As they say, there’s two sides to every coin. 

Take a look at the entrepreneurial personality type, for example.

On the one hand, relentlessly driven to succeed.  An action-taker.  Willing to keep going when others are ready to quit.

But on the flip side, that same relentless drive can come with a tendency to push too hard, and entrepreneurs can easily get so busy that the stress can become overwhelming.

Sound familiar?

Stress Management Strategies for the Busy Entrepreneur

Burnout is a real danger for entrepreneurs, so I put together this complete guide to stress management to help you avoid succumbing to that ugly fate. 

In it, you’ll find some real practical strategies for managing and reducing your stress that you can apply in your personal life and in your business.

And since we’re all super busy, let’s get right into it, shall we?

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #1 – Elevate Your Basic Personal Care

If you’re a stressed out and busy entrepreneur, the first place you should probably look is your own personal care.

And that’s going to be: Food, exercise and sleep.

Because these are often the weakest links, and they can have the most immediate effect with a just few subtle tweaks.

Diet and Stress

It’s very common for busy entrepreneurs to simply eat whatever’s convenient or to even skip meals altogether. 

Besides the obvious issues with junk food, such as feeling sluggish, the danger with skipping meals is that a lack of nutrients in your body can cause your blood sugar level to drop, which can lead to further stress.

So, I encourage you to give your eating habits some thought, because when you eat well, your body will cope better with stress and you’ll have more energy for your business.

Exercise and Stress

I get it.  It can be hard to even think about exercise when you’re busy building and running a business

But you have to.

Even if it’s just a brisk ten-minute walk around the block every day. 

You’ll get those endorphins pumping, clear your mind, and help your body rid itself of those destructive stress hormones like cortisol.

Tip:  Schedule a bit of exercise into your daily calendar so you won’t forget.

Sleep and Stress

It’s quite simple, if you don’t sleep well, you won’t perform well.  Your concentration, focus and energy levels will all be lower than you need them to be.

And when you’re stressed, your sleep invariably suffers.

It’s a nasty cycle to get caught up in. 

I’ve been there myself, so I put together an article with some advice to help you improve your sleep routine and put an end to those sleepless nights.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #2 – Write It All Down

As a busy entrepreneur, it’s a given that you’ll have a lot on your mind. 

All the endless tasks you’ve got to do, conversations to have, software to research,”situations” that need your attention. 

You know what I mean.

And quite often, all those thoughts will rattle around in your head in an endless loop, which will only stress you out more and make it hard to sleep.

Write down your goals
Write down your plans.

So I highly recommend writing all those things down so you can bring some relief to your beleaguered mind.

A brain dump, if you will.

Because when you get all those “things” out of your head and onto paper in front of you, you’ll be able to organize and schedule your tasks and come up with solutions for any challenges you’re facing.

This will help you create a mental environment that is free of clutter and distracting stressful noise.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #3 – Use Organizational Tools

As your business grows there’s going to be more and more things to keep track of and it’s just too stressful to try to remember every detail in your head.

Also, it’s impossible.

Without the right help, you’ll be living in chaos.

Instead, try using organizational tools to help you:

  • Organize your projects.
  • Provide you with reminders and notifications for every task and appointment.
  • Streamline your communication so that’s it’s as efficient as possible. 

Here are some recommended essentials:

  • Project Management – I like Todoist, but there are many other task and project management apps on offer.
  • Communication – Slack and Zoom are two popular tools for good reason.
  • Storage and File Sharing – Google Drive and Dropbox are two of the big dogs in this space.

There’s a small learning curve with every tool, but it’s well worth it considering all the time you’ll save and the stress you’ll eliminate.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #4 – Automate Your Processes

Reducing your to-do list and eliminating recurring tasks can only help to lighten your stress load.

So, wherever possible, look to automate your processes. 

Bank deposits and transfers; email and social media feeds, and onboarding processes for clients and employees are just some of the areas you can start with.

Here’s a good resource for some of the top automation apps available.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #5 – Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

I’ve seen more than a few entrepreneurs try to do it all themselves. 

And what do they all have in common?  High levels of stress.

I get it… It can be hard to let go of certain tasks, especially if you believe that you’re the best person for that task or if you think you’re the only one who can do it well.

