Do you feel pressured by deadlines, responsibilities, and complex projects at work?
Unless you’re superhuman, you probably do. Work-related stress is an all-too-common issue the vast majority of professionals across all industries cope with – not to mention entrepreneurs.
We’ve sort of learned to accept it as a matter of fact – we manage the daily operations and keep the stress under control, but every now and then the workload expands (somewhat dramatically) and that fine balancing act we’ve maintained masterfully for weeks, maybe even months, goes to pieces. Pair it with responsibilities and circumstances outside your work life, and you’ve got yourself feeling like a hot mess.
That’s when we feel anxious, overwhelmed, and desperate to grasp some resemblance of order, both internal and external.
If this sounds all too familiar to you, it’s important to know that you’re not alone – and that there are ways you can manage these overwhelming pressures. Here are some helpful tips for fighting work-induced anxiety and finding balance.
Acknowledge your co-workers as teammates
When faced with an overwhelming workload, many people create a barrier between themselves and their co-workers, trying desperately to deal with their anxiety all on their own.
But what if you didn’t push back the people who are most likely going through the same thing at that very moment and who have the clearest insight into your situation at work?
Perhaps your company doesn’t promote a team culture, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bond with your co-workers and foster the team spirit. When things get tough, team members help each other by providing empathy, motivation, and energy, or they may even quite literally step in for each other and help out with certain tasks.
So, the next time you feel anxious and overwhelmed by your workload, don’t internalize it. Tell a co-worker what you’re going through, ask for help, don’t eat lunch alone – lean on your team for some support.
Ask for support from friends and family
Your co-workers are not the only ones who should know what you’re dealing with – it’s important to create your safety net, which can’t be complete without your friends and family. Tell them what you’re going through and what’s troubling you the most about the current pressures. And don’t think you’re burdening them – after all, that’s what friends and family are for.
It’s better to vent right away and let them know the issues you’re dealing with than to let the anxiety build up, suffer in silence, and lash out at some point. That’s how you’ll avoid turning work stress into home stress. When loved ones are clued in to what’s going on, there will be no misunderstandings on both sides – only then can they give you the emotional support and the space you need.
Take care of your body
When tensions rise, it’s more important than ever to take care of your body. This wonderful mechanism, where all the pieces are closely intertwined to form your physical and mental wellbeing, needs to be nurtured so it can help you push through.
Any kind of exercise is great for relieving stress, so dedicate at least 15 minutes a day to an activity you like to get your blood pumping. Trust me, you’ll feel better for it, and yes, you can find 15 minutes in your busy schedule. Be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid alcohol and other stimulants, and try to get enough sleep.
Sleep can be an especially tricky issue when you’re fighting anxiety, but if the stress is keeping you tossing and turning at night, try to avoid sleeping pills. It’s always better to find a natural solution, such as plant-based stress support supplements to promote healthy sleep because unlike sleep meds, they have no side effects. These types of products can provide you with stress-relief by managing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, with the help of natural ingredients known as adaptogens.
Set boundaries and find your relaxation rituals
You need some serious you-time, otherwise you’ll burn out completely.
First things first, set clear work-life boundaries to the best of your ability. If boundaries are something you’re especially having trouble with, it’s okay – start small and you’ll get there. For example, dedicate a 100% work-free hour each night.
Take that time to reset both mentally and physically. A relaxing daily routine that you truly enjoy helps you maintain a sense of order and calm amidst the chaos. Maybe it’s pursuing a hobby that you love, watching your favorite show, doing a relaxing beauty routine, or taking a hot bath each night before bed – whatever works for you.
When you think about the overwhelming workload and you have no idea how on Earth you’re supposed to get all that done on time, the panic is bound to settle in.
Take a deep breath and step back. Not everything is urgent.
Grab a pen and paper and write it all down, one by one, then assign priority rankings to each task. Think in small steps, focus on time management, and develop a day-to-day plan for tackling the monster project. You’ll feel a lot calmer when you have a battle plan and when everything is put on paper rather than swarming around your head.
