One of the biggest and most common mistakes that small business owners make is failing to delegate. They carry the responsibility of the entire company on their shoulders, attempting to be involved in every decision at every level whether it’s customer service, marketing, sales, accounts payable while email piles up in their inbox… the list goes on. It’s easy to get snagged up in the little stuff on a daily basis, leaving less time to concentrate on actually running the company. Especially in these economic times, business owners are overcompensating, trying to do more with less resources. The result of burning the candles at both ends? Burning out.
I recently read an article on Entrepeneur.com discussing this very issue. They raised some very valid points, citing a 2006 study done by the University of California that found that chronic workweeks of more than 51 hours can triple the risk of hypertension and data from a British study of civil servants which showed that workdays of 11 or 12 hours increase the risk of coronary events by 56 percent. The reason? Stress, plain and simple. Stress, combined with long days, can contribute to plaque build-up inside arteries, sleeplessness, poor eating habits, fewer medical visits and increased anxiety and strain.
Is any of this hitting close to home? If yes, you are probably overdue for a lifestyle change. It’s not going to be easy, but implement these changes and watch your stress level slowly decrease, while your job focus slowly increases.
- Say “no” more. Don’t commit to the last minute networking event. Say no to the third charity walk of the spring. Tell your clients they can’t call you after 7pm at night.
- Set boundaries of what you will not do and stick to them. Don’t take the escalated client call, delegate a manager to handle all of them before they get to your ears, so that the volume of calls diminishes. Delegate more mundane, everyday tasks to your staff and check your urges to constantly check on their progress.
- Take a blackberry break. Don’t read emails from 8-10pm every night, and take a half day Saturday and all day Sunday. Give your brain some time to rest so you are refreshed on Monday.
- Make personal time. Leave the office a little early one day a week. Play golf, go to the gym, watch your kids at soccer practice… but turn the office “off” and release some stress. The office will survive for a few hours without you.