There is perhaps no one busier than a business owner or over-scheduled professional. While we are all busy to some extent, the balancing act professionals and business owners must do in their daily lives can be overwhelming, stressful, and nearly impossible.

By guest writer Julie Morris

The typical number of hours the average American works has risen sharply in the last decade. An average American works about 38.7 hours a week, according to the Motley Fool. We are also less likely to take our vacation days, even when they are paid.

This excessive hard work can quickly lead to burnout if you are not careful. It might be impossible to decrease the amount of time your work overall, but by implementing a few techniques, you can reduce stress and become more productive.

Meditation

The benefits of meditation have become more known in the last couple of years. HuffPost reported that meditation improves concentration, increases self-awareness, slows aging, and even boosts your immune health, among other benefits.

One of the most well-known benefits, however, is a reduction of stress. Meditation prevents unproductive worrying. In other words, when you practice meditation, you are less likely to worry about things you can’t control. Instead of stressing continuously about that meeting tomorrow, meditation can help you relax and enjoy the present.

It does not take very long to meditate either. Even just meditating for 10 minutes a day is shown to have a positive effect. Meditation is a lot easier than you might think. We recommend starting with something simple, such as counting your breaths or listening to a guided meditation online.

Self-Care

Beyond mediation, taking the time to take care of yourself each day can have a significant impact on your mood, productivity, and stress. Our bodies are like machines. If you don’t take care of your body correctly, you can’t expect it to function at 100 percent. It is essential to get the appropriate exercise, nutrients, and sleep that you need. 

Self-care has a variety of benefits, including heightened self-esteem, increased productivity, and a bolstered immune system. Plus, self-care requires such little time that there is no excuse to not take care of yourself. Something as small as grabbing a healthy lunch instead of the usual fast food can make such a difference in your mood, health, and stress levels.

Mindfulness

Many people consider mindfulness a part of meditation, but it can extend beyond the yoga mat and help you even when you’re racing to get that big project done.

When we’re busy, we tend to lose track of time, our body, and our environment. While this might seem useful, prolonged periods of hyper focus can cause you more stress and decrease your productivity. When you’re completely engrossed in one stress-inducing task, it can be easy to miss physical cues and become so caught up that you forget what is important. Practicing staying mindful about your body, thoughts, and environment while you’re working can help you respond to your own needs faster, prevent a build-up of stress, and increase your stamina.

It is usually useful to practice being mindful while you meditate first. However, as you get better, you can take short breaks throughout your workday. Taking 10 seconds to focus on your breathing can go a long way toward reducing your stress and improving your overall well-being. 

It might seem impossible to reduce your stress and stay productive in our continually moving, fast-paced world. However, setting the time aside to meditate can drastically reduce your stress levels, while taking proper care of yourself can increase your ability to deal with the daily onslaught of business and improve your productivity. Those two techniques combined with occasional mindfulness breaks can lead the way to a productive but stress-free life.

Julie Morris is a a Life and Career Coach. You can connect with Julie at juliemorris.org.

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