People always say they’re going to work less and spend more time on health, hobbies, and family. I’m sure you’ve vowed yourself to get your work-life balance in order — I certainly have.

For small business owners, work-life balance doesn’t come easy. (Let’s get real: Nothing as a small business owner comes easy, but work-life balance is undoubtedly one of the hardest achievements.)

Work and life don’t have to be mutually exclusive for business owners. You can have both, and you should. Healthier, happier local business owners make for better managers, creatives, and entrepreneurs.

But, how can local business owners spend more time with family and friends and less time at work without closing their office, losing money, or forsaking business?

Do yourself and your business a favor by making these four changes in your life.

Achieve Work-Life Balance With These Four Changes

Set Boundaries

I’d bet money that this topic is included in every article discussing work-life balance. And there’s a reason. Balance starts with boundaries.

You, I, and every other small business owner have chosen this career path because we don’t shy away from hard work. This is an admirable trait…until it’s time for the workday to end. Where some people lack the discipline to start working, we lack the discipline to stop.

That’s where boundaries can help us.

Start by setting time-based boundaries. When will you be working, and when will you be “off”? When can your employees, clients, vendors, and partners expect to connect with you? If it helps, program an automatic out-of-office email reply for messages sent outside work hours.

Also, ask your loved ones to help by asking you to place physical boundaries on phone and computer usage as well as office hours.

Learn Something New

As you establish boundaries and balance, you’ll most likely face a lot of vacant time on your schedule. These unfulfilled periods can make you feel like you’re wasting time, forsaking business, and losing money.

Achieving work-life balance isn’t just about working less; it’s also about living more. For some, the living part can be more difficult.

Make it your goal for 2018 to learn something brand new.

Master a new language, take piano lessons, pick up archery, or read a new book each week. Challenging your mind and body not only keeps your mind sharp but also gives you something to do besides working, eating, and sleeping.

Learning a new craft or hobby can also introduce you to a new community outside your colleagues and family.

Schedule Life, Not Just Work

For local business owners, it’s easy to “default” to work. Like I said above, when you face any unfulfilled time (whether on a Monday morning or Saturday night), you’re most likely working. I know I am.

An excellent way to combat this and establish balance is to schedule everything in your life. (Yes, I mean everything.) It may seem silly, but intentionally scheduling non-work activities helps you complete them. It can also help you establish a routine that reflects better work-life balance.

For the first few weeks of 2018, try scheduling everything from meals to exercise to date nights to laundry. If you know that you neglect specific activities in favor of working, like family time or hobbies, definitely put those on your schedule.

Set Goals and Ignore Everything Else

As entrepreneurs, we’re no strangers to setting goals. Whether physical, financial, or personal, we’ve built our businesses around goals and dreams that we hold. But goals aren’t only for growing a business; they can also help us achieve work-life balance.

Local business owners are often faced with many projects (like marketing, hiring, and more) that slowly eat away at their personal time.

Are you struggling to figure out which projects to cut from your overwhelming work schedule? Start by defining your primary goals and their related tasks.

Ignore everything else not related to your goals. Learn to say “no” to tasks that aren’t contributing to business or personal growth. And if your task list is still too long, try delegating or outsourcing additional projects.

Over to You

Work-life balance doesn’t have to be the elusive goal that we’ll chase forever. It’s a real possibility, and you can achieve it today, tomorrow, or in 2018.

Making these four changes in your life will help your chances of establishing a work-life balance. By setting boundaries, adopting new hobbies, scheduling everything, and staying focused on your goals, you’ll find yourself working less and living more.

Homebase is a tool that can help you do the four goals mentioned above. Our employee scheduling tool helps you manage your team from your mobile app, make schedules in minutes, save time and money on payroll, and run your business from anywhere. Homebase helps you work less and live much, much more.

Remember this: Don’t sacrifice what you became an entrepreneur to have more of, whether that’s time to travel, spend time with family, or simply relax.