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Nearly every manager of a small business knows that it can feel overwhelming at times, simply because nearly all responsibility falls on their shoulders. Whether you use a virtual office, a rented serviced office, or have your own premises, Managers of small businesses are expected to wear many hats every day due to the constant stream of tasks and actions.

A recent study by the Bank of America stated that many small business owners claim their business causes them twice as much stress as maintaining a healthy relationship with a partner, managing their personal finances and raising their children.

Our health needs to be prioritised over everything, and regular daily stress can have an extremely negative effect on both our mental and physical wellbeing. If you’re a small business owner with the world on your shoulders and deal with high levels of stress every day, there are several key things you can do to make your work life easier and reduce the amount of stress you experience to stay healthy:


Plan Your Day

To get the most out of your working day, it’s important to create lists, compartmentalise your day and prioritise tasks. Make sure your to-do lists are real actions and include a verb for each task. For example, instead of simply writing ‘Accounts’, create a clear plan and write ‘Call Accounts department and speak to them about XYZ’.

Don’t let anyone break your schedule and always try to end meetings and calls on time. Focus on completing tasks in a way that requires the least amount of time and effort but still achieves the goal.

At the end of each working day, reflect on every task you completed. Learn from what went well, what went badly and why.

Saying No

The main reason so many business owners feel that they’re drowning in work is because they simply don’t like to say ‘no’. As a business owner, it’s hard to say no to things because you are hardwired to say yes – it almost goes against your nature to decline an opportunity.

But it is important to learn to say no to things that don’t feel right. It is this over-commitment and spreading yourself too thin that leads to disappointment and, ultimately, creates more stress for everyone.


In today’s modern world, there are a huge number of new technologies and software solutions appearing every day. These are designed to simplify nearly every business process imaginable, from accounting to scheduling staff. As the manager of an SME, you may not have the budget to acquire every automation tool you’d like, however, working out which of these technologies will make your life easier will reduce a lot of the stress that is caused by the tasks you are trying to eliminate.

Transparency & Trust

When transparency is lacking, working environments can become toxic. Of course, full disclosure to all staff may not be entirely possible, but open communication and encouraging employees to express their thoughts and ideas – whether positive or negative –  ensures everyone feels valued and prevents misunderstanding.

A business owner that communicates transparently will quickly earn the trust of their employees. This will create a collaborative environment which is empowering for any organisation. Stress levels are reduced and productivity increased if everyone feels they are working together in pursuit of a common goal.

Getting Enough Sleep

This may sound like common sense, but business owners’ stress and productivity levels are often drastically affected simply because they don’t get enough sleep every night. Even if you’ve taken extra steps to improve your performance at work, when your body and mind aren’t given the adequate time needed to recover, your judgement, memory and mood will also be negatively affected. This will have a detrimental knock-on effect to your stress and productivity levels.

With all of today’s distractions and responsibilities, sleep may be the last thing on your list of priorities. However, it is vital for your physical wellbeing and clarity of mind to aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep a night!