Stress is one of the inescapable aspects of life, especially modern digital life, and sometimes it can get the best of you. This is especially true for entrepreneurs, including those with SMB. Saying stress is bad is a bit of an oversimplification as stress is often a necessary driving force in our lives. However, when stress gets out of control that’s when it can do more harm to your health, productivity and overall quality of life. So the key is to manage stress and we have some tips for you to do just that.
Sometimes we find ourselves swamped and feel overwhelmed. What to do first? How to get it all done? A simple prioritization strategy can help you out of this quagmire. Draw a small four by four grid – that’s 4 sections based on two criteria Urgency and Importance. List your tasks in each of the four categories. It should look something like this.
|Important and urgent||Important but not urgent|
|Not important but urgent||Not important and not urgent|
This will help you prioritize much better than a simple to do list. Tackle important and urgent tasks first then move on to what’s important but not urgent. Next comes urgent but not important – these are usually tasks with a deadline like bills and emails. Last but not least, deal with not important and not urgent. Although not critical, these are still tasks that must be completed.
- Just Say No
Along with prioritizing, declining what isn’t essential will ease your stress. If you aren’t enthusiastic about doing something and it isn’t really necessary, get used to saying “No”. It may take some practice, but you’ll find that it makes your life a lot simpler in the long run. Politely but firmly declining something you’re not interested in or simply don’t have the time for will lighten your load.
- Keep it Simple Stupid
It’s a popular mantra that is often forgotten in our convoluted digital lives. K.I.S.S. or keep it simple stupid is a good motto to prune the unnecessary or at least cut down when we can. For starters, try to focus on doing one thing at a time instead of juggling multiple tasks. It’s actually more efficient and less stressful. Although we are getting accustomed to multi-tasking in our digital lives, it is doing terrible things to our attention span and stress levels.
- Move it
The modern human being is an exceptionally sedentary creature. Glued to devices of some kind, we don’t move around much. This is not what evolution designed us for. Move around a little and you’ll do wonders for your health and stress. Exercise is an essential part of stress-busting although you might protest that you’re too tired to even think about it. The endorphins released after a workout do a lot for stress levels and state of mind, not to mention physical well-being. So find an activity you enjoy and ensure that a moderate workout, or intense if that’s your thing, is part of your routine. You’ll find yourself happier, more focused, better-equipped to handle work and life, and less stressed out. Even if stress does get to you, which is natural, working out is a great way to beat your stress.
In today’s digital age, you’re connected 24/7 whether it’s for work, entertainment or socializing. However, studies show that our health and stress levels can benefit from disconnecting. Plan some downtime periodically and unplug from digital distractions, particularly social media. The Stay Focused Chrome extension can block social media sites for a certain period of time.
- Don’t Skip the Zzzzz
Perhaps you’re used to accessing whatever you want, when you want and this is a good thing, within reasonable limits. But staying up late to watch Netflix or trawl social media every night is not helping you. It’s just disrupting your sleep cycle and doing damage to your health, focus, productivity and stress levels. Although you’d like to think you can function round the clock, you’ll find that a good night’s sleep makes it all easier and less stressful. You can function better, at work and in your personal life with a good sleep schedule.
- Outsource or Automate
Outsourcing can cut down on a lot of the tedium and stress in your life. Don’t think of it as a loss of power and control. It gives you more time – one of the most precious resources that we never have enough of. Automating repetitive tasks, whether in your personal or professional life, gives you the same benefit. Zapier, Fancy Hands and Zirtual are a few of the services available that can help you automate and outsource tasks.
These tips should help keep stress at bay. Take some time to figure out which tips work best for you. Everyone’s different but stress is universal and so is the need to cut down on it.