Manage your stress to enhance your performance

Oct 07, 2018
Learning to manage stress can help business owners enhance their own and their staff’s performance, says Teresa Campbell.

The stress you experience as a business owner or manager can be worse at certain times of the year. This may be due to the cyclical nature of your business, rising (or declining) demand for your services, looming deadlines, staff shortages, personal or family crises, economic uncertainty and so on. In our 24/7 world, technology keeps us connected to our work virtually all of the time. This culture of constant interruptions, distractions and information overload means our minds often don’t get a chance to rest. Tiredness combined with stress can impact our ability to make good decisions and reduce our efficiency and productivity.

Financial worries

For many business owners, financial worries are high on the list of the issues that cause work-related stress. So, improving the financial strength of your business is an important step. Key areas to focus on include improving your financial results, cash flow, working capital management and return on capital employed.

Self-management 

There are also various self-management strategies that can help you reduce stress. Looking after your health should be top of the list. This will also help you to maximise your efficiency and personal performance. Business owners are sometimes perfectionists so it’s worth keeping an eye on this tendency and, if necessary, learn to keep your perfectionism in check.

Other practical tips include:

  • Drink water. Dehydration can increase stress levels.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Turn your phone off before bed, make sure no light from outside is seeping into the room and make sure you’re comfortable.
  • Make time to exercise. Studies have shown that regular exercise can be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress.
  • Create a list of your biggest distractions during the day and take practical steps to reduce them. For example, create a time in your schedule to look at your email rather than reading and responding as soon as they are delivered.
  • Learn to manage your anxiety and worry. Focus on the things you can control and don’t waste energy worrying about things you can’t control.
  • Prioritise your tasks and set goals. Trying to do everything at once can mean that nothing gets done. Know your best and worst times of the day and learn to manage your time accordingly.
  • Learn to delegate and know when you are not the right person for a specific role or task.
  • Keep the business’s finances under control. Don’t ignore problems. Face up to reality when a problem presents itself and remember that the earlier you discuss emerging issues with your accountant, the easier it will be to find solutions. Even very difficult problems can often be overcome once they are identified and tackled in time.
Finally, remember that stress isn’t always a bad thing. Some business owners and managers thrive on pressures that cause others to worry and struggle. Regardless of how you react to stress, the goal is to enhance your productivity and improve your business performance by reducing your stress or making it work for you and your business.

Teresa Campbell is a Staff Director of PKF-FPM Accountants Limited.