Let’s face it, managing a small business is not a small task. It can be overwhelming and can lead to BIG levels of stress. I’ve been asked before – how do you do it all? Sometimes I wonder too and often think ‘with great difficulty’, however I have learnt a few things about managing stress during the time of running my own business, studying for 7 years at uni and working in a law firm. So I thought I would share the things that I’ve found work for me as I try to manage stress as a small business owner and hopefully they will also be helpful for you as either a small business owner, mother or just someone juggling a lot of different plates!
List making may or may not be in your personality profile. If it’s not, it’s time to learn. Making lists is my number one best way to achieve successful time management. There are two steps to making this practice as successful as possible. First, write all your tasks down, both small and big (does your brain feel less foggy already?). Second, prioritise them. Rank them in order from most to least important (if you’re doing this on a computer you can then reorganise the list, otherwise just work with your numbers on paper). Voila! Your daily planner is set – get going!
2. HAVE RELIABLE, RECOMMENDED SOURCES FOR OUTSOURCING
As talented as you are, the reality is that you just can’t do everything by yourself – it causes stress! You need reliable people around you to give you a hand. So, it’s time to compile a document with all the contacts that you use for outsourcing projects. I always outsource as much as I can practically and financially manage. This includes things like website development, video editing and printing resources. I use Zenprint when I need to produce a new business card or promo material.
3. HAVE CLEAR BOUNDARIES.
Running a small business can easily eat into every hour of your day, including when you’re trying to sleep. I think this is when small business becomes most overwhelming and I can’t emphasise enough just how important it is to have clear boundaries and stick to them.
Your friends and family need you just as much as your business does. So, as best as you are able, try to have defined working hours. Set specific time aside each day for yourself, your friends and your family and make a conscious decision not to think about work during this time. Also, if you’re working from home find an area that is your designated work space, preferably a room that you can physically shut the door to. Physical cues impact mental triggers.
4. REMEMBER WHAT IS GOING RIGHT – AND CELEBRATE IT!
In small business it can sometimes feel like everything is going wrong, especially if you are just starting out – missed deadlines, rejected applications, data hacks (I’ve experienced all of these myself recently). But, it is likely that you are doing a lot of things right too! You’ve started a business on your own for goodness sakes! So, take a moment to write down all of the things you have successfully achieved, even the small stuff, and take time to reflect on the wins. Make sure you celebrate some of the big wins too!
5. DON’T OVER-COMMIT
The fact is that whenever you say yes to one thing, you are effectively saying no to something else. You cannot do everything, so make sure you choose wisely. Are you current commitments helping you reach your goals? Do you need to reassess and say no to some commitments you have had for a long time? Learning to say no is an important skill to learn. Before you say yes, make sure you have properly considered your current commitments, your available time and whether or not the new proposition supports your business properly.
Now you’ve read them. Time to choose at least one or two suggestions from the list and implement them! Which ideas have you chosen and how are you going to integrate them into your business management? Or just into your everyday life management? Leave me a comment and let me know how you go!