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By Cathy Kessler
Small business owners have it tough. I know. I'm one of them. It surprises me that we aren't all bald from wearing so many hats! But what can we do to alleviate all the stress and pressure? I can tell you for a fact that a hectic schedule is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Eliminate the root cause of the stress, and you eliminate the stress. Here's how to make sure you are calm and bright.

Small business owners are torn between what seems to be a never-ending struggle. We love what we do, but we simply don't have time to do it all. We are also notorious for being "control freaks" which makes it oh-so-very-hard to ask for help. Try these suggestions in order to find the perfect middle ground and get some relief in your "too busy" schedule without losing control.

Practice Delegating
Go ahead. give it a try. Delegating is really not as hard as it sounds. Start with something small like having someone proof-read your letters or marketing pieces. If you want to maintain control, just ask the proof-reader to change the colour of the font so you can see exactly what was modified. This action frees you up to do more important things, and you have a quick and easy way to check behind the person -- if you choose to. As you get more comfortable with the "delegatee's" work, you can allow him/her to take over more duties for you.

Get Organised
Doing simple things will really give you loads of more time. now and all year long. For example:

Email - Take time to set up folders in your email program so you can sort and find messages quickly. No more digging through your entire Inbox or Sent folder to find what you need.

Accounting - Design a functional spreadsheet to track income and expenses. The end-of-the-year tax struggle won't take near as much time if you enter all your information into one document.

Taxes - Take time to sit down with your tax professional and create a list of expenses you can write off. That way, all throughout the year, you'll know what receipts to keep and what you can toss in the trash. You're also likely to find many more deductions than you initially knew about!

Filing - Develop a filing system so you can get all that paperwork off the corner of your desk. You'll be able to find what you need each and every time without your blood pressure or acid reflux kicking in! Check out David Allen's book titled "Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity" to learn some great systems. He also offers an informational newsletter at

It is amazing how many more hours you'll find in your day once things are in their place. Taking just a few minutes to stop and set things up the way they should be will save you time and money all year long. Then you can look forward to a new year where all is calm and all is bright.

 (© 1995 – 2007 Glen Chapman)