Working in business is stressful, especially if you are the owner. How can you stop stress getting in the way of productivity?

Business owner stress

Quick takeaways if you’re in a hurry

  • Stress can sneak up on your quickly so it’s important to understand and recognise the signs of high stress levels
  • Your productivity levels and your business performance can quickly be affected by an overdose of stress
  • It’s possible to take action to keep stress under control: start by taking care of yourself, taking down time, and being positive.

Read on: Are you suffering from business owner stress?

(estimated reading time: 6 minutes)

If you are a business owner or are employed to work within a business then there is a good chance that you know about stress. In small doses stress is recognised as beneficial, increasing focus and productivity, but in large doses it can negatively impact the way that you work.

Stress can sneak up on you, so we decided to look at business owner stress, and five smart ways that you can keep it under control.

How stressed are you? Let’s look at five top ways that you or your business can be impacted by high levels of stress.

1. You lose your focus easily and struggle to stay on task

It’s frustrating when every notification on your computer distracts your attention and the slightest noise can make it impossible to work. This may not worry you on its own, but if every time you suffer a lack of focus you also experience a flutter of panic then the chances are that you’re suffering from too much stress.

2. You enter arguments easily and are often wound up

Very similar to the symptoms we experience when we lack sleep, irritability is a real signal of stress. The build up of pressure that we associate with stress combines with the chemical impact of stress on your body.

The result is that you lose your sense of humour, snap at people, and are quick to get into arguments. If you’ve noticed that you’re struggling to see the fun side of things you could be suffering from stress.

3. You’re increasingly dependent on consumption

If you’re consuming too much then it’s a sign that you’re experiencing high levels of stress. You may be hooked on shopping, reaching for another cup of coffee, dependent on chocolate or unable to go without that third glass of wine. If stress is hitting you then you’re likely to be tapping into your favourite vice. It might be worth asking yourself ‘why?’.

4. The quality of your work is reducing

Stress and pressure go hand in hand and that’s when you can find yourself making errors and struggling stay in control. Often this will be noticed by your peers, superiors or customers before you notice it yourself. If you do notice that the quality of your work is dropping then there’s a good chance someone else has too.

5. The speed of your work is slowing down

You may feel like your to-do list never stops growing but there are never enough hours in your day. If you notice deadlines slipping or that you are just battling to keep on top of your workload, you might be suffering from a drop in productivity. High stress levels make it hard to maintain the pace you need to get things done.

Look after yourself

If any of these signs of stress are familiar then you may already be in danger of letting stress take over. Whether you suffer from high stress levels or not, you might benefit from our five top tips to tame stress.

1. Take a positive stance

Maintaining a positive perspective can help to keep stress under control. Protect and build a happy place by feeling grateful for what you have and avoiding destructive comparisons with other people. Stamp out any negative feelings and actively repackage them as positive ones instead.

2. Focus on moving forward

If you can keep moving forward you can do a lot to calm the feelings of stress that build up inside. Keep momentum by focusing on the bigger picture and avoid being distracted by achieving perfection in the details. If you make mistakes that’s fine, just make sure you learn from them.

3. Take care of yourself

Mental stress is much more likely to take hold if you’re not looking after yourself physically. Focus on getting enough sleep and you’ll find your mind is much more able to cope with what the day brings. If your mind is healthy you’re less likely to be impacted emotionally by what goes on around you – prioritise switching off and scheduling in valuable down time with friends and family.

4. Focus on ‘why’ not ‘how’

Negativity is unproductive. Don’t waste energy on internal grumbles about how hard you’re working and how difficult your job is. Think instead about the end goals you are working towards: business success; your exit strategy; even just the weekend. The ‘why’ of what you are working on will help you to maintain your positive perspective.

5. Create routines for everyday tasks

Small decisions scattered across your day may seem insignificant as you think about them but actually waste valuable decision making energy. Create routines from simple decisions like what to wear; what to have for lunch; which way to drive to work. By standardising these small processes you can save your energy for the more challenging tasks.

Minimise financial stress

One of the most common sources of business owner stress is dealing with finances. You may find that the source of your stress is the financial future of your business. If that’s the case you might like to consider setting up a standby facility with Fifo Capital. This virtual application process ensures that you have options should you find your business face to face with a cash flow crisis. It’s free to set up and ensures you don’t have to waste your time worrying about how you would react if your business ran out of cash.

Stress rarely announces its arrival and once you start feeling its presence it’s easy for it to take over. Taking a proactive approach can help you to keep it under control. Be aware of the signs and you can try to manage the impact on both your team and the business overall.

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