Work inevitably gets overwhelming from time to time, but the only way to handle this anxiety is by maintaining your perspective. Remember that this will pass and use these tips to help you get through it. Lastly, although humor may be the last thing on your mind in uptight situations, do try consciously to find a bit of it every day – it really heals.
Caitlin is a bookworm and recreational dancer. She is also a medical student in love with science in all its forms. Her fields of expertise could be summed up in psychology, productivity, and well-being related topics. When she is not trying to find the meaning of life and Universe, Caitlin is researching and writing about various health-related and well-being related topics. She is happily addicted to art in all its forms, grilled tofu, and hiking. To see what Caitlin is up to next, check out her Twitter dashboard.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
I remember sitting baffled, my backpack still in my lap, at the start of an elective course during my Masters. The course was a small one, and was geared towards teaching designers how to start their own design agency after university. The lecturer asked all of us what our motivations were for choosing the course. Some of the students had a really clear idea of what they wanted to do with the knowledge acquired which is why lecturer was somewhat surprised when it came time for me to share and I said, “I don’t really see myself as an entrepreneur, but the disciplines that this course addresses I want to develop 100%”. I won’t go too much into detail about the lecturer’s response, but let’s just say the conclusion was he believed I could best spend my time elsewhere. This struck a chord with me. Why on earth should I not choose to spend time learning something I don’t know much about yet, something I want to deepen my skill set with? It was a situation that resonates with me now as an entrepreneur because it shows the things I’d rather follow than fear.
Following your eagerness to learn
Looking back at this situation is now funny to me. To think that I have ever said the words “I don’t really see myself as an entrepreneur” would make most people that are close to me smile a little. In the years after accidentally landing my first freelance design gig, I’ve built a business where I sell, license and create art for many different clients. Interestingly, that accidental project began a few months after taking the course I talked about before – isn’t it funny how that stuff works? The reason I am now putting myself out there as a creative is a simple one: I followed my eagerness to learn and grow as a person.
What’s weird about thinking back to that moment, is the fact that there is such a clear difference in how I approached learning something new versus the expectations that were apparently there regarding the enrolled students. My insatiable hunger to learn, develop, grow, and find topics that can help me get ahead is what helped me discover an entrepreneurial spirit within me I never thought I possessed. This is also the reason why, aside from my artwork, I looove putting creative video workshops into the world to help out people like me!
The Magic is In The Doing art print – by Anna Lena Illustrations
Follow the thing you like best
Taking bold risks in your career to follow the path you believe in most can be pretty freaking frightening. I remember having freelanced for a year or so while also finishing my Masters degree and working part time as a designer in an IT company, and realizing I had to choose a freelance focus. In that time I was doing some app design, some web design, some consulting, and only a little bit of illustration projects. So, while I was working on my part time job, I was already busy with tech projects. Even though those tech projects covered the starting cost of my business, a laptop, a drawing tablet, and a ton of art supplies, I decided to focus on illustration jobs. That was also around the time I rebranded to where I currently am and started building my portfolio, online shop, and designed new workflows for client projects. I talked about it to my friends and family so much, I was afraid their ears were going to fall off or take a spontaneous holiday…what if the thing that allowed me to save up for after college, money I made ALL by myself, would suddenly go away? Could I go get the clients back? I didn’t know. I decided to go with my gut – after the fiercest research ever seen, that is. You could definitely say I’m an organized chaos muppet, yes. I have some pretty handy ways to stay productive and happy, even though my ideas are running at 1000 miles a minute :).
Listen to your instinct to fight back
There have definitely been moments where I was scared out of my socks. Truth be told, I found the whole admin stuff a bit overwhelming, especially in the beginning. From the get go, I have been very organized with my finances and contracts, even though they have definitely improved. Still, I felt really overwhelmed when issues popped up that I didn’t know how to solve. In those moments, I said to myself, “I’m going to quit. This sucks so hard.” But, the thing that kept me going was that I always knew someone I could ask for advice. That was my instinct to fight the fear and inform myself, so it would not be so scary anymore. There are many ways to connect with entrepreneurs even as an introvert and digital nomad. The key is to build connections with people you think are doing great work, people who are on the rise with you. Those are the people that can offer support in those difficult moments and help you fight back.
