There are many words to describe the entrepreneurial experience: exhilarating; challenging; all-consuming; rewarding; frustrating. I would add "stressful" to the list. Here are ten ways to manage the inevitable stress that entrepreneurs face:
1. Realize that the only person who can put pressure on you is you. Have you ever noticed that some people let criticism just roll off their backs while others are greatly affected by it? The difference is in how they choose to handle criticism, pressure, and adversity.
2. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Focus on what you can control.
3. Compartmentalize stress when necessary. If there’s a problem at work, leave it at work and don’t bring it home with you. This is particularly important if your business partner is your spouse.
4. When dealing with a severely stressful or intense situation, take it one day at a time. Work your way through it. Don’t try to predict what tomorrow will bring. Just put your head down and work through the day.
5. Plan your day based on what works for you. Working 15 hours a day won’t necessarily help you through stressful times. In fact, it may make things worse. I used to work in the office from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and then go workout or play golf. After dinner, I would typically work two to three hours and concentrate on longer-range issues. This schedule worked for me and kept me sane.
6. Delegate as much as you can. You need a way to offload as much work as possible so you can concentrate on the critical strategies that will minimize stress and help you meet your goals for growth and continued profitability.
7. Maintain a to-do list and continually reprioritize tasks. Designate each task as an A, B, or C item, with the A items being the most critical and C the least important.
8. Accept that it’s okay not to be perfect. Not everything you say or do needs to be perfect. Lower your standards, especially during stressful times.
9. Spend at least an hour a day exercising. Lifting weights in particular is a great way to help manage stress.
10. Consider how lucky you are to be where you are, doing what you’re doing. You're following your dream; life is good.