Running or launching a business in Africa can be stressful for women entrepreneurs. While it is crucial to work hard and commit, you must ensure that you don’t burn out. Fighting stress and committing to self-care are actually investments in the business you are growing. In this post, I’ll focus on how smart planning and goal-setting can alleviate your day-to-day pressures.

Know When to Plan: Knowing when to plan your day is just as important as knowing that you need to. When you’re feeling under pressure, planning can exacerbate your stress. By planning your day the evening before, however, you can ensure that you plan when you feel calmer — and this mood is more likely to flow into the following day. Plus, that’s not the only benefit. Bridget Edwards writes, “While sleeping, the subconscious mind helps prepare for the day’s tasks ahead,” and adds that, when combined with visualization, planning ahead in this way has even been known to dramatically improve income and sales.

Set Achievable Goals: Entrepreneurs often have long to-do lists that they use when planning their day-to-day activities. But to-do lists can be just as intimidating as having no list at all. To deal with this, try breaking down larger to-do items into smaller, distinct goals. For instance, rather than writing “Organize the fundraising event,” try breaking that down into micro-goals, such as, “Ensure that all machines are working,” and “Brief staff about X.” These smaller goals are more achievable, which means they’re less likely to block your progress and therefore cause you stress. You’ll be impressed at how quickly you can check things off, and this will help you feel accomplished and satisfied.

Less Dread, More Growth: As a woman entrepreneur, you’ve likely felt dread when facing unwanted but necessary tasks. Rather than spending days or hours knowing that you have to face such a task, consider completing it as quickly as you can, then give yourself a deserved reward.

That said, as an entrepreneur, you must also prioritize the tasks that will help you to grow, rather than leaving them at the bottom of the list. “We can’t focus on everything at once,” stress management and life coach Pamina Mullins writes on her blog. “So we need to consciously direct our attention into areas we want to develop….” By balancing the tasks that you dread with those that will help you grow, your entrepreneurial progress won’t be hampered by stagnation.

Plan to Reward Yourself: Planning a special treat for whenever you achieve an important milestone not only adds an extra incentive for any tasks that you are dreading, but it also ensures that you indulge in much needed self-care. Remember that taking a break is vital for your health and self-esteem, both of which are important for your business. Just as you would reward a member of staff for doing exceptional work, so you must reward yourself to maintain your drive and self-esteem.

By following these guidelines, you’re likely to bring yourself a greater sense of self-worth and calm.

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