Start SMART To Minimize Business Stress

Start SMART To Minimize Business Stress

Hermione Malone- Go.Be. Executive director
Hermione Malone,
Executive Director, Go.Be.
Dr. Loren A. Hill,
CEO,
Acclivity Corporation

Happy New Year from Go.Be.! If you’re like some of our clients, you ended 2021 business planning for 2022. You’ve got timelines and strategy and maybe have even engaged a consultant to assist. If you’re like others, you are limping into the new year, a bit weary from the latest COVID-19 surge, weather disaster, stress of the end of year holidays, and still looking for staff in this very tight labor market. 

Well, before the stress of it all weighs you down too much, we’ve got just the support and advice you can use. Dr. Loren Hill, a consultant, and coach with a doctorate in behavioral mental health, says, no matter how you’re coming into the new year, pace yourself. 


Pace Yourself & Set SMART Goals

“Take a measured approach – using SMART goals. Doing that with every goal you set will help you slow down a bit. You’ll see that ‘I can’t do everything in January, I might have to spread this out’,” she said. “As a business owner, we can align those with the quarters.”

If you find you’re in the other camp, feeling lonely and disconnected, “don’t overwhelm yourself with a bunch of goals – ‘I’m going make sure this business is off and running.’ It’s not going to work and only make you feel more discouraged,” Dr. Hill said. 

Don’t Bear The Burden Alone

“Don’t think it’s only you,” Dr. Hill said. “Sometimes it happens and we think, it’s me. It’s only happening to me. If you talk to other people you’ll see they may be having similar challenges, or even different challenges and you can brainstorm together.”

Go.Be. hosts a women’s CEO roundtable, where that exact dynamic has been playing out for over a year; and our Level Up! alumni also convene periodically to touch base and support fellow business owners.  

Even with SMART goals and a strong support system, entrepreneurs can feel overwhelmed. Is it time for a break or is it a breaking point for your business? Dr. Hill advises to pay attention to how you’re feeling and how long you’ve been feeling that way. 

Trust Your Gut

“Often times we don’t honor our feelings and we end up getting in trouble later. We have that feeling that something isn’t right and we push it down and it blows up in our face later.”

“You know your business best. Why you went into it, what made your eyes light up, what made you excited. Honor those feelings. Often times we don’t honor our feelings and we end up getting in trouble later. We have that feeling that something isn’t right and we push it down and it blows up in our face later,” she said.

Dr. Hill advises to do a gut check. Are these feelings that something isn’t right related to the business? A partner? An employee? Also, take note of how long you’ve been feeling this way. A week? Six months? 

“And, you want to talk it out with someone –  CEO group, your business coach, someone completely outside of your business. They may see a need you have that you aren’t seeing,” Dr. Hill said. 

Accountability Is Good

Accountability is also a tool to leverage. If you have a business strategy or plan, check your progress against goals and metrics. 

“If you’re completely missing your goals, you might just need to do another strategic plan versus scrapping the entire business,” Dr. Hill said. 

Take Breaks

And finally, remember to build in breaks. Whatever job you have or business you run, said Dr. Hill, breaks are critical. 

“It’s exhausting to go from meeting to meeting to meeting without even a transition time. What’s happened in this pandemic with virtual meetings is that people are scheduling at 9 and 10 and 11 because they don’t have to walk down the hall or drive to the next space,” she said. 

Taking a break “gives you time to think, so you’re leaving the business at the business. As you move to your car or leave your home office, you’re not leaving work unfinished and on your mind.”

When you’re in a physical space, you have natural transitions like walking to a meeting, getting a coffee, etc. She recommends scheduling that transition time if you’re working fully virtually.

“Then at the end of the day, schedule in some wind-down time. Schedule in 15 minutes at the end of your day to wrap up. You respond to your last emails, you straighten up your desk, you wrap up any loose details. It also gives you time to think, so you’re leaving the business at the business. As you move to your car or leave your home office, you’re not leaving work unfinished and on your mind.”

Small breaks need to be accompanied by longer breaks – which can be complicated for entrepreneurs. But think less about a week at the beach and more about consistent smaller blocks of time away from the office, Dr. Hill recommends.

“It could be taking one work day a month off, or a half-day a month off and you tell your staff I’m not available. Because we’re business owners, we feel we have to be on all the time. Well, the business will survive if you take half a day off. Some of the most successful businesses close for at least a day a week. It gives the staff time to rest, you’re able to get things together,” she said.

And, she urges, listen to family and friends when they suggest a break might be in order. 

“It might not be jumping on a plane or going to a spa, but you need to figure out how to take some time,” she said. “Schedule your annual vacation.”

Want More Tips on Reducing Stress?


Dr. Loren Hill will host a free workshop in partnership with us and give more strategies on mental health and wellness.

Mental Health And Wellness For Small Business Owners


January 18, 2022, at 10 a.m. CST

See Our Other Workshops

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