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Is Small Business Ownership Stressing You Out? 5 Tips for Staying Sane

Aug. 14, 2014
Small Business
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Running a small business is gratifying in many ways, but it can also be stressful. Being the CEO of your own brand means you’re the one responsible for managing issues large and small. This can definitely start weigh on your psyche over time!

If small business ownership is starting to make you feel tense, you’re in luck. The Nerds have five easy tips for staying sane that you can start using today. Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in.

1. Plan a vacation, even if it’s tough

Small business owners might theoretically have the flexibility to take a vacation whenever they want, but it seems that most aren’t getting away very often. And when they do, many are still actively connected with work. An August 2014 study from the small business lender OnDeck shows that:

  • 61% of small business owners planning a vacation will only take five business days off per year. The average corporate worker in America takes 10 business days off per year.
  • Only 47% of small business owners with a company that’s been open for less than 10 years will take a vacation.
  • 67% of small business owners will check in with work at least once per day while on vacation.

But failing to take some time off is one of the worst things you can do for your sanity. Small business expert and author Susan Solovic told us that:

“Taking an actual vacation, even if it is just a few days, is one of the best things you can do for your personal health and well-being…Getting away from the day-to-day grind gives you time to relax and refresh…Experts say that when you come back to work, you’ll be more creative and productive which ultimately translate into greater success.”

All this means that, even if it’s tough, make it a priority to plan a vacation from time to time. It’s good for you – and your business.

2. Set boundaries with technology

Being constantly connected to your work is undoubtedly convenient – smartphones allow you to respond to clients and investors by voice, email, and text whenever the need arises. Plus, there are tons of great apps for small business that will help you manage your enterprise anytime, anywhere.

But this can also be a significant source of stress for small business owners. There’s pressure to stay plugged in at all hours of the day, which makes it tough to establish any semblance of work/life balance.

A good solution to this is setting up some technology-related ground rules. Small business consultant Barry Moltz advises:

“Set boundaries…this can be places or times, and stick with it. For example, I never bring my phone into my bedroom and shut it off after 8 p.m. at night.”

3. Make time to exercise

At the end of a long day, the last thing you probably feel like doing is going for a long run. But hitting the gym is a great way to put a tense mind at ease – numerous studies prove it. Not only will you gain the opportunity to disconnect for an hour or so (see above) but working up a sweat will also help you work through some of the stressors of the day.

Carve out time for exercise as often as possible; your body and mind with thank you!

4. Reduce distractions during the day

You probably already know that workplace distractions can interfere with productivity. Getting fewer things done often means that the workday bleeds into your evenings, and pretty soon it feels like you never get a break. Talk about getting stressed out!

The best thing to do is reduce distractions as much as you can. For example:

  • Limit exposure to social media while you’re at work; only interact with it for business purposes.
  • Find a tactful way to keep talkative or gossipy employees on task.
  • Optimize your workspace for productivity – this usually means keeping paperwork organized and getting rid of clutter
  • Keep your calendar up-to-date so that you can plan your day effectively.

5. Establish a firm “end time” to your day (and work week)

Many small business owners feel like they need to work all hours to keep their companies afloat. But it’s psychologically taxing to work continuously, and this can eventually have a negative impact on your mental health. Solovic recommends:

“Make sure you have at least one ‘day off’ during the weekend that you spend doing something you enjoy. Establish a ‘cut-off’ time each day where you mentally leave the job behind. You’ll find that when you return you are refreshed and re-energized.”

The takeaway: Staying sane as small business owner can be tough, but taking a few proactive steps can help keep you healthy and happy. Use our tips above to make your experience as an entrepreneur as rewarding as possible!

Stressed out businessman image via Shutterstock