Are you so focused on your business that you barely have time for your loved ones—much less yourself? Do you remember the last time you let your body rest, clear your mind of stress, and allow your soul to recharge? Was the holiday season filled with more reports and emails than relaxation and enjoyment?

Too many entrepreneurs come out of the holidays feeling frazzled and overwhelmed, only to go right back into the madness. While a nonstop mentality might feel productive, it’s actually quite the opposite. Instead, overworking yourself is a one-way ticket to burnout, which ultimately impacts productivity, motivation, and quality of your output.

If you feel that your business has become the CEO of you, don’t worry! You can still take back your personal life and create the time and freedom you truly deserve.

As a creative entrepreneur, you should have the space to explore your exciting business ideas — not feel bogged down by a myriad of routine maintenance tasks each day! I’m sure you didn’t leave your 9-to-5 to respond to emails and serve at every client’s beck and call. Most entrepreneurs choose their path because they want to be in control of their lives and bring their dreams to life.

If you want to maintain a solid work-life balance and avoid the toxicity of hustle culture, keep reading — these tips will help you achieve all of that without sacrificing your hard-earned profit margins.

Get clear on your state of operations.

Are you thinking about implementing new systems and workflows to boost your company’s efficiency and effectiveness? Well, hold your horses! A shiny new paint job won’t fix a rusty hinge.

Before diving into the buzziest software or implementing a new CRM, start by performing a comprehensive audit of your business operations. Make sure to touch every corner, from finances and marketing to client experience and team building.

This exercise allows you to gain valuable insight into your company’s current state and will shed light on areas of success or concern in your business. Building on that, you can define the best course of action moving forward to reach your goals.

Spend the next week evaluating where you invest most of your time and energy. Are you stuck in operations and administrative tasks? That needs to change! As the head of the company, you should be focusing on high-value activities you enjoy because that is how you generate profit. Plus, that’s what inspired you to start your company in the first place!

Review all of your standard operating procedures (SOPs) and evaluate whether they continue to serve your business as it grows. Then, update and enhance them as needed to boost productivity and efficiency.

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Far too often, business owners fall into the trap of staying in their comfort zones. They get so stuck in their ways that they lose out on easier, more cost-effective solutions. It’s a natural mindset — why fix something that isn’t broken?

While something that isn’t broken may not need to be fixed, it can still be optimized for peak performance. If you want to streamline and scale your business, you need to be open to new ways of doing things with the support of efficient technologies and systems.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of programs that can address bottlenecks in your operations, like project management apps and automated invoicing software. Or, consider using a new social media scheduler or an email marketing host to simplify your marketing and enhance your output. Take a look at the digital solutions available on the market and see how you can best address the needs that arose in your business audit.

Note: Streamlining doesn’t have to mean new software or equipment! It can be as simple as adopting better work habits, adjusting one’s mindset, or promoting camaraderie among your team.

Once you have established your new way of doing things, keep evaluating and fine-tuning your strategies over time. You’ve already stepped out of one comfort zone, so don’t let yourself fall back into another! Stay up-to-date with new software, systems, and strategies that can improve your business with regular audits to keep your operations in tip-top shape.

Learn the art of drawing professional lines.

Do you feel like you’re married to your inbox? Have you been putting off your dream vacation simply because you don’t have time? (Or worse, did you go on that vacation with your eyes glued to your emails the whole time?)

No judgment here — we’ve all been there. But I’m here to tell you that you can set and enforce boundaries that allow you to live a fulfilling life outside of your business.

Remember: You can only give your business your best self if you’re taking care of the human behind it. Winning over the next client or meeting a deadline is important, but should not come at the cost of your health and wellbeing.

Setting boundaries might feel difficult (and even icky) at first, but practice makes perfect. The more you establish boundaries—and the more you see people respecting them—will make it easier to draw the lines around your personal and professional lives.

The best boundaries are those set early and reminded often. Manage your client’s expectations by discussing office hours during the initial consultation. Specify the rules and procedures for the project in the proposal, and discuss them thoroughly in your contract.

If a client forgets about your boundaries at some point (it happens!), be patient and give them a gentle reminder. It may be as simple as asking them to revisit their contract. But, if it appears they are deliberately crossing the line, it may be time to consider dissolving the contract. You do not have time to work for someone who doesn’t respect you. (Now, say that back three times!)

Freedom and abundance are attainable for all entrepreneurs, but they are not magical gifts that will land on your lap one day when you need it most. You have to claim it for yourself and own your role as the CEO that you are! With the right systems and boundaries in place, you can have the best of both worlds.

Looking for more guidance and support as you carve out space for business growth and personal development? Let’s chat! I’d love to help you find more balance and freedom in your life.

Jennifer Taylor is the principal of Jen Taylor Consulting, a consulting firm that works with creative businesses of all sizes to implement streamlined workflows and organized systems to find more time and space for business growth and personal development.