Speaking of working with people, I totally understand the instinct to hide at home or in your office and just dig into the work. This can work really well, but in my experience only for so long. I personally love those days where the only people I talk to are the mailman, the people at my fav coffee place, and my significant other. Yet, the whole point of business is to get your work and your mission to the right people. It can be hard to market your work or yourself when you have no audience especially when you’re just starting out. That’s why I loved connecting to other creatives which helped me fight the overwhelm and get info I wouldn’t have heard of otherwise. New ideas, new info, new connections, new opportunities, people who truly understand you.. all that is the true value of collaboration!
The thing I loved most about starting my own business right out of college was that it didn’t have to be perfect right away. Because I started while studying, I had time to experiment with my branding and figure out what type of clients and work I was most interested in. I could switch between the security of having a job and a freelance career, and learn and play without having to think about the rent and a myriad of other adult responsibilities. It brought me to this point, where I am sometimes still overwhelmed or anxious about where I am going, but I do have good collaborations, business friends, a fighter’s instinct, and my eagerness to learn. What I also have at this point is a successful illustration career, an online shop, an eBook, and handy resources for creatives who are just like me. I know what defines me and it is not the overwhelm. What I really would love for those of you who dream of making bold decisions to take away, is to never follow fear. Please, follow one of the above options instead or find intrinsic motivations that describe you way better! You will be so glad you did.
Anna Lena is an illustrator who loves french fries, making jokes and everything that is creativity-related. Her work is colorful, captivating and helps her clients get the right people really excited about their mission. When she isn’t working on her illustrations, she is talking about creativity and productivity at events or in video workshops for creatives.
It’s no secret that corporate businesses are dominated by men. A recent CNNMoney analysis indicates that of all S&P 500 CEO jobs, only 5 percent are held by women. A similar study described by Catalyst shows that women made up just 20 percent of board seats of fortune 500 companies. The good news is, this trend is shifting in the world of franchising. Women now either own or co-own 41 percent of all franchises in the United States. The reasons for this are complex, stemming from cultural shifts in traditional gender roles, general consumer experience, and the overall importance of diversity of thought. Women are changing the game.
Challenging Traditional Gender Roles
Just like other cultural phenomena, gender roles shift naturally over time; they’re affected by politics, environment, and social values. Over the course of the last century, female roles in western society have evolved rapidly. While there have been significant growing pains, women now hold business positions that have historically eluded them. However, work/life balance is still incredibly important to women, as it’s essential for overall well-being. According to Franchise Times, 54 percent of female franchisees say that their overall work-life is balanced or very balanced. When compared with corporate jobs, there is often less mandatory travel time, and hours are more flexible.
In fact, franchising is often overall a more dependable career option than, say, starting a business. Franchises have proven track records of success, follow established business models and regulations, and have the general support of the company. This may, at first glance, seem like a relatively risk-averse approach to business; after all, signing on to a stable company model appears to be a safe bet. However, a more appropriate phrasing would be risk mitigation. Compared to men, women are more adept at mitigating risk in favor of larger, potentially more advantageous risks. In a sense, women make inclusive and calculated decisions that support the bigger picture.
Women and the Consumer Experience
Women make up a significant portion of franchise consumers. Consumer experience gives women intimate knowledge of what products and services they prefer, what marketing strategies are successful, and how business models work for them. Sexism often plays a significant role—business models that are traditionally male dominated, like those in the automotive industry, can deter female consumers and leave them frustrated. If a woman has a poor experience at a franchise that provides a service that is essential to her lifestyle, she has motive to either take her business elsewhere, or become a change agent in the industry.
