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Running your own business from home comes with its own particular kind of stress. This is particularly true if you are a mum running your own business alongside parenting and managing a household.
There is ALWAYS something that needs doing, and invariably, given that you are the one at home, it ends up being YOU doing it.
But, no matter what you are doing, if you have a true entrepreneurial drive, you will always be thinking about your business. Itching to find just another half hour to sit down at your desk.
The thing is, this puts you in a never ending cycle of bottomless to-do lists, pressure to be on-point at every point, and an internal warfare pitting your various roles against one another.
All this can leave you feeling totally and utterly STRESSED. It might even cause you to become depressed.
IT’S TIME TO SIDE-STEP THAT STRESS
If you are an entrepreneur with kids and a household to manage, just reading these opening paragraphs will hopefully help spell it out for you, just how much you have on your plate.
It’s A LOT.
And to add to which, if you are an entrepreneur, there’s a good chance that you are the type of person who is highly energetic, with a really creative mind, which means there is a chance you tend towards being chronically disorganised.
And if you’re not careful, it can become all-consuming.
To the point where you are rundown and miserable.
Living with stress and anxiety on a daily basis is not good for anyone’s mental health.
So you owe it to yourself and to your family to find ways to manage your stress and bring down your anxiety levels.
So here are some simple tips you can follow to start to bring down your stress levels from TODAY.
1. SET your work rules
When you work from home it’s very easy to find yourself always in work mode, no matter what else you’re actually doing.
It is SO easy use every ‘spare’ minute to get back to your desk.
Never mind that your brain is whirring through business ideas whilst helping the kids with their homework.
Or you’re mentally calculating costs for a new business idea whilst trying not to set dinner on fire.
So this is one of the most important areas of your life for you to get to grips with.
It is absolutely vital for your mental health to set yourself rules and boundaries.
Rules and boundaries that protect you from your business life crushing your family and home life.
So set yourself some realistic rules and then STICK TO THEM.
If you think it’s going to be hard to stick to the rules you set, then set yourself a challenge to stick to them for one day. Then two days, then a week.
Then take time to note how different you feel. How the rules are positively impacting you.
You might need to make some tweaks, but if the changes are positive, you then know that you’ve got to stick to those rules!
So, what might the rules be?
Well, how about you set yourself standard working hours?
To give you an example, my standard working hours are 10am to 4:30pm five days per week.
This gives me time to make household / family admin / parenting the focus outside of these hours.
Another rule I have is that I don’t check emails after 6pm in the evening.
The other really important rule I have is that I head to the gym, straight after the school run, three mornings per week.
This seemingly non-work-related rule is actually essential to my health and wellbeing.
If I’m healthy and well then I can do my best work each day.
2. Set boundaries
When you work from home it is very easy to become the one who does EVERYTHING.
Purely because you’re the one who is there.
You’re there to answer the door for deliveries.
It’s you who is able to procure and manage workmen and other service providers.
The laundry becomes the thing you do during the time that office workers use for water-cooler moments.
There is likely a very long list of invisible chores, the things you do as standard that no-one else seems to notice.
But they would notice if none of them got done.
So, set boundaries around your work time.
Make it clear to yourself, and to everyone else in your household, that the hours you work are for working, and not for being a housekeeper.
By all means behave like the CEO of the household, but don’t let yourself become the intern, executive and middle manager as well.
Work out laundry responsibilities with everyone else in the household.
Make sure everyone knows when to tidy up ahead of the cleaner coming.
Or, if you don’t have a cleaner, make sure everyone has their responsibilities for keeping the household chores ticking over.
Get that dishwasher on straight after dinner and make sure that it is someone else’s job to empty it the next morning.
Every household will be different, the division of labour will also be different dependent on everyone’s jobs or ages.
But there is one thing for sure.
YOU shouldn’t be doing it all.
3. KEEP A JOURNAL OF GRATITUDE
I’ve really embraced the concept of daily gratitude in recent months and I can’t tell you how much it’s reduced my anxiety levels.
It’s a simple trick to take your mind from ‘poor me’ to ‘I’m so lucky’.
Now you might find this a hard concept to understand if you are currently feeling weighed down with 101 stresses.
But the way being consciously grateful takes you from a negative to a positive mindset is nothing short of transformational.
So how does it work?
To put it simply, if something isn’t going well for me, I stop myself when I feel my stress levels rising and I focus on five things that I feel grateful for.
It is always surprisingly easy to find these five things.
And suddenly the thing I’m feeling stressed about shrinks down to a much more manageable size.
Some people keep a gratitude journal, but I know this isn’t something that I’d keep up with.
4. set yourself goals
I use Trello to set my weekly goals.
It’s also my project management tool for my business.
It’s a kanban style set up with boards you can add tasks to.
I see each task as a goal and there is nothing more satisfying that seeing those goals go from the ‘to-do’ list, to the ‘in-progress’, to ‘done’.
I have an excel document with my yearly business goals.
I update my document monthly to see where I am against those goals.
There are many reasons that we don’t outsource.
A big one is financial.
It can be hard to even think about outsourcing when money is too tight to mention.
But what about it outsourcing can be justified because it buys you the time to focus more on building your business, which will in turn increase your income?
What if outsourcing buys you back quality time to spend with your kids?
How about if outsourcing meant getting someone far more expert than you are to do something that takes up lots of your time?
Do you start to see how outsourcing isn’t something that ‘other people’ can afford to do.
That in fact, outsourcing can be the thing that helps you grow your business more quickly and help improve that elusive work / life balance.
You may find that outsourcing business tasks is the way to go.
On the other hand you may find that outsourcing housekeeping tasks is the best way to support yourself as you grow your business.
You can always start with a trial. Outsource something for three months and see how it impacts your life. See how much your stress levels are reduced.
Stick with outsourcing the things that have the biggest impact on bringing your stress levels down and propelling you forward.
6. BUILD A network
Now this is different from networking.
I do not enjoy networking.
But I do totally value the network I am building of like-minded business owners who work from home.
We ‘get’ each other’s lives.
The empathy and support this gives can’t be underestimated.
Working from home can be a very solitary pursuit.
Everyone needs somebody at some time.
So allow yourself the time to build your own network.
Do it virtually through social media – though choose carefully and don’t inadvertently build a network that gets you down.
Or do it IRL.
I am very partial to a dog-walk and talk with a fellow dog-owner and business owner. It clears the cobwebs, is a chance to bounce ideas off of someone else and to laugh and have lighter moments in sometimes heavy days.
Make your partner and even older kids part of your network too.
Bring them along with you on your business journey.
Share the highs and the lows with them – obviously don’t stress out your kids with inappropriate tales of woe – if you include them they are likely going to become your biggest champions.
They will also be there to support you when you need a little TLC.
My nine year old is super good – and loves – making tea when she feels I need a little TLC.
Get started reducing work from home stress
I really hope these simple tips help you start to bring down your stress and anxiety levels.
There are so many benefits to being able to build your own business from home.
But it’s not the walk in the park that it can be sometimes perceived as being.
Look after yourself and you and your business will flourish.
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