Running a business is not easy.

It requires a lot of time, hard work, and sacrifice. If you operate your own small business, you’re likely all too familiar with the never ending to do list. Maybe you’ve even given up weekends and burned the midnight oil to make sure everything gets done.

But there has to be a line.

If you push yourself too hard, both you and your business will suffer. You can’t do your best work when you’re running on fumes — and you can’t be happy and healthy when you’re working all the time. Balance is key.

Take a logical approach to your work

Humans cannot go full speed 24 hours a day. Most people hit lulls throughout the day and could benefit from short breaks here and there.

A great way to achieve balance is to figure out the time of day when you’re at your best and schedule your day from there. If you’re a morning person, get up early, knock out the important work right away and end the day while it’s still light out.

If you do your best work at night, there is nothing wrong with sleeping in and working well into the evening.

You’ll likely still get burned out at some point in the day but you’re setting yourself up to get the most important things done first.

Create a stimulating work environment

Another way you can get the most out of yourself is to create a work environment that fosters motivation.

Sometimes it can be as easy as putting a new color of paint on the wall, letting more natural light in, or playing some music. When you feel comfortable in your workspace, it’s easy to settle in and get things done.

If working in the same place day after day isn’t your thing, you can consider working remotely. It’s never been easier to stay in touch while on the go, thanks to the internet and cloud technology. You can work from a coffee shop, a co-working space, or even next to a pool, provided there is a Wi-Fi connection.

Five tips for balancing work and life

There are lots of small changes business owners can make to get time back. Below are five tips everyone should consider to strike a balance.

  1. Delegate what you don’t like or you’re not good at. Running a business comes with a variety of responsibilities. There are going to be some that just aren’t for you. Consider paying someone else to handle them for you so you can focus on what you’re good at.
  2. Take holidays off. Life can become a grind without the occasional extra day off. Spend holidays with your friends or family and do anything that helps you recharge and refocus.
  3. Never neglect your health. Business success shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. In fact, people do better work when they’re eating well, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep.
  4. Go to the doctor. Stress can cause countless health issues but many people often accept it as part of their job. If you’re not feeling well, schedule a doctor’s visit. They’ll certainly let you know when you need to slow down and what can happen if you don’t.
  5. Turn off at the end of the day. The workday has to end at some point. Try to build in time later in your day and on weekends to do something you enjoy.

Remind yourself why you’re self-employed

When you’re feeling overworked, it’s a good idea to take a step back and think about why you chose this career path in the first place. Money was likely a major reason, but there’s a good chance independence factored in as well. If you’re veering away from your original goals, take breath and get yourself back on track.

Check out Xero’s small business guide for more tips on how to achieve work-life balance.

We want to hear from you. How do you achieve balance in your life? Let us know in the comments below.

About the author: Dave Anderson is an Outreach Writer for Xero accounting software. He lives in San Francisco and enjoys writing about technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, and a variety of other topics.