Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Entrepreneurs - Boost Productivity and Manage Stress With These 5 Strategies

Manage Stress With These 5 Strategies

As a solo business owner, would you like to be more peaceful and productive? Do you sometimes feel like it takes too much time to complete a project because you're forever fending off interruptions and distractions? Does the notion of being both productive AND peaceful seem laughable or even impossible?

There was certainly a time in my life when I was stressed to the limit and less than productive. But over the years, I've learned how to de-stress and become more efficient with my time, so I can be more successful as a coach and writer.

Listed below are some strategies I've used over the years to help me become more peaceful and productive. Feel free to try these suggestions, or better yet, find some solutions that are a better fit for you:
  • Avoid multitasking --For years, we were told that multi-tasking was the answer to our crazy busy lifestyle. Then, a couple years ago, some studies suggested that it was actually a symptom of our cultural craziness, and that multitasking, in fact, increases our stress levels and causes us to be less focused and efficient. So, instead of sending a frenzied email to a client while you're listening to a voicemail message, focus on one task at a time. You'll be more focused and attentive, which is never a bad thing when it comes to customer relations and building rapport with employees.
  • Unplug to minimize electronic distractions -- If you're working on a project that requires serious concentration, the last thing you need is a slew of distractions. So turn off your cell phone. And if you're working on your computer, close down the software programs you don't need open, including your email. When I'm able to focus on the task at hand, without watching the email messages pile up in my inbox, I'm far less distracted.
  • Stick to your schedule -- This strategy may sound obvious, but many of my clients find it challenging. My point is this: if you block off an hour for a project, move onto the next project at the appointed time. Because if you don't set limits, you'll suddenly notice that it's taken you two hours to complete a blog post, when you had only allotted half that time. If you're really having trouble staying focused, consider setting a timer to keep you on task.
  • Set boundaries and enforce them -- If you work at home, you may need to remind your family that your office is off limits during certain hours of the day, or when you are trying to concentrate on a project. If you work in an office outside your home, you may need to close your door sometimes so you can meet a deadline or work intensely on a particular project. Keep in mind that it t may take awhile for your family and colleagues to get used to your new rules and you may need to remind them, in the beginning, of your new boundaries.
  • Focus on the process not the product - Sometimes, we become so focused on the destination, that we forget to enjoy the journey. And when that happens, we twist ourselves into knots, worried that whatever we are working on may not measure up to our clients' standards or even our own. Of course, life flows more freely and easily when we relax and do our best without worrying about the future. And the best part is that when we focus on the process rather than the product, life is much more enjoyable.

If you choose to adopt one or more of these strategies, chances are good that you'll be more focused, peaceful and productive. Please let me know how it goes!

Ellen H. Brown is a certified professional coach and the owner of Wellness Journeys, where she takes a holistic approach to coaching, helping solo business owners and busy professionals become more productive, profitable, and peaceful. She has also written about health and wellness for the past 15 years. As a result of working with Ellen, clients learn how to run successful businesses and lead more healthy, balanced lives. Because she strongly believes that you don't have to sacrifice your personal life for your business.

No comments: