Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mental Aspects of Managing Business Stress

Stress is a bummer: not good for one's health, not good for relating and communicating, definitely not good for business managers and those whose work they manage. Other features of stress include worry, anxiety, high blood pressure, being uneasy and very hard to live with. The business manager is well advised to learn effective ways of preventing stress and managing stress that cannot be prevented. Managers of small work forces will find this to be a critical factor in employee retention. The one-person business manager will find stress management to be of enormous benefit for maintaining sanity as well as balancing home life with business endeavors.

Here is a list of what to do, not necessarily complete but more than enough.

Out of sight, out of mind.

When you are not working, quit thinking about it. Learn how to close down the workday when it is over. Put everything away, finish the filing, close the drawers, lock the security files, make notes about what to remember. When you leave the work area make sure your mind is also closed to the business. Do not take work out of the office unless there is an emergency requiring after-hours attention away from the office.

Leave work behind when you vacation.

That includes wekend getaways, days off, trips with the family, vacations, holidays and afternoons off. Enjoy your time off and make sure your employees enjoy their time off: no phoning in for messages no being called, no laptop computers so you can work while you aren't working. Get a lilfe that is not business and enjoy it.

Don't be thinking about work when you are trying to get to sleep.

That is called worry and it is a very big "no-no" in the world of stress management. If thoughts about the business break through when you are trying to sleep, get out of bed, go out of the bedroom, have a good worry to get it out of your system and then go back to bed.

What happens at work stays at work.

Don't be talking shop when you aren't at the shop! Get a life and live it when you aren't at work.

Worry on purpose on a set schedule and when you are finished let it be.

This is called detachment. What will happen will happen. Worrying about it won't change anything. Ask yourself what would happen to the business if you died. If the business would die with you, it is time to arrange for succession because you are going to die sooner or later. If the business is organized to survive your death or retirement, use that fact as reason enough to quit treating the business as though it were life and death.

Find a trusted person who is knowledgeable about business and talk out your concerns and problems on a regular basis.

If you are lucky the person will be a partner or business associate. Think about using a business coach. Perhaps your spouse fits the bill if talking about the business concerns is something your spouse wishes to do and can handle. Perhaps there is a friend. If you cannot think of anybody with whom to talk you do have something to worry about!

Confer often with your Board.

If you do not have a working Board, take steps to develop one. Your Board helps with the shaping of policy and will be of enormous assistance if you choose directors who know the business and believe in what you are doing.

There is more to preventing and managing the stress of work than only these mental steps. Proper exercise, proper rest, proper sleep and good nutrition are also essential. For example, drinking soda pop and eating candy will not relieve work stress, it will only make you fat and hyperactive or drowsy. And mental discipline is wasted if you operate on habitual sleep deprivation. Fatigue is an open invitation to stress.

Conversely, all the aerobic exercise, sleep and good nutritional meals will not help against stress if you approach your business responsibilities with sloppy mental habits. Staying on top of the business you manage demands good mental discipline right along with good habits that foster health and relaxation.

It is truly tragic to waste a good mind. Stress will do that to the undisciplined manager. Since your mind is the only one you have, better to take care of it by developing good routines to prevent and counter stress.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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