Small Business

A Guide to Stress Management

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Nobody ever said running a business was easy. But little can prepare you for the relentless stress you may experience day in and day out. From money challenges to operational processes, it takes a lot of mental energy to keep your business going.

While some stress can be beneficial, chronic stress can take a toll on our minds and bodies. For some people, it shows up emotionally as anxiety or frustration. For others, it manifests physically with migraines or back pain. And for others still, it expresses behaviorally in nervous behaviors or procrastination.

A business is only as healthy as its owner, so making sure you’re in top form is key to success. Ready to manage your stress? Let’s do this.

Step 1: Organize, organize, organize.

You’ve probably heard this one before. But we’re going to say it again: organization is not an optional step. Depending upon how your business functions, you can get organized in several different ways.

Generally speaking, a good way to start is to compile your tasks and prioritize from most to least important. Creating a hierarchy will help you address the most urgent issues first and filter down through the rest each week. Each box that you check will be a weight off your mind — with the heaviest loads to go first.

Less clutter equals less stress.

Remember way back when your parents used to claim that a clean room equals a clear mind? That ploy to get you to clean your room holds true — and the same logic applies to your office or desk. Allow yourself the space to think without pervasive mess; it has a deeper psychological effect than you may realize. Don’t add more chaos to your life than is necessary. Ensure that your work area is free of clutter, and organize your files — physical and digital — for easy reach. Clean off your desk at the end of each day, and put your space in order so you can easily find what you need. It’ll help you focus, encourage creativity instead of squashing it, and result in higher productivity.

Step 2: Delegate where you can.

As a business owner, you’re forced to wear multiple hats. Consequently, you have a never-ending to-do list. Ever heard the saying that a burden shared is a burden halved? We mean that literally here. Delegate lesser tasks to employees where you can. Or, if you find you don’t have enough hands on deck, try outsourcing to the experts or using an app or software program to automate and streamline your processes.

“At the helm of a business, you likely have a lot of small tasks that need managing on a frequent basis. However, these tasks are both low-ticket in terms of revenue generation and frankly not the best spend of your time.

Instead, outsource or automate these tasks so you have the breathing room to fuel your passion and further the cause of your business. Nobody wants to be stuck doing time-consuming admin work for hours at a time. It's in your best interest as a business owner to invest in systems and processes that make this easier on yourself.”

Miles Beckler, Founder and Entrepreneur,

Delegating tasks will free up your schedule for what matters and allow you to dedicate your time and effort to more important, demanding tasks. Moreover, with less on your plate, your workload and subsequent stress will become much more manageable.

Step 3: Take the stress off finances.

Money can be a huge factor behind stress. In fact, nearly 2 in 3 adults in 2020 reported that money was a significant source of stress in their lives. As a small business owner, odds are those worries plague you too. That’s why it’s crucial to make life as easy as possible when it comes to managing your finances.

An easy fix is to pick the right bank for your specific needs. Consider a bank that has high interest rates and low-to-no fees for small business accounts. Many small business owners have found that Axos Bank is their one-stop shop to manage their business accounts as well as their personal ones. Don’t lose money to unnecessary charges. In business, every penny counts. In addition to crazy fees, most banks fail to offer fully digitized small banking services. Axos fills those gaps, allowing small business owners to do their banking from anywhere. Talk about eliminating stress!

What’s more, if we learned anything from 2020, it’s to always prepare monetarily for the unexpected.

“If you can spare it, put a little money aside each month in anticipation of future hard times. They happen. And with a small cushion and patience, they will pass.”

Dolev Screiber, Founder and Small Business Owner, Basecamp Outdoor Gear

Try opening a high-yield savings account — making sure you secure a high APY like those offered at Axos — so you can build up emergency funds for your business over time. Knowing that you have something to fall back on will alleviate money anxiety and will ensure that you have a solution for any unexpected expenses you may encounter down the road.

Keep banking simple.

Managing all these accounts can get overwhelming when you have a million other things on your plate. For every owner that opens a small business banking account with Axos, you will be assigned a personal Relationship Manager whose job is to help you manage your finances. Your Relationship Manager can answer any questions plus guide you in creating and setting goals. At Axos, the goal is to make banking simple to help business owners avoid needless stress.

Step 4: Go for a walk.

We all need breaks. Whether it’s a walk, a beach day, or a vacation, take that time off. When you run a business, hours often exceed the typical 40-hour week. If you find yourself constantly working overtime, breaks are the most important thing you can do for your stress levels — and for your productivity. Work to fit meals and exercise times into your day, even if it means creating a time slot on your calendar for them. After all, breaks are just as important as your meetings — and even more important for your physical and mental health.

“Schedule your self-care time like it's a meeting. If you can go to your meetings and appointments as a business owner, you can definitely schedule a time for yourself. It can be a daily thing or a weekly thing.”

Candace Helton, Business and Finance Expert, Ringspo

Take note, though: make sure your breaks are completely detached from your work life. Otherwise, you’ll find your fatigue lingering even after you “rest.” That’s why physical exercise is so highly recommended — the endorphins that movement brings allow your brain to focus elsewhere. Meditation is also a popular method for relaxation and clearing your mind of overwhelming thoughts. Try a few different relaxation methods and see which activity is most helpful for you. There is no one right answer, and you may find that what works best one month may not be the best solution each time.

The takeaway: Stress can be managed.

Stress doesn’t have to be a constant part of your life. While some stress can be a healthy motivator for humans, too much can lead to health problems and a decrease in productivity and efficiency at work. Knowing that there are steps you can take to reduce strain at work can do wonders for not only yourself, but for your business and your coworkers as well.

A Guide to Stress Management

This blog post was published by Axos Bank on April 6, 2022 and last updated on April 6, 2022.

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