Stress is one of the most common problems that is relevant amongst virtually all entrepreneurs and founders. Without a doubt, starting and growing a new company can be emotionally brutal in the beginning, and even after you’ve become established, there will always be stresses that a CEO has to deal with.
Being able to manage that stress and not allow it to choke you is critical. It’s critical to clear decision-making, sound judgment and maintaining a strong morale among your team.
Here are five ways to keep your stress in check when the stakes are high:
1. Have an alternate place to channel your energy.
Many top entrepreneurs have a secondary activity they engage in that allows them to channel their energy and aggression to relieve stress. Some play sports such as golf or tennis. Some race cars. Some even like recreational shooting such as archery or skeet shooting.
Even if your alternate channel is just going to the gym for an hour or running for 30 minutes, find an outlet to help shift your focus every now and then and channel your energy somewhere else.
2. Meditate for just two minutes in the morning.
Entrepreneurs lead such hectic chaotic lives that we rarely get downtime to just unwind, clear our minds or reflect. Oftentimes, even our quiet moments are spent thinking about our agenda or the latest fire we are putting out.
Taking a period even as short as two minutes early every morning to do nothing but count your breaths will clear your mind, relieve some pressure and leave you feeling refreshed. The toughest part is actually getting your mind to go silent and blank for two whole minutes. It takes practice, but it works.
3. Break your day into 30- to 60-minute blocks.
Everyone knows to plan their day out in advance by writing their to-do list the night before. But even still, looking at your jam-packed to-do list each morning and wondering how you will fit it all in can stress any of us out.
What I’ve found helps a lot is breaking your entire day down into blocks of 30- to 60-minutes, and then organizing all of your to-do list items into the time blocks. This shows you on paper that you will get it all done that day and makes taking the first step easier.
4. Develop a morning ritual.
There are many benefits to having a morning ritual, but one of the best is that by having a set of activities that you do religiously every single morning, it allows you to score a couple quick wins right away each morning which make you feel more empowered to take on the rest of your to-do list.
Oftentimes that early momentum makes you feel unstoppable when it comes to running the rest of your day.
5. Focus on today.
Instead of looking at how much work is ahead for reaching your long term goals, focus just on what you need to do today. Seeing an entire mountain you have to climb is daunting and can cause procrastination and stress. But looking at just the first step or two you have to make today is easy.
Focus on a daily goal you need to complete today to move you toward your longer term goal. If you do that every day for a year, you will reach 365 daily goals and create awesome momentum for your business.
Commit to adding even just two or three of these practices into your daily habits, and you’ll be able to make clearer decisions and focus on your goals in a positive way without your stress clouding your judgment.