Though more women are getting into franchising than ever before, there are still logistical hurdles. For example, women continue to have difficulty obtaining adequate franchise funding, with female franchisees seeing a loan average of $568,475 compared to $729,093 for men. In terms of research, it’s hard to say whether these numbers reflect sexism in the loan industry, or if they indicate that women have historically pursued business ventures that require less capital than men. Whatever the case may be, this trend is rapidly changing. Loans to female franchisers showed an increase of 22.5 percent between 2013 and 2017, while those for males only increased 5.7 percent
One theory is that female franchisees are addressing the lack of family-friendly environments in companies. Brian Scudamore, Founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? reports that, “female-lead franchises are…disproportionately more successful than the men. Part of their strength is that they can relate to our customers—who are primarily women.” When a franchise owner and a customer share a lived experience, the customer is better served. Using their experience as consumers, women are able to accurately provide access to certain services, increasing foot traffic to their business. For example, when consumers who require childcare services have their needs met, they are likely to return. This is not to say that men can’t address the same issues; it’s merely indicative that the traditional female roles of the past can have significant, progressive influence on female roles in the future.
What Women Bring to the Table
Women bring a diversity of thought to the table. In general, women are more open to sharing ideas and collaboration than their male counterparts, giving way to innovation and new business practices. Women are similarly unafraid to ask questions, an inclusive practice that allows them to bring new voices and expertise to their franchise. According to Courtney Sinelli, Executive Vice President of Which Which Superior Sandwiches, women “look at their business from various angles,” considering “how decisions affect all areas of their business.” Similarly, Shelly Sun from the International Franchising Association believes that women “tend to be better managers, leaders, and inspirers of talent,” making their employees “feel cared for.” This wholistic approach is paving the way for women to change the landscape of franchising, making it more diverse and accessible to consumers.
Haley is from Gilbert, Arizona. She loves reading and writing just about anything under the sun. In her spare time, you can find her exploring outdoors or sippin’ on a craft brew.
No matter how good we’re doing in our lives, we can always stand to improve them. How many times have you told yourself that starting tomorrow, or starting next year, you’ll finally stick to your resolutions and turn your life around? Change starts now and it starts with you. The important thing is knowing where to start from. There are simple yet life-changing decisions you can make and stick to regardless of your busy schedule. These changes are bound to improve the three aspects of life which suffer most in today’s world- health, happiness, and wealth.
Save some cash
Saving money is always a good idea and a fail-proof way to more wealth. You don’t need to change your habits entirely to do it, though. For example, you can change the way you use transportation. Instead of taking your car or the bus, cycle to where you need to go.
This way you’ll be saving a lot of money on gas and car maintenance (and bus tickets) while keeping fit and healthy. Additionally, you can put the money you’d spend on fuel in a jar or an envelope. Don’t touch it for a few months and see how the money piled up. Now you can afford something nice for yourself or use it for an unexpected fee without stressing.
Appreciate what you have
Perhaps the most efficient way to happiness is by changing your outlook on life. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have and what you want, look at what makes you happy in your life. Remember that at some prior point, you wanted everything you have now.
Greed and a negative attitude are what pulls us down and keep us from being happy. Stop yourself every time you have a negative thought about your life. It’s helpful to keep a diary of nice things that happened to you during the day so that you can read it when you’re feeling down.
Get enough sleep
A full night of sleep is essential for your happiness and health. Even though we live in a busy world and have a lot on our plates, it’s important to prioritize sleep. Think of it this way, you’ll achieve nothing if you’re not well-rested and thereby happy.
A regular sleep cycle improves your productivity and leaves you more time to do the things you love in the long run. It’s even a good idea to take a half hour nap daily. This way you’ll be setting some time for yourself and be able to finish the rest of your daily duties more quickly.
Watch your diet
Watching your diet doesn’t need to imply some drastic changes. It’s enough to stack up on healthy snacks and cut the sugar out of your life as much as you can. Sugar makes you sleepier and slowly kills your willpower, so it’s good to avoid it.
Healthy alternatives will rid your body of toxins you’ve ingested through unhealthy food. This will make you not only healthier, but happier, more energetic, and more positive.
