How to Work Without Stress in 2016

R unning your own business can be exhilarating and full of adrenaline; but live too long on adrenal...

Running your own business can be exhilarating and full of adrenaline; but live too long on adrenaline and you burn out. We’ve all been there.

Here’s one sure sign that you’re living on the adrenaline junkie edge:

Ways to self-improvement in 2016

Half holidays

A half holiday looks similar to a holiday in that you’ll be sitting under a palm tree somewhere. However, the difference is that you’re checking your emails and bothering your team back in the office. That’s no good.

The question to ask yourself is ‘why’; why do you feel the need to do these things?
  • Is it because you don’t trust your team to take care of things while you’re gone?
  • Is it because you just know things are so far behind the curve that you shouldn’t have gone on holidays at all?
  • Is it your ego? Do you like being indispensable and all-important to the businesses success?
Whatever the reason, being unable to switch off is a one-way ticket to burnout, frustration and staying small. Not very exciting.

What do you do when your electronic gadgets don’t work? You turn them off and turn them back on again. The same applies to you as the leader within your business; you need to unplug for a bit.

When you go on holidays don’t check emails and don’t do any business reading either. New creative ideas come from being totally disconnected.
Here are some other danger signs:
  • Starting early
  • Working late
  • Working weekends
  • Feeling like you’re treading water or walking through treacle

So what’s the fix?

You’ve got to identify the real issue and resolve it. It might well be that you’re correct not to trust the team to get things done while you’re on holiday, because they can’t. If that’s the case you need to get a team in place that can do what you need done. That might involve some serious commitment and time to find the right people. But there’s no way around it. It’s got to be dealt with if you want your life and your business to improve.
Another tip is to let things blow up. For some of you I know this sounds totally insane, but I mean it. Don’t get involved. Don’t phone the office from Barbados. Let the team sort it out and let it all get as messy as it needs to. From this position you get to discover the underlying problems, and you have something specific to work on resolving with your team.

If everything in your firm is totally out of control then often the best thing to do is just stop and re-group. The crazy part is that when things get like that, the last thing you consider doing is stopping. Most of us just keep plugging on. My experience is that a day or two out of the business, to get honest with the real issues you are facing, can help you turn things around in relatively little time.

Imagine running a business without the stress. No crazy pressured deadlines, or frustrating dramas created because you and your team just didn’t have the time to do things right first time.

What would it feel like to work in a business where all your energy was invested in positive, creative work, rather than spent on putting out fires? The truth is, the only way to release your full potential is to create that environment for yourself.

So what does working without stress look like?

Stress-free businesses:
  1. Are organised: The leadership team meets regularly and is always planning well ahead. They communicate early and well with their team when delegating.
  2. Have all the time they need (and then some): This allows everyone on the team to do whatever they need to do, to the best of their ability. It might be preparing for a client meeting, writing articles or blogs, devising the content for a seminar, or preparing for a professional connections meeting properly.
  3. Take time off: It might be taking creative time, or recharging the batteries on holiday.
  4. Think hard, don’t work hard: Anyone can turn up and work all the hours under the sun. The hard work is the thinking required to solve the challenges that arise in the business, rather than settling for the status quo.
To claw your way back from the madness you need to be meeting weekly as a leadership team, identifying your issues and taking baby steps to resolve them week after week after week.

What you’ll find is that done well, this management discipline will get you caught up and then allow you to slowly get in front of the workload. It’s this process, and the regular thinking work that goes with it, that will allow you to create your stress-free, creative work environment.

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