Mental health is crucial in businesses as it can make or break performance in a constantly evolving environment. While most CEOs do not hear about the growing issue often, they most definitely feel it on a day-to-day basis. Part of an executive’s job is to be as efficient and high-performing as possible. Hence, keeping their time and themselves in check is necessary to achieve that goal.
It is the responsibility of a CEO to be adaptive and flexible. They must find new ways to improve efficiency and open up new opportunities. However, they can’t do it alone. Trying to make everything happen without help can be incredibly taxing and stressful. As a result, it hinders the company’s growth and affects the mental health of the CEO negatively.
CEOs & Mental Health
A striking 94% of CEOs have reported seeking and receiving mental health support in the past year. Also, this could possibly include the CEO reading this analysis, which should put the scope of the issue into perspective. Running a business or being in charge of its operation is mentally stressful by nature. Therefore, staggering numbers come as no surprise.
Stress among CEOs invites multiple health hazards and decreases overall productivity. Unfortunately, managing mental health is not a skill taught in school or the working environment. As a result, the complex demands and expectations placed on a CEO harbor a myriad of pressures. It also causes stress that leads to multiple negative effects on an overwhelmed executive.
Repercussions of Neglecting One’s Mental Health
Regardless of one’s position and standing, excessive amounts of stress for prolonged periods cause severe health issues. Additionally, bringing stress upon oneself only takes a few seconds, while removing it may take years. One can only imagine how much tension builds up in a CEO sludging through 10-hour workdays. All while juggling countless ideas from sunrise to sundown.
Physical & Mental Effects of Prolonged Stress
- Low energy
- Chest pain
- Cognitive effects
- Constant worrying
- Lack of focus
- Poor judgment
- Poor attitude/Low morale
- Behavioral effects
- Appetite changes
- Avoiding responsibility
- Increased use of drugs and alcohol
These severely impact not only their performance but also their overall quality of life. When exposed to prolonged periods of stress, executives can experience “burnout”. It is a state where one can feel hopeless, sad, alone, and inadequate. As a result, this causes the individual to act rashly and get angry at those who make demands. Other symptoms include chronic fatigue and feel as if they are not enough. As one could imagine, this places a great strain on the individual. It also poses an extra obstacle to achieving goals and being productive.
Causes of Mental Health Problems
The most prominent driver of mental health issues in business owners is stress. Stress is one of the first words that come to mind for CEOs–and for a good reason. As it turns out, stress can be found in many areas of a business owner’s operations. Ultimately because they are in charge of many aspects in their companies.
When interviewing 9 executives on what causes them the most stress, one executive mentioned overstimulation and being overwhelmed. CEOs face a constant stream of information, objectives, and problems they are expected to overcome. Moreover, it is extremely easy to be overwhelmed by a large number of stimuli a business owner encounters.
From project management to recruitment, executives carry around a hefty platter of responsibilities that require their attention. Moreover, CEOs have one foot in every door, being the go-to person for the needs of the company and employees. All of this is expected of CEOs while maintaining a calm collected composure. It is also expected of them to exhibit a friendly attitude to manage employees and clients professionally.
How Time Management Affects Mental Health
Among the 9 executives interviewed, a recurring theme was time management. It is one thing to maintain a business, but it is another to improve it. Both require amounts of time leading to some being overwhelmed and clueless on how to manage their limited hours.
This day and age feature more information and opportunities than one could be able to participate in. Therefore, getting lost in the track of time is very common among all modern citizens. The same is true, if not amplified, for CEOs as the nature of their job requires their constant attention. There is also no off switch to being an executive. Success must be cultivated and cared for day in and day out, thus leaving no room for breaks or mistakes.
At the end of the day, a CEO just one person, with an innumerable amount of tasks and responsibilities. Deciding where to put time and energy among the sea of projects can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming.
Even with the crazy hours CEOs work, they are still human beings with complex personal life. Out of the 24 hours in a day, CEOs spend an average of 9.7 on work. Thus, this only leaves 15 hours for sleep, family, and alone time. With no room to release the intense stress built up, it is understandable why some executives can be overwhelmed.
Role of Virtual Assistants
Virtual assistants are a hybrid of personal helpers and online secretaries. They complete tasks as instructed by their clients on a day-to-day basis. Those who face multiple responsibilities dream about cloning themselves to help out with their workload. In line with that, virtual assistants are one of the closest things to clones a CEO could have. These helpers are a catalyst for both the performance and well-being of CEO across the world. They also give their clients the tools needed to focus on what matters. Lastly, they shoulder some of the nonstop burdens of running an operation.
Virtual Assistant Benefits
The age-old saying “time is money” does not stray far from the truth. To make money one must make time, and to have free time, one must make money. How many of the daily tasks that come with running a business produce direct income? Many menial things CEOs do consume their time and energy. Therefore, further contributing to their overwhelming workload. CEOs are worth untold amounts of money, so why would a million-dollar executive spend hours on a 10 dollar task?
Virtual assistants save valuable time that could be used to innovate or complete tasks by the CEO. From managing and taking phone calls to responding to emails, a virtual assistant can change a busy CEO’s life. Hours of paperwork and other miscellaneous tasks can be outsourced to a virtual assistant. Therefore, this allows optimization of time and energy. With a lighter workload, CEOs can be less stressed and they can take care of their mental health better.
Running a business has no designated hours. Even after one leaves the office, CEOs are still bombarded with messages, thoughts, and other responsibilities. A virtual assistant helps CEOs relax when they aren’t actively working. They do this by performing tasks like taking messages and calls until the CEO is ready to deal with them.
Not only does this allow the executive to focus on more important tasks, but this also gives them extra time. As a result, they can get quality rest and spend time with their family and friends. In other words, it allows them to experience life outside of work. Instead of being constantly glued to their phone anxiously waiting for their employees to send updates.
Why Mental Health is Important
The mental health of a CEO should be held with the same importance as the success of their company. They are still human beings after all and need to experience life outside work. They also need to be there for both their loved ones and for themselves. Failure to do so results in many consequences. Starting from declining performance to physical and emotional turmoil. Conclusively, freeing oneself from menial work and worry is essential to rise to the top. With that, virtual assistants grant CEOs this freedom, by working while they rest and increasing their productivity twofold.