Our website redesign adventure, at the beginning of this year, helped us identify several business stress management techniques for pulling off a big business project, on top of daily business duties. I am pretty sure that you will identify with the struggle, and find help in the following tips on our infographic.
Business Stress Can Kill
It is hard to find the time to take care of the business that takes care of you. It pays your employees, as well as your own bills. It adds to the economic strength of your community and to the nation at large. Your business is a crucial part of your life, and it probably takes a lot from you, to do it well.
As the years go by, things need freshening. Whether it is your bricks and mortar location, your branding, website, brochures. Everything outlives its original design or installation, and needs to be updated.
But, of course, the easiest thing in the world is to put off those types of projects. And doing so leaves the business owner carrying a load of secret guilt.
Having faced this in our business, we tried to quantify the effect is was having. While it is difficult to put into numbers, we do know that undone projects weigh heavily on our minds, and ate away at the creativity that we could have enjoyed on other projects. In other words, internally, it made us feel STRESSED out.
According to research, by two Stanford professors and a former Stanford doctoral student now at Harvard Business School, business stress — such as long hours and lack of work-life balance — contributes to at least 120,000 deaths each year. Crazy, right?
Obviously, we have to take this seriously.
5 Business Stress Management Techniques
- Define the exact nature of the project – Stay Focused
- Make a mind-map of all of the steps to completion – No Rabbit Trails
- Make a reasonable, but clear deadline – Be Flexible, while Completion-Oriented
- Break the project into small, do-able chunks – No Super Hero Syndrome
- Take care of yourself along the way – Body, Mind, Spirit
Okay, so you have to narrow down the project. It is easy, if a number of things have been let go long enough, to take on the whole shebang, but that will end in failure as the effort will be too great to maintain. Start with a small specific project that you know you can complete. The satisfaction of completion will fuel the next project.
Write down all the steps, and materials, that you will need to reach completion. If you are doing a remodel of your office (or a website redesign), your contractor / webmaster should do this part for you, but be involved in making sure you both agree on the details and the materials, so there are no nasty surprises half-way through that will catapult the project into premature cessation. Using mind mapping software helps you visualize all the pieces and parts of the project. Here are some mind mapping software reviews to get you started.
From all this data you have collected, create a reasonable deadline. I mean, a real date on the calendar. Then, from that date, double the time, and that is your actual end-point. Everyone, even seasoned professionals, tend to think incorrectly about how long things take, and they rarely build any margins into the time line. Be prepared for some unexpected things to happen along the way that might push out your deadline, but DO make a new one and stick to the new one, unless something absolutely has to change it again. Do not accept the exception to be the rule. If you find your timeline changing constantly, go back to the first two steps and see where you went wrong and rebuild your timeline and stick to it.
Now you are ready to break the job into small daily parts. Delegate tasks to people, where they are working in their strengths, so that the added workload is spread around enough that no one feels like they are singled out to bear the burden. Build a team that will help you get to the finish line. Give them a way to check things off the list so that they can see daily progress.
Lastly, a long project requires a sustainable effort. Take care of yourself!
The only way you can do that is by eating several small, light meals, sleeping well, and taking regular breaks.
While we did pull some late nights when we were redesigning our website, we kept them to a minimum so we could cross the finish line. We drank KyoGreen with Kelp three times a day for energy. Took magnesium citrate to help us relax at night, and to sleep well. We took mental breaks out of the office. We did some planning, while walking, as that turns on certain neural networks. Some of our best ideas happened while treading the hallways.
And finally, take care of your spirit. We are whole people. We cannot deny the needs of one part of ourselves without a breakdown in another. Meditate, pray, sing, dance. Refresh your soul with beauty, nature and a quiet inner self.
We would love to learn your business stress management techniques! Add them in the comments below.