Now I don’t know whether it’s as extreme as that for most people but I am certain that at times everyone running a business experiences some sort of stress. It’s definitely an intense job – if it was easy, everyone would be doing it!
Both of the posts I’ve featured today I found via the The Business Bakery. If you don’t already subscribe to her newsletters, you definitely should! Julia is amazing and I guarantee they’ll be one of the only newsletters you subscribe to that you’ll actually open every single week.
Method 1 – JUST DO SOMETHING!
Sounds silly doesn’t it? If I could just do something then I wouldn’t be having these problems, right? Wrong! I’ve found that even by doing small 5 minute tasks, that usually find themselves right at the very bottom of my to do list, I can build up to bigger tasks.
The method of “just doing something” is from Zen Habits’ Leo Babauta. His post is not necessarily about businesses but about self doubt and discouragement in general. It’s focused on when you’re not feeling good enough and don’t feel like you can do anything. His recommendation:
“Just do. Put your mind completely in the activity, in the motion and ideas and emotions, in your body and breath and surroundings. Be completely mindful, completely immersed…And lose yourself in the doing”
Forget about your worries (Hakuna Matata!) and just focus on the task at hand. [Tweet This!]
Separate large tasks into small chunks
Leo Babauta says “Now get started: begin actually doing it. Don’t worry about whether you’ll do it for 10 minutes or an hour”.
Notice the word “start”. It doesn’t have to be small tasks all the time. If you’re feeling ambitious you might pick a larger task and just start it. You’ll probably find that once you take the first step that you won’t want to stop! Help yourself even further by separating big tasks into small chunks that seem much less daunting.
Now try it!
Pick something from your to do list that you’re particularly drawn to, either a small five-minute task or a larger one that you’ve split into chunks, and just start doing it without thinking about anything else. Remove distractions (phone, TV, social media) so you can’t chicken out and then focus solely on that task! Simple as that.
Once you pick something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it might be, it’s something that you can tick off your list and put behind you. One tiny step forward but that’s all you need. The more you do, the more you’ll feel you are able to do. Read the full post by Zen Habits here.
Method 2 – Take a day off or a ‘Think Day’*
The 2nd suggestion from Julia herself at The Business Bakery is to take a ‘Think Day’. A ‘Think Day’ is like a day off to de-stress and gather your thoughts. It’s supposed to inspire you and help you come back to your business feeling refreshed.
If I feel overwhelmed or particularly anxious or stressed, I do tend to take at least a couple of hours off that day. You’d think this would damage my progress as I’m not working 24/7 like a lot of business owners but actually I come back feeling more productive and better about myself. It’s not good for you to work constantly. You wouldn’t do it in your 9-5 job, so don’t do it in your business!
You can have a useful day off, not just a slobbing on the sofa day off
For some, a day off lounging about on the sofa eating chocolate might be just what they need to bounce back with more energy! Others might seek a more useful day off, or a ‘Think Day’.
I like using my ‘Think Days’ as ‘Learn Days’ (although I admit, I have had a couple of lazy chocolate eating days watching Jeremy Kyle! Guilty pleasure!). I collect together all of my business books that I bought eagerly when I first started my business but haven’t yet read, and I begin reading them and taking notes. I also spend time on Bloglovin’ reading articles that motivate and inspire me.
I often find at the end of my ‘Think Days’ / days off, that I can’t wait to get back to work and I end up being a whole lot more productive. Sometimes I don’t even make it through a whole day off!
Don’t feel guilty about taking time away from your business
It might seem counter-productive to take a day off from your busy business but in the long-term it could help you.
Don’t feel guilty as if you’re wasting a day of your business because you’re not. If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, then taking a day away from your business or source of stress might actually help you begin again the next day feeling recharged and able to take on the world!