5 Stress Management Tips for Startup Owners
Author: Gemma Reeves
Stress is common in any workplace, most especially for startup owners who are still finding their way in the industry. Shortage of funds, lack of manpower and resources, plus looming deadlines can all contribute to stress, and if this is not managed well, it can lead to a burnout.
Stress is not the problem per se, because it is your mind and body’s natural reaction to outside pressures, the problem comes when it is not managed. Unmanaged stress won’t just lead to a burnout, but it can also cause unnecessary fights with loved ones, unhealthy relationships with employees, depression and even physical ailments.
For a startup owner, burning out too quickly would mean that ideas for product development would stall. Some would even give up on the project prematurely because the stress has taken its toll on their overall health.
A big part of becoming successful in the startup industry is to constantly innovate and believe on the functionality of your services and products. Constant determination and perseverance are needed on this journey, and each workday can bring a lot of pressure and stress.
However, success could not be achieved if you stop the work prematurely because you can’t handle it anymore. To handle stress effectively and healthily, below are 5 helpful tips:
1. Establish a meditation or exercise routine.
A 20 to 30-minute exercise is a good stress reliever, and it can even leave you feeling energized and more productive at the start of your day. You can also opt for meditation and yoga too if strenuous activities are not your thing.
Exercise and meditation can also help lessen depressive moods that can come out from stress, and the additional sunshine and outside view can also do wonders for your mind and overall health too.
2. Take scheduled, in-between breaks.
Many startup companies are known for their insane work hours. 12 to 15 hours of work seem to be the norm for demanding startups, and unsurprisingly, this will eventually take a toll on both the employees and founders.
Working for several straight hours might be seen as a prerequisite for higher productivity – but that is only in theory. In reality, our brains cannot simply focus too much on work without some needed fun and distraction from time to time – otherwise, you’ll burn out fast enough and get tired of helping the company.
It is important to put some fun in between work hours. This can either be a coffee or tea break, checking out funny videos with a coworker, discover and listening to new music from Spotify, talk about crazy ideas with co-founders, or simply going outside of the office and walk around the streets and hallways just to get fresh air.
3. Don’t obsess over the ‘perfect’ product/service.
Many startup founders are notorious for being perfectionists. While this trait may be important to bring out the best product or service out there, an unhealthy dose of this can easily lead to stress – and may even paralyze the company because product launches are kept on hold.
Part of controlling stress is to tone down this perfectionist attitude. Sure, you want your product to work, but the best way to actually perfect it is to get feedback from initial users or customers. There is no need to be afraid of negative reviews – people will still have something to say, even if you have practically obsessed over the development of your product.
So let it go and learn from criticism. This way, you will feel less stressed at work and it can even buy you more time to think of ways on how to improve your product/service.
4. Focus on long-term goals, not checkboxes.
It is easy to lose track of the bigger picture when you are too busy chasing day to day deadlines and monthly targets. Obsessing over day to day targets is unhealthy and can always lead to a stressful situation at work. Too much of this could make you forget why you started the company in the first place, and it cannot help you come up with alternative plans to reach the kind of long-term success that you have first set up for yourself.
The key here is to delegate some micro-managerial tasks to a trusted and competent employee. This can take off some of your workload, and help you relax or ease up, then work on bigger plans to successfully expand the company.
5. Surround yourself with great people (outside of work).
A great support group outside the workplace can help you keep grounded, and their presence is good stress relievers too. So every now and then, schedule a day out with family or friends to go enjoy a pool party, out of town trip, massage, or some good old retail therapy. Avoid talking about work as much as possible. Allot this time as a personal moment for rest, recreation, socializing and recharge.
If you are not the outgoing type, writing and spending some alone time can also work as stress relievers too. This also gives you the proper recharge and new perspectives you need. It’s also a necessary time out from work that can certainly help lower your stress levels.