Starting and running your own business can be exciting and rewarding, but it can also be very stressful. For most of our almost 40 year marriage my husband has been an entrepreneur and I have sometimes worked with him. Having built my own business as a Stress Reduction Coach I have been reflecting on the stresses of being an entrepreneur.
Signs and sources of stress
Some of the signs of stress overload include irritability, anxiety about the sustainability of the business, and/or high business debt. Relationships within the family can suffer if they do not understand the entrepreneurial drive or the time and effort it takes to start and run a business. For women entrepreneurs, the job of running the household and balancing work and home can create enormous stressors. When you work from home, all the household tasks that need to be done can pull you away from your business. People who are drawn to be entrepreneurs are sometimes idea people who don’t like detail and repetitive tasks. Having to work on those things can create stress as well. And when you’re stressed it’s harder to concentrate and focus.
Organize your environment
One of the solutions is to reduce the stress and create an environment that discourages stress. Have a place where you can keep everything together and organized. A written plan of action for the business posted where you can see it along with a daily plan can help you focus the time you have available.
A system that works for me
I am not a person who comes to organization easily and I have struggled to find a way that works. Daytimers and lists help for a short while, but I have never been able to keep up with them. One thing I have found that works is to have a “big picture overview” of what needs to be done where I can see it. I have a poster board size piece of “static cling” presentation sheet that adheres to my door. It can be easily rolled up and removed if needed. I have several categories that I’ve posted at the top of the sheet, such as “website,” “presentation,” etc. These are written on standard sized post-it notes so they can be easily removed and changed. I brainstorm everything I need to do on small post-it notes. After I brainstorm, I then organize the notes in the appropriate columns. I also have a category that says TODAY for the urgent and important things. I can glance at the poster while I am working and see what else I might need to do and when I finish what I need to do, I can throw the post-it away. If something comes up that is not posted, I can put it on a post-it note and put it where it needs to be.
This “system” helped me write many graduate papers and I used it when I planned and wrote my dissertation. Now it helps me as I plan and work my business. This is just one technique that helps me reduce the stress of being an entrepreneur.