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Updated: Oct 26, 2017
Picture this: It’s Tuesday afternoon, you just walked out of a stressful meeting, you haven’t crossed one item off your to-do list, and as soon as you return to your desk you’re hit with 20 new emails all marked “urgent.” Sound familiar?
When you’re a business owner, it’s normal — inevitable even — to have chaotic weeks. And while it may be tempting to skip town or head to the parking lot for a mini meltdown, it’s not necessary. The trick to facing hectic weeks is cultivating smart relaxation and productivity habits.
Read on for five simple strategies you can adopt today to help find your Zen in the workplace.
Few things can bring you to a state of mental calm like decluttering your physical space. Getting started, however, can be intimidating.
If you’re overwhelmed just thinking about the prospect of organizing your workspace, pinpoint one small area to start with. Choose something that consistently interrupts your workflow or causes you to sigh in irritation every half hour, whether it’s the pile of client folders on your desk, your stash of product samples, or even your messy computer desktop.
Decluttering and organizing this problem area won’t just save you from daily bouts of frustration — it’ll also help you work more efficiently.
If the caffeine is wearing off and you’re starting to feel overwhelmed, fatigued, anxious, or all three, grab a pair of earbuds and take a brisk walk around the neighborhood.
If you feel scattered or overwhelmed by your workload, consider changing up the pace of your day by working in batches. Rather than working on a series of different tasks throughout the day, group all your related tasks together and dedicate a chunk of time to work only on those items.
For example, instead of fine-tuning a spreadsheet, sifting through emails, and brainstorming product development ideas throughout one morning, carve out specific blocks of time to work on each task.
This will allow you to be more focused and efficient with your to-do list, since you don’t have to expend the mental energy required to hop from one unrelated task to the next.
Even if your business requires you to tap into your creative juices every day, it’s still a good idea to invest time in creative outlets outside of work. As a business owner, you want to keep your mind fresh — even the most exciting, creatively demanding work can turn stale if it’s all you ever do.
To get started, pick an activity you’ve always wanted to try, whether it’s taking a hip-hop class, listening to foreign language tapes, or simply cooking a new recipe.
Research shows that creative expression can help reduce stress levels and promote relaxation; plus, you may even feel inspired to revamp other areas of your business.
As a small business owner, it’s easy to pummel through your workload without stopping to acknowledge or celebrate your progress. Though you may feel like you’re accomplishing a lot with this strategy, being constantly on the go can spike your stress levels and derail your productivity long-term.
That’s why it’s critical to carve out time to reward yourself for large- and small-scale wins. Consider holding a company-sponsored lunch, give the office a half-day on Friday, or treat yourself to a massage.
Taking the time to celebrate achievements — whether it’s a local business award, positive testimonial, or boost in sales — helps remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, and shows you how far you’ve come.
Paige Smith is a Content Marketing Writer and Senior Contributing Writer at Funding Circle. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and specializes in writing about the intersection of business, finance, and tech. Paige has written for a number of B2B industry leaders, including fintech companies, small business lenders, and business credit resource sites.