This blog was origionally posted in Body and Soul
Anxiety is climbing in Australia, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics reporting that anxiety-related problems have increased from 3.8 per cent of the total population in 2011–12 to 11.2 per cent in 2014–2015.
While there aren’t firm statistics on stress and anxiety among small business owners, I think we all agree that running a business can be incredibly stressful—long working hours (particularly during the start-up phase), ongoing uncertainty over cashflow, and the inevitable blurring of boundaries between work and home—especially if you happen to work from home.
In the entrepreneurial community, too many of us think anxiety is just part and parcel of running your own gig, and you should just wear the burden. But I’m here to dispel that myth. After suffering from a severe panic attack in 2015, I knew there had to be a better way to run my business. Along with the invaluable support I received from a range of sources, I learned that, for me, organisation is crucial in managing anxiety.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, or just want to inject a little more calm into your entrepreneurial life, try these seven anxiety-minimising tips for better business.
Put it in a list. Not only does a list enable you to see what is really on your schedule, you also have the power to prioritise your to-do items. If it’s not urgent, don’t rush it. In fact, try putting those less important items on hold—this gives you the mental space to focus on the real priorities. And what’s the best thing about a list? The sweet sweet feeling of crossing off your completed items. Organisation (and satisfaction) guaranteed.
2. Cull cull cull
Nobody’s got time for an overflowing email. If your inbox is crammed with newsletters you can’t remember subscribing to, it’s time to do a cull. Make yourself your beverage of choice and sit down at your desk for some de-cluttering. It might feel like a chore at first, but clicking that ‘unsubscribe’ button is oh so satisfying.
My hot tips? Use a separate email for online shopping, and, if you have kids, use a separate email for everything to do with them, too. If you keep your business emails separate from your personal life, you’ll be less likely to overlook things that matter.
3. Turn off your phone
Restricting calls to set times of the day can make you work more effectively. Create a set time in the morning to make your own calls and another time later in the day to return calls you’ve missed. By avoiding the temptation to answer the phone every time it rings, you can stay focused on the big-ticket items. It’s okay to be unavailable at times. In fact, it might just be the best thing you can do for your business—and your health.
4. Learn to say ‘no’
Embrace the power of ‘no’. Identify the activities (and people) that inspire, challenge and propel you forward. If an invitation doesn’t fall into that category, then do you really need to accept it? After all, time is a precious resource. Learn to trust your gut—if it doesn’t feel right for you or your business, then it’s better to say no at the outset, rather than waste multiple people’s time.
5. Plan your day
By spending 10 minutes at the end of each day to plan for your next day, you’ll set yourself up for a more productive, calmer start to the morning. Don’t let it become an onerous task – just a basic ‘to do’ list can help clear your mind for a good night’s sleep and help you be better organised.
6. Confirm your appointments
Yes, that 2pm appointment might have been scheduled in your calendar for weeks, but unless you take the time to shoot a quick text or email to confirm it, you might just be wasting your time. By checking on the other party’s availability, you can make sure they have not forgotten, or been affected by sickness or another circumstance beyond their control. Your time matters—when you learn to value it, you help reduce frustration and enjoy a calmer working week.
7. Have a morning routine.
Sometimes the overwhelming number of choices and decisions we are faced with at every turn can contribute to feelings of anxiety. For me, having a morning routine that cancels the need for decision-making at such an early hour is crucial. Implement your own routine—try exercising at the same time every morning, starting the day with 20 minutes of meditation, or a regular breakfast date with a loved one. A calm peaceful morning routine helps set your day off to a good start, no matter how busy the rest of your diary looks!
ARE YOU STRUGGLING WITH ANXIETY?
Make sure you seek some assistance.
Lifeline Phone: 13 11 14
Please also feel free to reach out to Jemimah.