Business owners try to do everything
Business owners often try to do it all.

You just have to find the right people, take care of them, build trust and move forward together.

It’s my experience that delegating gets easier after the first time.

So, if this is a sticky one for you, try starting with something simple to delegate, evaluate, and go from there.

It’s also my experience that you probably won’t want to make cost your deciding factor here. 

Paying a higher amount for quality help (so that the work is done right the first time) will save you tons of money in the long run.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #6 – Force Yourself to Take a Break

This was a difficult one for me personally, because there’s always so much to do when running an online business.  Especially when you’re just getting it going.

But that’s the thing. 

There’s always going to be something that needs your attention.

So you can’t just grind yourself into the dust.

Forcing yourself to take a break (before life does it for you) will pay dividends when you come back with your batteries recharged and your mind rested.

Literally schedule a day off if this is a tricky one for you, and observe how your focus and energy improves once you get back to work after your day off.

Pro Tip:  Get a massage on your day off!

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #7 – Practice Gratitude

To be grateful.

Studies consistently show that practicing gratitude can bring about a whole host of positive effects, from lowering your blood pressure to helping you sleep better.

And this means less stress for the busy entrepreneur.

As they say, grateful people are happy people. 

And that’s because when you consciously express gratitude, your brain releases dopamine and serotonin, the happy hormones.

And when you’re happy, it’s easier to tackle challenges and persevere over the long haul.

A positive attitude can be cultivated by simply recounting to yourself the things you have to be grateful for. 

And it can be simple stuff, like having fresh water to drink and food in the fridge.

You can do this by journalling, or simply saying it aloud to yourself.

Personally, I like to add this to my morning routine to set a positive and stress-free tone for the day.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #8 – Create a Morning and Evening Routine

The beginning and the end.  The bookends of the day.

Having set routines may be more important than you realize.

Because it’s all too easy to just swing out of bed and start winging it, but this invites chaos, distraction and all kinds of opportunities to waste your time.

But a solid morning routine will allow you to:

  • Set a positive tone for your day.
  • Dial in your focus.
  • Motivate yourself.
  • Organize your actions.
Create your morning routine
Your morning routine sets the tone for the day.

And on the other end of things, a relaxing evening routine will help you unwind, calm your mind and prepare yourself for a refreshing night’s sleep.

I invite you to try carving out your own routines and see whether they positively affect the flow of your day and help lower your stress levels.

Remember, they don’t have to be complicated.

Here are some resources to help you:

How to create your ideal morning routine

How to create an evening routine

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #9 – Clearly Define Your Goals

When you clearly define your goals you make it possible to create a step-by-step blueprint for achieving them.

It’s just a matter of reverse-engineering all the little tasks you’ll have to do from beginning to end.

This allows you to organize and schedule your days and gives them structure. 

You’ll always know what you should be focusing on, and this helps reduce the stress that comes with overwhelm.

Entrepreneur Stress Relief Tip #10 – Adopt Some Zen Habits

I use breath work and meditation every day to calm my mind and body, and I highly recommend this practice. 

And if you’re thinking that you have to get all woo-woo and sit cross-legged in front of a candle, Om-ing away, think again.
 
 I mean, you can do that if you want to, no judgement, but it’s certainly not necessary.  😉

What Is Meditation?

You might find it helpful to think of meditation as a way of creating a space between your thoughts. 

And the more you meditate, the bigger that space can become.  And it’s in this space where calm and peace reign. 

Even just a few minutes a day will make a difference to your stress.  And the science backs it up.

Meditation lowers your stress
Meditation creates calmness.

I like to think of my mind as an office.  I use it to think strategically when I need to, but I leave and close the door behind me when it’s time to rest.

If you want some extra guidance to get started, I highly recommend the Breethe app. 

They have a learn-to-meditate series and even a catalogue of travel sleep stories for adults that are a colorful and extremely effective way to fall asleep fast.

Stress Busting Support for the Busy Entrepreneur

There you have it.  A virtual buffet of stress-reducing strategies for the busy entrepreneur.

It’s an all-you-can-eat affair, but taking on just a few of these at a time is probably the advisable course.

And if staying disciplined with new habits is difficult for you, I’m always here to help keep you accountable.

To your success!

Nigel Cook
Accountability Coach