Find an exercise you enjoy
Most of us only start working out because we have to. Since there is no actual joy in exercising, it’s hard to stay motivated and stick to the routine, hence why we fail most of the time. This can be solved pretty easily by finding an exercise you actually enjoy.
There are plenty to choose from, and you’ll surely find the right fit for you after some experimentation. To stay energized and motivated, combine the exercise with a proper diet. If you’re new to exercise, you should use fast digesting post workout protein which will help you kick-start the recovery process and continue exercising regularly.
Drink more water
This is a very simple way to keep your body healthy and vital. Water is good for all aspects of your being, and you can never have enough of it. It cleanses you internally and leaves your skin soft and radiant. What’s more, you’ll have more energy and will be much healthier.
There are plenty of apps which can help remind you to stay hydrated if you don’t have the habit of drinking water regularly. Another idea is to spice up your drink with some fresh mint or lemon. These two ingredients will keep you refreshed and on your toes.
All in all, you don’t need to make major changes to improve your life overall. Small steps are okay and they lead to the big improvements. The important thing is that you stick to these little decisions and make time for them in your busy schedule. Consistency has always been the key to success. It also helps with maintaining high levels of motivation. That means that you’ll be the best version of you in no time.
Stella is an art historian, entrepreneur, conscious consumer and a proud mother. She can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement/DIY projects.When she is not trying to improve the things around her (and herself, for that matter), she likes to lose herself in a good book.
We all remember those times when we daydreamed about the bright future ahead of us and the glamorous career paths we might take. Sooner or later however, reality manages to “hit” us all. Stability often takes the place of ambition and our dreams are put on hold to make way for the sustainable and comfortable.
For some of us, letting go of our dreams is simply out of the question. Personally, all my childhood I dreamed of being a famous pop star like Rihanna or Jessie J. Still, I can’t let go of my dream to sing my songs in front of a big crowd, though my musical orientations have changed over the years. For some of us, the ideas are persistent.
The mind of an entrepreneur never stops to think of how something can be improved upon. There are so many problems to solve and exciting ways to solve them. These ideas kick around in our heads until they become to hard to ignore.
Now, full-time jobs are somewhat of a time commitment. Add kids, outside interests, relationships, the work…and you may find yourself second-guessing the whole side hustle thing.
But hey, you’re not the first one to go through this struggle. There are several ways to handle this situation. One in three people has two or more means of income these days. So, what’s the magic formula for a successful side hustle? It really comes down to discipline, impeccable time management, and perseverance.
However, if you’re spending more time figuring out how to juggle than actually juggling, it may be time to step back and make some adjustments.
Does being a self-starter involve throwing everything away to dive head first into the risky journey of entrepreneurship? Maybe not.
Author of Originals Adam Grant puts it this way. “In every domain, from business and politics to science and art, the people who move the world forward with original ideas are rarely paragons of conviction and commitment. As they question traditions and challenge the status quo, they may appear bold and self-assured on the surface. But peel back the layers, the truth is that they, too, grapple with fear, ambivalence, and self-doubt. And as much as they seem to crave risk, really prefer to avoid it.”
5 Tips to Blend Your Job and Passion
If you’re having trouble managing your work and side hustle, these tips might help you overcome the challenges and setbacks that are blocking your way to success.
Develop clear objectives
For your side hustle to be successful and your lifestyle to stay intact, you need to establish clear objectives and expectations.
First, decide exactly what you want to achieve with your side hustle. Do you want to create a multinational brand and make millions? Or, are you happy just keeping it small for now…an creative outlet or an exploration into a new interest? How many customers/clients do you expect to have monthly or yearly? When will you finish the startup?
Then, once you have a clear picture of your objectives, think about your present lifestyle. What do you need to improve to reach your goals? What challenges stand in your way?
Great projects are always planned out. Don’t skip the process, otherwise, you might get lost on the path.
Acknowledge and leverage the common skills
When starting a side hustle, it’s tempting to to do something completely different than what you’re doing with your current job, but often times the skills we pick up doing what we love can actually propel us forward in the career we already have.
