“Escaping the zoo! How do you escape the stress of being an entrepreneur and a parent?” Those words resonated with a lot of people on Instagram the other day.
Because we’re all working so hard and trying to make the most of the new entrepreneurial scene, because all want to be the best we can be, because we are driven to make more and be more, we hyper-focus. And it’s usually our relationships that suffer the most.
We work until we hit the wall – getting up at ungodly hours of the morning to hone and work our craft, staying up until all hours of the night, scrambling to make the most of every blessed moment of silence – and we can’t take anymore.
Stress of performing
Our minds are constantly on our next project and our families feel it. They know we’re into something, but they don’t quite understand how big it is for us. And it often causes headaches and heartaches.
They have a different idea of what life should be like than we do. They’re still holding on to the old life. The old way of doing things. They expect things to stay the way they were. And they should.
They expect us to be the people we were before. Laughing, loving, having fun. That’s all. They don’t expect us to give up your dreams of internet success and making lives for them that they love.
They just expect us to do it without disrupting their lives and their dreams of being with us.
Whether “disrupting their lives” means not going out on Saturday when the whole family is together or it means having clean clothes put in their right places, mostly our families want us to keep things as normal as possible.
And while it seems easy enough, it isn’t.
Chaos and stress
As our business wings begin to flutter and flap, the need to do more rises in us, yet so does our family’s needs for us to stay grounded swell, as well.
So we’re torn. Between what they want, our need to satisfy their wants, and our own needs.
And that tear creates chaos. Chaos breeds stress.
Psychologically, we all need order. Balance. And our own chaos disrupts the order of those around us. And their ensued chaos bounces off our chaos. Until we’re all beating against each other in a frenzy of disarray. Disharmony. Discord.
But that wasn’t the goal of becoming an entrepreneur.
The goal was happiness. Order. Peace. For all.
So how can we bring the balance that we’re looking for while still satisfying our urges to build, grow, and soar?
5 Ways to manage the chaos and stress of being an entrepreneur – so you can love what you do again
1. Get support. One of the ways we fall down is trying to do everything ourselves. It’s just impossible. No one person can manage a family, a household, and a business alone. With family comes built-in support (hopefully). If you’re alone, reach out to a friend or two who you could offer support to in return for their supporting you.
??Action you can take right now:
*Set up a time to get your family together and discuss your vision for your family and how you plan to make that dream a reality. Don’t dictate, though, make sure everyone has a chance to be heard.
*Outline the steps you may need to take to get there so they understand what you’re doing is for the good of the family. Refer to it every time someone asks you to do something and you cannot possibly walk away from what you’re doing.
*Use the right language when someone needs something from you: “I do want to do this with you. And I want you to have the attention you deserve, so in one hour, I’ll be able to give you the undivided attention you should have” lets them know you have their best interests at heart and will follow through, as soon as you’re able.
2. Get out. Hyper-focusing means we probably don’t get out like we should. It means we put off what isn’t going to directly effect our bottom line until the right time (which, incidentally, never comes). Staying on lock down drains you mentally and physically. Stop.
Action you can take right now:
*Schedule time outside every day. The fresh air helps you to revive your creative juices so you’ll be more productive when you go back to work.
*Make your time outside family time. This one’s really cool because then you get to spend time reconnecting with them and refueling your own creativity.
3. Close your eyes. Most of us need a minimum of 7 hours of sleep every night. But, we try to skate by on five or six (unless you’re Chris Brogan, who sleeps with the chickens and is up with the roosters – which could be the reason he’s able to create so much content). Seven is the magic number for most people and not only boosts creativity, but brings clarity of thought, too. Have you ever tried to focus on a meeting after only a few hours of sleep?
Action you can take right now:
*Set yourself on a reasonable schedule. Allow time in your day to craft, time to be with family, and time to rest. Then, stick to it.
*Make sleep a business priority – not a luxury. When you set appointments, you keep them, or you don’t keep clients. Your bed is your client.
4. Learn to be present. If you’re working on a project, give your project your full attention. Don’t think about what you need to do later or what you should be doing right now for the house. Multitasking is good for draining your mental batteries and wearing you out. Stop.
Action you can take right now:??
*Learn to give your full attention to what you’re doing. When you find your mind wandering, pull yourself back to the project in front of you with a reminder like, “There’ll be time to think about this later”. And return your focus to your work.
*If you’re with your family, make sure you are focused on them and what you can do to make your time together happy and relaxed. When you find yourself wandering mentally, use your reminder to pull yourself back to focus.
5. Become friends with paper and pencil again. Writing things down gets them off your mind. Less on your mind is less stress on your shoulders. Learn to write down everything as soon as it comes to you.
Action you can take right now:??
*Designate a small notebook to carry with you at all times (or if you prefer, organize notebooks in Evernote, whatever) and have lists for: groceries, house to-dos, reminders, inspiration, emails to send, content to create, things to say to your significant other, phone calls to make, work to-dos. And use them. Don’t just write it and forget it. Refer to it often.
*Journal again. Journalling is a great way to unwind and get the stress onto your paper and off of your mind. ??*Keep your goals at your finger tips and always refer to them before you start work. The more productive your work time is, the less you worry about when you’re not working.
Being an entrepreneur and a parent is never going to be easy. But the more steps we take to make it bearable, the better all our lives and our families lives will be.
Share your favorite ways to beat stress are and how often you engage in them in the comments below!