Community Futures Meridian

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9 Ways to Stop Stress Stealing Your Personal Efficiency

  • September 6, 2016
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Efficiency is important to entrepreneurs as often they are not only running their company, but are integral to every activity taking place within the business. The challenge comes when they become overly stressed; it’s then that their efficiency can take a major hit and that can create the beginning of a downward productivity spiral.

Are you seeing any of the following creeping into your life? If you check off more than one or two of the symptoms below, you may also be seeing a decline in your personal productivity and efficiency.

Check off any of the following signs stress is affecting you and your business.

o You find yourself procrastinating more

o You misplace items or are more disorganized

o You are more inflexible

o You find yourself more irritable

o You can’t think out of the box, you lack creativity

o You are experiencing poor recall and memory

o You seek perfection over productivity (seek excellence instead)

So, what steps can you take to help you increase your efficiency and perhaps reduce your stress?

1. Plan your day the night before – go into each day knowing what’s ahead of you. Considering the jobs and challenges facing you can often lead to minimizing them, or even solving issues prior to getting into work next day.

2. Prioritize each day – your ‘to do’ list should reflect your priorities. You might not achieve all that you plan in a given day but make sure you deal with the most important.

3. Focus on one thing at a time – while entrepreneurs seem to specialize in multi-tasking it is often an inefficient strategy. Focusing on one thing at a time ensures each job is done effectively and with most efficient use of your time.

4. Everyone has a prime time of the day – that time when we are at our most productive. Unfortunately, we also have a slump time. Figure out your bio-rhythms and schedule important tasks, and/or high-energy tasks during those times when you are at your best.

5. This is an old chestnut, but it is oh so true. Handle paper only once – file it, toss it, or deal with it. Handling papers over and over is an inefficient time waster and an excuse for procrastination.

6. Plan meeting agendas ahead of time and include ending times – know before you go in to a meeting what you want to discuss, and allot a time for each item. This helps you stay on track and makes you aware when discussions are heading into irrelevant tangents.

7. Screen telephone calls and schedule call backs – telephone calls can truly destroy your productivity. Let voicemail pick up calls when you’re concentrating on a task, and then schedule a time to return your calls later – perhaps during one of your less productive periods.

8. Procrastination really is the thief of time and is probably the single biggest threat to efficiency. Take a tip from Nike - just do it! This is where you need to steel yourself, be brave, and deal with those tough jobs first.

9. Delegate generously and effectively – surround yourself with people who are competent and use their skills wisely. If you have a staff member you trust, send them to a meeting in your place while you do something else. Give away tasks that don’t absolutely require your input. Delegating not only increases your daily efficiency, but also empowers your staff and motivates them to do better work for you.

Don’t be a hero and battle through stress, it can be debilitating and detrimental to your company. The key to dealing with stress is first to recognize you are suffering, then admit it, then deal with it. Don’t let stress get out of hand.