If you take a moment to visualize your idea of a stereotypical entrepreneur, what sorts of images come to mind?
More than likely, you end up visualizing someone who is an extreme hard-nosed workaholic, and who get through the day on sheer grit, determination, and multiple pots of coffee, and who always seems highly strung enough that anything might set them off.
Clearly, that’s not a very flattering impression – and it doesn’t reflect how huge numbers of successful and driven entrepreneurs actually live, either. All the same, though, there is a least a grain of truth to the stereotype. Entrepreneurs frequently are overly stressed and lacking in proper work-life balance
For all that, though, there is plenty of reason to think that the ability to remain calm could be a tremendous asset in the career of any entrepreneur. Among other things, calm people make more confident and informed decisions. They are more resilient to stress. They tend to make a better impression on the people they interact with. And they are just happier, as well.
Here are a few tips for remaining calm and focused as an entrepreneur.
Don’t underestimate the power of small comforts
Small, everyday comforts might just make a huge difference when it comes to how calm you’re able to be on any given day.
When we are stressed and anxious, we tend to get caught up in our own negative projections and to get lost in our own thoughts. As a consequence of this, we are no longer very “grounded.”
Small comforts – trinkets, routines, and features of everyday life that help to uplift you and make you feel grounded – can work wonders in terms of serving as reminders for you to take a deep breath and to reappraise the situation from a more balanced vantage point.
These small comforts can come in many different forms, ranging from things like custom car air fresheners, to a particular snack you like to start the day with, or a bedtime routine that involves a bit of quiet reading and a cup of hot cocoa.
Plan out and structure things in advance, so that you aren’t constantly playing catch up
It’s simply very difficult to stay calm, never mind to focus, if your days are chronically disorganized, and you consequently have to play catch up.
The more you’re able to plan out and structure things in advance, the more each day is bound to feel as though it’s actually under your control, as opposed to being a source of assorted unknown and ominous threats, troubles, and poorly-defined challenges.
Try to get in the habit of time blocking your days out in advance using a day planner. Identify what your key tasks that day are going to be, and then pencil them in, making sure that you will only be doing one thing at a time, with minimal distractions.
This is an exercise that many successful professionals have used in a variety of different fields, and for good reason, too. It simply works.
Have everyday routines and rituals to help you keep your stress levels down
Stress is, essentially, the opposite of calm – which means that the more effectively you can manage and reduce your stress levels, the calmer you will feel, and the better able you will be to focus and to do your work from a position of strength rather than one of fear and anxiety.
Of course, “keep your stress levels down” is easier said than done.
Ultimately, one of the best ways of managing your stress levels is by having everyday routines and rituals in place that help you to take your mind off things and find your centre.
Many people have found that some form of meditation practice can be very useful in this regard. Other people find that certain health supplements play an important role.
In any case, have tried and tested routines that you go through every day to help you to maintain balance.
Say no to multitasking, and do one thing at a time
Entrepreneurs frequently try to multitask as a means of increasing their productivity. According to research, though, this is a bad strategy.
What psychologists have found is that multitasking is bad for the brain, increases stress levels, and does not actually improve efficiency at all. In fact, it significantly reduces performance at any given task.
To keep your stress levels down, and to be able to focus in a calmer and more deliberate way, do what the academic and author Cal Newport suggests: do one thing at a time, filter out all distractions the best of your ability, and emphasize “deep work.”