Learning to manage stress can help business owners enhance performance, says Teresa Campbell.
The stress you experience as a business owner or manager can be worse at certain times of the year. This may be due to the cyclical nature of your business, rising (or declining) demand for your products or services, looming deadlines, staff shortages, personal or family crises, economic uncertainty and so on. In our 24/7 world, technology keeps us connected to our work virtually all of the time. This culture of constant interruptions, distractions and information overload means our minds often don’t get a chance to rest. Tiredness combined with stress can impact our ability to make good decisions as well as reducing our efficiency and productivity.
For many business owners, financial worries are high on the list of the issues that cause work-related stress. So, improving the financial strength of your business is an important step. Key areas to focus on in this regard include improving your financial results, cash flow, working capital management and return on capital employed.
Elsewhere on this blog, you’ll find practical tips that to help you get a grip on your finances: for example we have previously covered topics such as how to optimise your working capital and how to improve your business resilience.
Self-management strategies to reduce stress
There are also various self-management strategies that can help you reduce stress. Looking after your health should be top of the list. This will also help you to maximise your efficiency and personal performance.
Business owners are sometimes perfectionists so it’s worth keeping an eye on this tendency and, if necessary, learn to keep your perfectionism in check.
Other practical tips include:
• Drink water. Dehydration can increase stress levels.
• Get a good night’s sleep. Ways to improve your sleep quality may include switching your phone off at night.
• Make time to exercise. Studies have shown that regular exercise can be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress.
• List your top distractions and take practical steps to reduce them.
• Learn to manage your anxiety and worry. Focus on the things you can control and don’t waste energy worrying about things you can’t control.
• Prioritise your tasks and set goals. Trying to do everything at once can mean that nothing gets done. Know your best and worst times of the day and learn to manage your time accordingly.
• Learn to delegate and know when you are not the right reason for a specific role/task.
• Keep your business finances under control. Don’t ignore problems. Face up to reality quickly when you are faced with challenges and remember that the earlier you discuss emerging problems with your accountant, the easier it will be to find solutions. Even very difficult problems can often be overcome once they are identified and tackled in time.
Finally, remember that stress isn’t always a bad thing. Some business owners and managers thrive on pressures that cause others to worry and struggle. Regardless of which group you’re in, the steps outlined above may help you to enhance your productivity and improve your business performance. For more information and/or advice, contact our Business Advisory team.
Teresa Campbell l Director