Canadian Pizza Magazine

How to beat stress

By Tom Stankiewicz   

Features Business and Operations Health & Safety

How to beat stress

Most established business owners I know pick at least one day a week to concentrate on something other than work.

Running your own business is very rewarding but it can be very stressful as well. It is easy to get buried in paperwork and all of the other things that need to be done from day to day.

Do you feel like we’re constantly working with no breaks?

It is important to take time to recharge your energy to stay focused on the goals you have set for your business. One of the phrases I keep hearing is “Work smarter, not harder.” Below are a few suggestions that will help you implement this philosophy and take the s

My favourite advice that someone gave me a long time ago is simply to take some time off. It’s difficult to do, but it works exceptionally well to relieve the stress. Each year, plan to take at least one week away from work and enjoy yourself. Plan it in advance and let others take care of the business in your absence. At first, it sounds impossible, but if you put your management skills to good use it will work out just fine. Weekend getaways can help you recharge and stay focused on what’s important. The trick is to completely disconnect during that time and let your mind and body regroup.


With access to instant communication, it is important to set boundaries for yourself and for others. This could be as simple as receiving and accepting only emergency phone calls on Sundays. It is up to you to decide that, for example, Sunday is your designated family day. If you train your management team properly, this approach will contribute to a less stressful work week. Most established business owners I know pick at least one day a week to concentrate on something other than work.

I don’t recommend keeping a long to-do-list. You will do your mind and body a great favour by keeping it short and realistic. I know from experience that the list can get very long to the point that just thinking about it is overwhelming. And let’s face it, the 20 things we add to the list will not get done in one day. It is better to focus on a few each day rather than start all of them and have none completed. First thing in the morning is a perfect time to prioritize tasks in order of importance and required time to complete. It will give you a clear picture of which ones need to be started immediately and which ones can be started at the same time. This exercise is a great time-saver.   

Hobbies are another awesome way to reduce stress at work. Taking a few hours a week to play sports or do anything else you like for fun will help decrease your stress level as well. The suggestion may seem strange as most of us are already running around on our feet all day. However, this is a good opportunity to get your mind thinking about something else other than your everyday business concerns.

Along with taking care of yourself mentally and physically, it is important to know when to say no when someone is asking you to do something for them. As a small business owner, you need to analyze the options and consider what’s best for your business. Saying yes to every request you receive may hurt your business and add unnecessary stress to your work life and your personal life. In fact, making outside commitments may prove too difficult to manage if not properly assessed. It makes total sense to focus on business needs first before lending your support to other initiatives.    

Operating and managing a successful business also means looking after yourself properly. Corporate businesses recognize the importance of this health trend. Smaller independent businesses have slowly started to pay attention but we have a long way to go.

A lot of the focus is put on the sales side, which is important, but not enough is being said about the well-being of the people who run the businesses. It is the people who make the business successful – not the
other way around. If they don’t have enough strength and motivation to get through every day, the business will most likely fail. Businesses need people who can stay sharp and focused and contribute in a positive way.

Stress is part of our lives, business or personal; however, each of us has the power to decide what we will do with it.

Tom Stankiewicz has been in the pizza business for more than 15 years. He has been the proprietor of Bondi’s Pizza in London, Ont., since 2000 and is president of the Canadian Pizza Team.

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