Finding out your inner strengths is the first step, leveraging them is the second. You should introspect and meditate upon this. Seek to find common ground and leverage it consistently until you reach your goals.
Share your passion with your coworkers
Coworkers can help you refine your vision, verbalize your ideas and allow for valuable feedback.
Another option might be to seek out a coach who can take it one step further and offer solutions to balance your two jobs more harmoniously.
Back up your side hustle with a flawless personal brand
Make sure to represent your passion with a personal brand that reflects your side job in the best possible light. This may call for a social media makeover across all platforms or an online audit to see where and how you’re showing up in the digital world.
Adding credibility is crucial. Reach out for testimonials to add to your website and create consistent and engaging content with your audience.
Challenges and warning signs
Now, let’s take a look at five warning signs that indicate a conflict with your side hustle and career path.
You’re becoming overwhelmed and confused
Becoming overwhelmed and confused because of too many responsibilities and expectations will turn you into an unproductive zombie. I get it. Your side hustle is exciting, and the rewards are even better. You want to work, work, and work until you succeed.
Unfortunately, putting too much pressure and overcrowding your schedule will lead you in the opposite direction, which is failure.
Give yourself some time to figure out how you can achieve optimal efficiency and harmony in your life. Calm your mind and make an informed assessment. Prioritize your current work, but don’t neglect the side hustle. Get back on your feet and keep yourself strong!
Your body can’t cope with the stress
When your mind is crowded, and your schedule is full, your body’s needs might be neglected. Of course, your mind and body are interconnected, so neglecting one of them will negatively affect the other.
Stress is a huge factor. Doing two things at once will bring more stress than you might have expected. In these situations, you need to keep a close eye on your energy, motivation, and physical strength.
If you didn’t know, high levels of stress block the immune system, making you vulnerable to every possible disease. Knowing that, you should treat both your mind and body carefully, giving them everything they need in order to thrive. That is good food, plenty of exercise, introspection, meditation, positive thoughts, and gratefulness.
You are side hustlin’ on the day job
It might sound obvious, but when you’re no longer fully present at work, this can be very damaging to your career success. You keep thinking about how you can make improvements to aspects of your side hustle.
This is the very first sign that problems are about to arise. You’ll no longer be able to do your job as you used to because you’ll be keeping your mind busy with all the things you’re going to do when you get home. This can heavily affect productivity, workflow, and motivation at work.
Your personal life is suffering
There’s a difference between busy and unhealthy workaholism. Balancing your 9-5 job and private life is hard enough. If you’re ducking out of afternoon meetings early to meet an important investor for your biz, that’s one thing. Blowing off a networking opportunity for the 10th time in a row to update some code on your website is another!
It’s also important to remember that a part of our social lives usually involves coworkers and these relationships are important if not as important as our friends outside of work. We spend a huge amount of time with these people and positive relationships with colleagues translate to a positive work experience overall. We need human connection and support to succeed. People are power.
Your work colleagues and managers become suspicious
Sometimes, our greatest passions are not something we feel comfortable sharing with coworkers. When we hide something, but we don’t do it well, negative consequences might arise.
As Peter Berne, the HR manager at A-writer, advises, “If you put a lot of work on your side hustle, sooner or later, people will start figuring it out. They’ll do so because your performance will drop, your interest will be lower, and your involvement in the company will drop. As you can figure, your boss and several important clients might not be so happy about it.”
Focus on your work and don’t allow your side hustle to intervene. Keep your productivity high and focus on your job like you used to. You are strong enough to be great at your job even if your other “passion” calls for you.
If balancing your side hustle and career becomes a full-time job within itself, it might be time to consider pursuing your passion more seriously, but think carefully before dropping your full-time gig altogether. Perhaps, you’re at a point in your career that could prove crucial to stay committed. Talking to a career coach or someone who’s been through this journey already may be able to help you prioritize and set realistic goals for yourself.
Audrey is a passionate blogger and marketer at college-paper.org. Her areas of interests are very wide, but mostly she writes about content marketing and innovative business technologies. Her aim is to engage people to self-growth and staying motivated.