CF Saskatchewan Blog

How Successful Entrepreneurs Stay Sane During Crunch Time

  • April 3, 2018
  • Written by Community Futures Saskatchewan

During busy periods for your company, things can quickly begin to feel hectic and unmanageable. As a small business owner, it’s not hard to become overwhelmed by a seemingly endless to-do list of typical day-to-day tasks— supervising employees, increasing sales, serving customers or clients, staying on top of your finances—in addition to a whole host of other ongoing responsibilities.

When everything seems to require your immediate attention, self-care and effective time management are particularly essential, but very often neglected. Leverage the following five strategies, tried and tested by successful entrepreneurs, to help ensure that you can stay sane during even the busiest of times like the end-of-year tax crunch.

  1. Eliminate Distractions

Think of the things that keep you busy but perhaps not as productive as you’d like. Some examples include:

These distractions suck up valuable time that could go toward more effective small business activities, or even important personal things like catching up on family time or sleep. Ruthlessly eliminate unnecessary tasks during the busiest of times for your small business, and better utilize your valuable time like the most impactful entrepreneurs. As billionaire Warren Buffet says, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”

Bonus: Say ‘yes’ to “The Ultimate Resource Collection for Entrepreneurs,” a go-to toolkit for any entrepreneur hoping for greater small business success this year!

  1. Make Your Big Goals Bite-Size

“Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.”

—Pablo Picasso

When it feels like there’s too much to handle, take a deep breath and break down those seemingly huge goals into manageable pieces. For instance, think back to when you were first starting your company. You thought of your idea, filled out a business plan, perhaps even hired employees or rented out commercial space, and then launched your small business.

In other words, you broke a large goal down into a plan of actionable steps and tackled those steps one by one. Do the same during busy periods for continued advancement. Pablo Picasso believed that stagnation was the enemy of success and look what he accomplished during his lifetime!

Tip: Download “The Ultimate Goal-Setting Guide for Entrepreneurs” to break out of the cycle of busyness and achieve your small business goals.

  1. Prioritize With Your End Game in Mind

“Eat that frog! If you have to eat 3 frogs, eat the biggest and ugliest one first.”

—Brian Tracy

Once you’ve broken down your big goals into tasks using your favorite system (consider trying the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, explained here), it could be tempting to procrastinate on the most essential to-dos. After all, the most important tasks are frequently the hardest.

However, the most successful entrepreneurs “eat the biggest and ugliest [frog] first,” as author and businessman Brian Tracy explains. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein swears by this rule for success, saying that the thing he dreads most on his to-do list gets done before all others.

First thing in the morning, tackle your most important and difficult task. (During end-of-year tax time, for instance, this could be going through your books to categorize business expenses correctly, reconcile profit and loss statements, or reaching out to customers/clients to collect unpaid invoices.) Hitting the hardest to-dos first will not only clear out your schedule and take some weight off your shoulders—decreasing stress during busy times—but also build positive momentum for the rest of the day.

Tip: Check out five other can’t-miss lessons from successful entrepreneurs like Vera Wang and Colonel Sanders.

  1. Unplug More Often

Although you may not be able to take a vacation during busy times, you can take a mental break by unplugging from technology or limiting screen time. Research shows that taking a break from technology—even if just doing so after work until bedtime—can result in a greater quality of life, such as feeling more refreshed the next morning.

Moving your smartphone from your bedside to the living room can also help you sleep better. The blue light from phone and laptop screens make it difficult for our bodies to fall asleep, not to mention that a constant barrage of email and text notifications can wreak havoc on deep, restful slumber.

Disconnecting from devices can be so good for you that even some of the most high-profile technology gurus implement the rule. Steve Jobs, for instance, heavily limited technology within his home. While the world was celebrating the advent of the iPad, Jobs’ own children weren’t allowed to touch it. Do like Steve Jobs and limit your screen time during stressful times to give your mental health a boost.

  1. Ask for Help

When Lululemon founder Chip Wilson was starting his athletic apparel company, he was also managing another company. There was a lot on his plate and he had to accept that couldn’t do everything all by himself. In an interview with Business Insider regarding the best advice he ever received, Wilson explained the importance of asking for help. “It took me a long time to understand […] People love to help. I don’t have to be insecure and know it all.”

When starting, building, and expanding your small business, don’t expect to be an expert at everything. Leverage people and organizations with more experience, who possess different strengths and valuable perspectives. For example, Community Futures can provide plenty of resources and training about a variety of topics including budgeting, utilizing small business loans, and making year-end easier… at no cost to you!

In fact, you can receive a free copy of our e-book, Tackling Tax Time With Ease: 6 Ways to Make Your Year-End a Smooth and Seamless Process,” right now.

 Click here to download your free copy and learn about establishing a solid financial foundation for your small business.