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How to cut down on stress when running a startup

If Kelly McGonigal is to be believed, stress is a natural and vital part of our day-to-day lives. She says the best way to combat it is through a more positive outlook, and the way to do this is to view stress as your body’s way of helping you rise to the challenge you’re facing.

While this is great news for entrepreneurs whose lives are often filled with stressful decisions and challenges to face, it doesn’t mean we should actively seek things that cause us to be anxious. Neither does it mean we should leave stressful things in our lives if we can avoid them. Identify what you can cut down, cut out, or just plain organise more effectively.

Consolidate your debts

Starting a business can play havoc with your financial situation. When you’re busy trying to keep your company afloat and your employees happy, it’s all too easy to let the situation at home get out of control. You might even forego paying yourself at times. Sorting out your personal finances is paramount to staying sane.

Cut down on procrastination

“Hey, I don’t have the luxury of being able to procrastinate,” I hear you protest. But how much time do you really need to spend carefully updating your online profiles and portfolios? Just how many of your collisionable hours are actually spent in a comfortable bar with other startup people that you already know?

Weigh up whether this time spent is really necessary for your mental health, or indirectly helping to cause stress.

Ignore the urge to start building

There are a lot of seductions when running a business. Everyone wants the perfect logo. Everyone wants to build a product right away. Everyone wants the perfect name for their company and whatever it sells.

According to Lean principles, you should put all that aside until you’ve talked to a load of people and satisfied yourself that there’s actually a market for what you want to do. Save yourself on future stress by focusing on the important tasks now. You’ll have plenty of time for the fun ones later.

Stop trying to multitask

Psychology Today says that multitasking should be called task switching: people are actually unable to do multiple complex tasks at the same time. We fool ourselves into thinking we are good at switching back and forth quickly, but in truth we’re only able to do it if one task is a well-practiced physical task.

When you’re trying to run a business it’s easy to get sucked into the idea that you’re multitasking. Emails come in constantly and priorities shift regularly, so you jump between responsibilities all the time.

Instead, make sure you set yourself a few time windows during the day to check emails and deal with them at those points exclusively, so you don’t end up stressing yourself out and wasting time.

Live a life outside your startup

Even though the pressure is on to maintain a high level of collisions outside your working hours, you need to spend some of your time enjoying life without work. You’ve got plenty of unavoidable stress when you’re building a business. Be smart and excise the stressors that you don’t have to deal with. Then take some time out to really enjoy yourself.

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