By Susan Guillory
I caught this post about how to motivate others, and realized that often the focus is on doing just that for others, when sometimes what we entrepreneurs really need is a little self-motivation. Running a business ain’t easy, folks. There are days when you’d rather stay buried under the covers than make tough decisions or face your shrinking bank account. And yet you still have to show up. Here are a few tips to make it a bit easier.
1. Break Down Your Tasks
Maybe you’ve got a hell of a week ahead of yourself. Six meetings. Five client calls. A stack of bills to pay. And customers to serve. You start out Monday desperately wishing it was already Friday.
While you can’t yet fast forward time (patent still pending), you can at least trick your mind into not getting overwhelmed. Rather than looking at everything you need to get done as a whole, break it down into bite-sized chunks. That might be day by day, or even hour by hour. Whatever works. But don’t stress about what comes beyond that time period. As Scarlett O’Hara says, tomorrow is another day. Focus on what needs to be done right now, and let the rest come in its own time.
2. Spend Time Away from the Office
Even if work is mounting on your desk, I encourage you to get away from the office, if only for a walk around the block. But if you can take a day or even a week off, do it. Don’t ignore the magical power of time off; not only will it reduce your chance of a heart attack, but it will also make you more productive when you return.
Getting away from the anxieties at work gives your brain time to recharge. You may even come up with creative solutions to problems you’d been racking your brain about for weeks once you give yourself a little space to breathe.
And as I said, if you can’t afford to take off much time, even a few hours can make a difference.
3. Treat Yourself Like You Would Others
We’re quick to nurture others, so why can’t we give ourselves the same courtesy? When you’re exhausted and stressed, you need pampering. Go to the gym to release your frustrations. Take a long, hot bath. Read a book. Drink a glass of wine. Your period of stress may last a few days or even a few weeks, but it’s temporary. In the meantime, treat yourself right to help get you back on track.
4. Ask for Help
I know that there’s a mentality among Type-A business owners that they have to do everything themselves, and that very often leads to burnout. Clearly that’s not working for you, so why not try something new?
Start by asking for help for one tiny thing. It might be a report that you don’t have time to put together. Ask your assistant to do it. See how that feels. Then do it with something else. As you release control, you’ll soon realize that you have capable people all around you who can lighten your load and get you back to being more efficient with your time.
Being stressed as an entrepreneur is inevitable. It’s how you handle it that will determine how quickly you bounce back.