Running a business can be stressful. Your stress can come from many different sources. When it comes to looming deadlines, issues with team members, a to-do list that’s a mile long, or a bad work-life balance this are all issues that can lead to immense stress. Regardless of why you’re feeling stress, I’m sure it’s not a great feeling.
Stress can lead to many issues that affect your productivity and lead you to burn out. The best first step you can take it t acknowledge your stress and try to determine the source. Understand how stress affects your productivity and learn some key ways to avoid burnout.
How Stress Affects Your Productivity
Time Management Issues
On the bright side, feeling a light amount of stress can make you feel motivated to perform under pressure. However, it’s a different story if you’re feeling too overwhelmed to complete a task in time.
A big part of being productive is using the time and energy you have available to make progress and get things done. If you’re feeling too stressed with too much on your plate, you may not even know where to start. This can lead to you losing precious time in your daily schedule and ultimately missing deadlines.
To fix this, try to limit how much you take on and track how long it takes you to complete certain tasks. You may find that you’re setting unrealistic expectations for yourself which can lead to more stress.
Lack of Focus
One of the major ways that stress affects your productivity is by causing you to lose focus. When you’re not focused, you can’t be productive at all. You may start to forget things, or fail to process new things you’re hearing and learning overall.
One thing you can do to remedy this is to try to remove or minimize the source of stress in your life. If it’s clearly causing a distraction, then it needs to be taken care of before you try to focus on anything else. Consider getting rid of other distractions too that could be causing stress like your cell phone notifications, email, T.V. etc. You may want to do things like avoid checking email when you’re working on an important task to help you focus better.
Negative Effects on Your Health
Stress can have a lot of negative effects on your health. Some of those health issues can include: headaches, anxiety, chest pains, fatigue, irritability, and depression just to name a few. I know that in my family, chest pains and anxiety are a common health side effect of being stressed out.
As you could imagine, a decline in your health can definitely lead to a decline in your productivity. But work aside, the first thing you’ll need to prioritize is your health and work on eliminating your source or stress.
Start getting more sleep, eating healthier and adding some exercise to your weekly routine. You also may want to talk with your doctor to discuss ways that you can eliminate stress in your life and become healthier overall.
How to Avoid Burnout
Burnout is just another way how stress affects your productivity. It’s no secret that immense amounts of stress can eventually lead to burnout. Still, this is a serious situation that you should try your best to avoid. Here are some solutions you may want to consider.
Keep a Realistic Schedule
Trying to do too much in a small amount of time can often lead to you burning out. Try to pace yourself by prioritizing your work and maintaining a realistic schedule.
Be honest about what you can handle and how much time you have each day. Be sure to keep an organized calendar so you don’t overbook yourself.
Know Your Stress Triggers
It’s important to know what your stress triggers are. For me it’s definitely taking on too much work or working with difficult clients. I also don’t like to feel super rushed to turn things in. When you know your stress triggers, you can start to get more selective about who you work with, which tasks you take on, your work environment, and more.
Don’t forget to delegate. Hire on a team member or contractor who you can pass off tasks to regularly. It’s important not to limit yourself to just your personal time and energy even if you’re a solopreneur.
Take Scheduled Breaks
Schedule in downtime regularly so you don’t forget to take breaks. Working all day non-stop can easily lead to burnout. Aim to start and end your workday at a certain time. Of course, there will be days when you work extra hours but try not to do this everyday.
In addition to taking breaks throughout the day, give yourself extended time off like taking weekends off or taking vacation time every few months. You don’t have to actually go on vacation. Rather, you can do a staycation or just relax and regroup at home for a few days.
Set Up Your Own Benefits Plan
Of course, you may be burning out and not taking time off because you feel you don’t have the time or money to do this. Sometimes it’s hard for a self-employed person to take time off especially if they’re not getting paid for it.
Prepare to avoid burnout in advance by saving a percentage of your income each month. Use the money to build your own benefits package so you can have reserves for ‘paid time off’.
Find ways to automate your business and create a plan to delegate tasks when you take time to step away from your business. Don’t worry, things won’t come crashing down just because you take a week off from work.
Now that we know how stress affect your productivity, it’s safe to say that we all may want to examine various sources of stress in our lives. Overall, reducing stress may take some time but you can speed up the process with the right strategy. Keep these tips in mind for so you can help lower stress when running your business and avoid burnout before it even surfaces.