Feeling Stressed? Treating Your Job Like Your Own Business Can Help

By Phil Wilkins

Whether you’re a sales person who’s on the road frequently or an office worker who’s putting in 8+ hours a day, you likely feel immense pressure at work and at home. And while you may not have the same demands as the company owner or executive team, your stress is very real and can quickly spin out of control, affecting not just your work life, but also your family life.

Consider this: If you travel a lot for work, you have to handle such things as road rage from other drivers, airline regulations, travel threats, and the usual delays and headaches that come with frequent travel. Even if your job does not require travel, you likely feel expected to put in more than 8 hours a day, and you are likely doing the work that two or more people used to accomplish just a few years ago.

Because of your extended time away from home, either on the road or at the office, your spouse may be pressuring you to spend more time with the family, or he or she resents having to take on so much responsibility at home. Add to that the fact that people who are stressed typically don’t eat as healthy as they should, and you can see how quickly stress can throw your life and body out of balance. In other words, it’s not just business owners or senior executives who feel overwhelmed these days—it’s everyone!

In order to stay healthy and productive and not let stress throw your life out of balance, you need to think of yourself as an owner, not just of a business, but also of your life. And, just like a business owner, you need to implement systems and processes that will keep you in control and going strong for years to come.  The following suggestions will help you keep your job and your life in perspective so you can perform at your peak in all areas of life.

1. Follow the 20:1:2 Formula: The 20:1:2 formula is the ideal way to stay in balance. Basically, it’s a formula that outlines the necessary time you need to devote to key activities that keep your stress level low. Here’s how it works: Spend 20 minutes each day in reflective time. This could be thinking, prayer, meditation, or anything else that helps you reflect on your life and big decisions you must make. Spend 1 hour each day engaged in vigorous physical activity, such as walking, jogging, aerobics, lifting weights, or anything else that gets your heart rate up. Finally, spend 2 hours each day with your family. Have dinner together, talk about your day, or do a hobby as a family unit.

Make sure any time you devote to the 20:1:2 formula is uninterrupted. That means no cell phone calls, no checking emails, and no “shop talk.” This is your time to forget about the daily grind and do those things that truly matter. If you must, get creative and find ways to incorporate the formula time into your day. For example, you could drive your kids to school (thus spending 10-15 minutes with them talking about their activities), and then head directly to the gym before going to the office. Or, if you usually arrive home from work at 6pm, then keep your family your priority until at least 8pm. After the kids are in bed you can opt to check messages or do some additional work from home.

2. Get your spouse’s buy in: When you’re making major career and life decisions, you must get your significant other involved early. Just as a business owner needs to get buy in from stakeholders for new ideas and initiatives, so must you when it comes to the effect your work life has on your family. In this case, your spouse and children are your stakeholders. So before accepting that demanding job, saying “yes” to that promotion, or deciding to put in more hours, be upfront with your family so they understand what you’re getting into and how it will affect them.

Together, come up with family systems that will take the burden off your spouse and kids. For example, if you now must travel frequently for work, hire some domestic help to assist your spouse with childcare. Or, use the services of a landscaper to free your spouse or older children from the rigors of yard work. Do what you must so that your family doesn’t feel required to take on an additional unfair burden just because you decide on a certain career choice. The more buy in you have from everyone involved, the less stress you and your family will feel.

3. Become a master at delegation: Know what your true role is in your company and what duties you must perform to advance the organization. The responsibilities you outline are the essentials that you must do. For everything else you do that’s not on your list, consider delegating the tasks to others. Think of it in business owner terms: The owner of a medium to large size business focuses on the big picture items and has staff to perform the day-to-day operations. If the business owner were to do everything him or herself, the business would go nowhere.

Similarly, realize that all the non-essential tasks you perform are actually hurting your productivity. For example, if you’re in a sales role, chances are your main duty is to bring in business. That means you must constantly prospect for new clients and follow up with existing inquiries. Those are your essential duties. If you spend any amount of time doing things like filing paperwork, assembling info packets, or mailing brochures, you’re essentially missing sales. You’re spending your time on non-vital activities, thus causing you to work longer and harder when it comes to those essential tasks. Therefore, if you want to be more productive and experience less stress, delegate the non-vital tasks and focus on those things that directly impact your success and your bottom line.

4. Value your number one asset: All businesses have a number one asset—the one thing that makes them the most money. For you, your most valuable asset is not your home, your car, or your retirement account—it’s your health. After all, if you don’t have your health, you can’t work and support your family, nor can you do all the great things you had planned to do with your life. Therefore, make a concerted effort to reduce your stress and live a healthy lifestyle. Eat right, exercise, and get the rest and relaxation you need.

If co-workers or supervisors question your new focus, simply share with them what you’re doing—how you’re focusing on what’s critical and that moves the business forward, and how you’re prioritizing your life just as a business owner prioritizes his or her company. The more you keep your number one asset in tip-top shape, and share your focus with others, the more success you’ll experience.

Run Your Life’s Business Today: Life is about so much more than just work. Realize that if you let your job run your life, then you really don’t have a life. And if you don’t have a life, then what’s the point of work?

So make your life successful by doing what businesses do every day: decide what’s important, devote the necessary time to key activities, learn to delegate, and guard your most important asset. The more diligently you follow these guidelines, the happier and less stressed you’ll be.

Read other articles and learn more about Phil Wilkins.

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