How to Manage Stress Effectively

Stress can creep up on you when you least expect it. Relationships, family, bills, etc – all conspire to push us out of our comfort zones and into the hellish pit of self-doubt and worry that can lead to unwanted anxiety.

As a business owner, there’s so much more on the line for you than “Joe Ordinary” who works for someone else and has a (somewhat) guaranteed paycheck. You might, in fact, be Joe Ordinary’s employer.

Too busy businessman
photo credit: Domenico / Flickr

See if any of the following ring a bell:

  • Suppliers are coming at you from all angles, seeking delivery dates and expecting prompt payment for your previous orders.
  • The phone’s literally ringing off the hook with people who want something from you.
  • Perhaps your employees are close to a revolt of some sort for something “extra” they think you should be doing for, or giving to them.
  • You’re just in the beginning stages of getting your business off the ground and the “roadblocks” are starting to wear on you.
  • You have no time for hobbies, dating, or a family life because your business needs your full attention.

Whatever your dilemma, stress will only stay hidden below the surface for so long. When it surfaces as full-blown anxiety, you’re stuck with it for the rest of your life.

Yes, you just read that right.

For those of you who haven’t yet reached a tipping-point in your stress levels: Anxiety is forever. It isn’t that it can’t be managed effectively, or that you’ll never live a happy life; it isn’t a death sentence. However, once it manifests itself (both mentally and/or physically) and breaches the protective walls of your sub-conscious, it will remain your faithful traveling companion for life, and torment you at will thereafter.

So now that you know what you are up against, let’s look at some quick and easy tips for keeping yourself sane, despite whatever life might be throwing at you.

Businesswoman using task management tools

5 Great Stress Busting Tips

1. Time Management

This is number one for a very good reason. So few people understand how to manage their time. Get a timer and put it on your desk. If you spend all your time next to a computer (which most of us do) then use a desktop program found on your computer, or a smartphone app. If you know that you languish too long on certain projects, this is the best way to discipline yourself to get your butt in gear.

2. Say NO

Taking on too much business is going to kill you and/or your business. You either need to hire more people, improve your delegation or outsourcing skills – or just plain say NO! This happens more with startups than well-established businesses with a good management system already in place.

Regardless, we all suffer from the desire to take on more and more projects, which equal more and more money. The downside is that you can crash and burn mentally, and the extra stress will likely shorten your lifespan.

3. Stop – Challenge – Focus

This is borrowed from sales blogger Geoffrey James, who coined this method from sales-training-guru “Tim Roth”. You can draw your own conclusions about what the method entails, or read about this awesome stress busting method from the horse’s mouth at:

4. Unwind

The true road to success and fulfillment isn’t paved entirely by blood, sweat, and tears. It requires that you take time for yourself, your hobbies, family, etc. So many people let stress and the resultant anxiety overwhelm them because they have nothing to focus on but their business or career. Everything else comes secondary, until one day you come uncorked and you’re forced to deal with the fact that you can’t be “all work, all the time”.

Read the following article if you think that money and success will cure all that ails you: Famous People With Anxiety Disorders

5. Take Chances

I left this one til last because it will either strike a chord with you, or it won’t. Basically, the majority of people who live with stress and anxiety do so because they’ve spent their life “living on the fence”: “Should I, or shouldn’t I?”, “This could be a great move, but…”, etc.

Some of the happiest people in the world are those who blindly forge ahead, fearless of all consequence. While this can be unpractical and dangerous if done arbitrarily, try to take chances whenever you know that it’s only an unfounded fear of the unknown (not stubborn pragmatism) holding you back from making decisions that could advance your life and business.