Jason Tober
Blog, Operational efficiency

There are many situations and responsibilities in life that can stress a person out. Parents often stress about disciplining their children appropriately, teachers stress about lesson plans, and business owners stress about money, operations, customer experience, and success.

A certain amount of stress is a good thing. It can keep you on your toes and motivate you. But too much stress can impact your mood, cognitive ability, and energy level. So, what can you do to cope?

Here are four stress management techniques to reduce stress.

1. Rank your tasks by importance

Sometimes stress comes from paralysis by analysis. You might have so much to do you don’t know where to start, which can cause you to lose precious time. Writing out your tasks for the day or week and ranking them by importance will show you what to focus on first.

It’s important to categorize your list based on importance and “quick-wins.” For instance, you may be at the point where you need to finish payroll. If that’s the case, start the list with payroll. However, don’t be afraid to add some quick-wins to the top of the list. If you need to review your loss prevention data, and that only takes a few minutes, complete it early and check it off your list. It’s both productive and encouraging to be able to scratch quick wins off the list early on, if possible.

2. Make your culture supportive and caring

Do your employees feel empowered to offer each other help? Creating this type of culture can go a long way toward reducing your staff’s stress and problems. As a result, you will have fewer issues, too.

How can you create a supportive culture? During your team meetings before the customer rush occurs, ask the crew what issues, challenges, and stresses they’re dealing with. When someone expresses what they need help with, ask other team members to provide them with support. This will foster the mindset that employees should ask for help, offer to help, and accept help.

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3. Maintain a good self-care routine

Managing a QSR that’s open 24/7 means that you’re constantly on the clock. Healthy eating, adequate exercise, and plenty of sleep tend to go out the window when we’re under stress. But, this will do more harm than good. A lack of sleep can make it feel impossible to stay focused, and exercise has been proven to reduce stress. So, when the pressure’s on, try to follow these simple rules:

  1. Sleep at least seven hours a night.
  2. Avoid overindulging in fatty or sugary foods as a way to cope with stress.
  3. When you feel tired or unfocused, go for a walk before you reach for your next cup of coffee.

Focusing on these core habits will help you work faster, stay focused, and produce better results. Don’t take them for granted, instead make them a priority.

4. Take a vacation

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes when you feel buried by work it’s better to stop trying to dig yourself out and just take a break. Studies show time and again that employees are more focused and productive when they use their vacation days. Why wouldn’t the same be true for QSR owners?

“Time off” could be as simple as a partial day off, working nights or afternoons to enjoy a day or days, or working weekends to enjoy time off during the week.

Most importantly, tell others you are “off.” Put someone on point to handle phone calls, email, and emergencies so you can turn off the business to the best of your abilities and enjoy your time. Also, define specifically when you should be called: What dictates an emergency that you must handle?

Stress doesn’t have to run your day

Nobody wants to be stressed. With an entire team depending on you, you can’t afford to be stressed, either. So, instead of putting in more hours or working weekends to get caught up, try these stress management techniques. You may be surprised by the boost in your productivity and the shift in your mindset.

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