Karen Settle, president of Keystone Marketing Specialists, in Las Vegas, has mastered multitasking. Keystone, a $5-million company, provides employee computer training. Settle relies on about 300 independent contractors, and she uses conference calls to motivate and train them. During one such call with 30 contractors, Settle might hit her phone's mute button so that she can check her e-mail while still monitoring the conference.

"Because start-ups tend to run skinny on people, and there are only so many hours in the day, you have to do a lot more or you won't survive," Settle says. "I'm always looking for new technology to increase productivity."

Thanks to her pager, Settle is always available--emergency or not. Settle admits that she's often "overbeeped" by her staff. To combat that problem, she has demonstrated examples of unnecessary pages and urged employees to think carefully before calling her. Her lone guideline: If it's a client issue, use the pager.

Similarly, Settle has devised a strategy for dealing with the growing problem of too much e-mail. To avoid wasting the time it takes to scroll through junk e-mail and trivial messages, she has created an e-mail subaccount. She treats that account like an unlisted phone number, sharing its address only sparingly. Knowing that all e-mail to that account is coming from people she considers important, she is diligent about checking it frequently. An assistant monitors her general account, which Settle peruses herself when she has time.