Building your business from the ground up is a huge accomplishment, and with it being your passion, it can be easy for the barriers between your personal and professional life to begin to blur.

Work-life balance can be a challenge to master, but there are a few ways to gain more of your personal life back while still devoting ample time to the business you are so proud of. Below we have a few ideas to do just that and get you out of that office and into some much needed self-care.

Reduces Stress Levels

Stress is a common side effect of running a small business, but designing a schedule for each day is a great way to prioritize tasks and create concrete plans to relax after a day’s work. Buy an agenda or use a digital calendar to practice time blocking. Time blocking sets strict deadlines for work day tasks to improve productivity, and also encourages strict working hours. Some events may require you to work into the night, but try your best to avoid all work related tasks after a designated clock-out time. Similar to how you plan your daily work tasks, be sure to utilize your down time as well, and write down what you would like to accomplish each night. It can be anything from chores, errands, a fun activity, or even just having a lazy night in with comfort food and your favorite movie. Make it a plan no matter what your night may entail, and before bed, get in the habit of mapping out tasks for the following day to prevent a stressful start to your morning.

Relieves the Need for Control

Being a business owner instills a need for control, making it difficult to delegate tasks when necessary. This is where utilizing your employees comes into play to ensure you have more time to dedicate to your personal life. If you fear your employees will not complete tasks to your standards, design a training program that outlines step by step directions for each task. Once they have completed the course, delegate smaller tasks to employees so that you can focus on more important responsibilities to keep the business operating smoothly. Crossing this hurdle is a major step toward stronger work-life balance habits and may take time, but will pay off by giving you some much needed peace of mind that your business can function without you spreading yourself too thin.

Gives Space for Growth

One of the most integral parts of harnessing work-life balance is the ability to invest time in yourself, which in turn, improves the business you have worked tirelessly to create. When working for long hours day in and day out, you may get stuck in a continuous cycle, and lose sight of new opportunities or inspiration. Having personal time to clear your mind and reset can help to analyze your business outside of the daily responsibilities. Give some thought on using your personal time to better your knowledge and skills for your business by taking online courses or certifications as well. For many small business owners, margins can be slim when it comes to personal profit, and education can be a hefty investment, but don’t let this discourage you. Consider your loan options like the traditional school loan or something like a home equity loan as a quick source of money. Or, if the courses pertain directly to your line of work, write them off as a business expense.

Sets Much Needed Boundaries

Setting boundaries that separate the work day to your personal time is easier said than done. Start with creating space between you and where you perform work tasks, whether it’s your home office or a building. Once you lock up for the night, avoid this space and leave all work equipment safely behind. This creates a physical divide between professional and personal space, while giving your mind the mental cue that it’s time to relax. You also need to start saying no to work priorities that occur outside of office hours, and yes to more personal commitments you have been too busy to attend. Maintaining relationships is key to positive mental health, so make plans with friends and family and stick to them! Leave your work phone behind and enjoy uninterrupted time with loved ones. This can help to balance out the stress from work, while also giving you a much needed support system to bounce ideas or concerns off of.

Allows You to Focus on You

Last but not least, work-life balance is important for small business owners because it positively affects their overall health. Owning a business results in both physical and mental strain, and if not addressed, can lead to more serious health conditions. Take care of yourself both inside and outside of work. Use a small amount of your free time to dedicate to exercise and shy away from unhealthy convenience foods; instead reach for some fresh fruits or vegetables. It can be easy to gravitate toward fast-food and sugary snacks when rushing around to maintain a business, but try meal prepping ahead of time to ensure you have a nutritious lunch to feel your best. Self-care is also important, and whether it’s a good night’s sleep, taking a nature walk, or heading out on a short vacation, find what works best for you. If you feel good both mentally and physically, your business will reap the benefits.