After a busy holiday season, I always feel a sense of peace getting back to business and finding my routine again. Often, during the holidays, business owners can feel particularly split between their personal and professional lives. There were many days this year when I needed to come into the office early so that I could head out to cart the kids around to various holiday parties and winter recital rehearsals. There were also plenty of days when I needed to come back into the office late after family obligations that fell in the middle of the day.

Though a small business owner never really has an exact 9-5 set schedule (ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that he or she never really feels “off the clock”), there are plenty of awesome perks to owning a business. As we dive on into 2015, I find myself taking a step back and reminding myself how truly lucky I am. Here are three ways I’ve learned how to achieve work-life balance.

Stop relating stress to work

We live in a culture that’s constantly assuring us that stress is due to work. We “live for the weekend,” we strive to conquer that “2:30 feeling,” and we try not to “watch the clock.” It sounds so simple, but if you stop thinking about work as, well, work, it can become a place of creativity and fulfillment.
No matter what your job is, I truly believe if you dedicate yourself to doing the best you can, you will walk away feeling productive, positive and accomplished- all healthy things to feel. Who knew a day at the office could produce so many positive feelings?

Take time off (the entrepreneurial way)

Like I mentioned previously, entrepreneurs hardly leave their work at the office. We’re constantly checking emails to stay on top of things and thinking of ways to better our business. That means that most vacations include a necessary Wi-Fi hotspot and some degree of phone checking.
Taking time off is a great way to separate yourself from your business for a couple days in order to come back inspired and with a fresh state of mind, but since we can’t totally separate from our businesses, my tip to you is to create a schedule and limit yourself when on vacation.

When you’re on vacation, dedicate most of the day to vacationing, but set aside a couple hours either early in the morning before everyone else gets going or before bed at night to scroll through emails and take calls. Rather than sporadically checking all day, giving half of your attention to your business and half to enjoying yourself, separate the two to give your full attention to both.

Celebrate the flexibility in owning a business

Owning a business is attractive to a lot of people because of the schedule that comes along with it. You get to set your own hours and are held accountable to you and you alone. As every small business owner knows, you end up working a lot more than 40 hours a week, it’s still worth it to get to organize when all of those hours are executed. We also have the pleasure of working in an industry that we picked ourselves! So, we get to pick our own schedule for a job we’re truly passionate about. Work doesn’t really feel like work when you know you’re living the dream, does it?

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