to let it go. Swyer states, “Understand that whatever is going to happen is going to happen. The project is going to get done, it may not. The assignment will be completed within the given parameters, or it will not. But whatever the outcome, there is an end in sight. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And no matter what that light is, at some point the stress you are experiencing, the task you have been assigned, the project you are working on, will be done.”
While there’s no cure-all solution for stress, it’s important thing that you take measures to better manage it. When you do, you can alleviate some of the stress you may currently be experiencing. You may feel you can’t take the additional time to implement any of these suggestions. In that case, the question you should be asking yourself is, can your business afford for you not to?
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Swyers, Matthew. “4 Steps to Knock Out Workplace Stress.” 10 January 2012 Inc.com