Don't want your business to wreak havoc on your health and well-being? By planning ahead and working smarter, you can avoid short-circuiting.
1. Weigh the payoff of every task. Make sure each hour you work aligns with your business goals, says time-management expert Laura Vanderkam. Finishing that new customer proposal trumps achieving inbox zero.
2. Learn to delegate. If you're not using trusted interns, contractors and employees to lighten your load, start. As Lifeables CEO Karen Macumber puts it, "You can't control everything."
3. Rein in after-hours messaging. Lay some ground rules. Joshua Weiss, CEO of TeliApp Corporation, doesn't respond to weekend e-mails until Sunday night. "It's a tremendous thing for me to resist," he says. "But you don't get too many days where you can spend all day with your family."
4. Make time off non-negotiable. Plan that long-overdue vacation, sure. But reserve at least part of each weekend to unwind, too. Upon doctor's orders, Darren Gallop, CEO of Marcato Digital Solutions, stopped working weekends two years ago--no calls, no texts, no e-mails. "With the exception of a few major critical deadlines, I have never gone back to my old habits," he says.
5. Leave some work on the table. The world won't slip off its axis if you fail to finish that low-priority task before calling it a day. Really. "You can either have a business that's complete every day or you can have a business that's growing," says Jon Sterling, CEO of Agent Finder. "I choose to have a business that's growing."