5 Easy steps for managing work stress

Stressed looking man with steam coming out of ears.

I’ve worked with a number of entrepreneurs on increasing productivity to achieve their goals. On the surface, becoming productive is easy, it’s about learning new habits and getting rid of the old. We’ve all heard the simple advice: manage your time, take breaks, exercise and take time out to be with yourself. However, despite people knowing what to do, the one emotion that prevents people from listening to good advice and doing what is necessary is fear.

As an entrepreneur, it is important to confront your fears and address them. If you don’t manage your fear, it can creep in and takeover, making you feel irrational, needy and miserable. This is far from ideal when you need to meet with potential clients and investors or motivate your team. Your energy is everything. Positive energy and optimism make you much more successful with your stakeholders. Here are five steps for managing your stress:

1. Be aware of the worst-case scenarios

Imagine the worst-case scenarios that could happen in your business and plan accordingly. If you need funding, give yourself six months to find it. Schedule on your calendar the day when fund seeking needs to begin, put in enough time for a meeting and sufficient time to make a plan. Then let it go and relax. By giving yourself sufficient lead-time and scheduling the necessary amount of time in, you can take that fear off of your mind for the time being.

2. Be kind to yourself and have fun

Don’t forget to have fun, learn to lighten up. Stress can be a difficult habit to get rid of. Ensuring that you have enough fun in your life can help to alleviate this.

3. Surround yourself with positive people

Hang out with positive and inspiring like-minded people, such as other entrepreneurs and mentors. These people will enable you to think more positively, connect you to the right people and come up with creative solutions to the issues that you are dealing with.

4. Keep positive

Eustress is positive stress when you feel excited and engaged. Eustress is the fight response in our fight or flight response. Eustress makes you feel good and enhances productivity, but be aware that too much has the same effect as too much stress. It can lead to negative stress and a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Use the eustress to be productive but ensure you take time out to relax and calm down.

5. Avoid an information overload

There is a tonne of great information out there, however too much clogs up your thinking and traps you in the ‘I need to be doing X’ syndrome. This is when you convince yourself that you need to do that one thing to make you successful. This leads to an overwhelming to-do list taking your focus off what is important. Limit the amount of information you take in to just what is relevant.

Although in many ways, the points raised might seem like common sense, it is surprising just how many entrepreneurs are succumbing to fear unnecessarily because they are unaware of how best to combat it. By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to a fear-free venture.

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