A single CEO with no children sets some boundaries.
Jeanne Lambert, 45, CEO of Cerida Corp., in Andover, Mass. Lambert is single and lives alone. Cerida, an $8.5-million sales and marketing firm with 90 employees, helps high-tech companies develop sales leads and retain customers.
5:30 P.M.: Meetings are over for the day. Lambert answers E-mail, returns calls, and plans for the next day.
7:00: Leaves the office.
7:20: Picks up a bottle of wine and a video on the way home.
7:35: Arrives home -- a house on a small island. "I live in a most relaxing atmosphere -- surrounded by a pond -- so when I reach home, I am truly away from the office." Listens to messages -- nothing urgent. It's midsummer, so Lambert changes almost immediately into her bathing suit. She grabs the mail and a glass of wine and heads for her swimming pool. Goes through the mail.
7:45: Tends to pool. Swims a few laps.
8:00: Defrosts steak tips, throws them on the grill, boils water for corn on the cob, and makes a salad. Also starts a load of laundry. Lambert occasionally has business dinners but tries to limit them to two or three a month. She socializes mostly on weekends. If she weren't an entrepreneur, Lambert is sure she would go out more often on weeknights. But her work schedule is so hectic and unpredictable that she's reluctant to make social commitments during the week.
8:20: Grabs a book and another glass of wine and eats dinner by the pool. She never reads business books or business magazines on weeknights. "I do not do E-mail at home," says Lambert. "At home, that's mine. I shut [the business] off. I rarely answer my phone. I'm on it all day. If I didn't do this, I'd be dead by now. Before I had my own company, I knew about working hard and playing hard, but I never understood the stress factor that comes with being CEO. It's all-consuming." She used to bring work home with her and in fact had a home office in her old house. When she bought her current place four years ago, she made sure not to set up a home office, since she had decided to separate her home life from her office life as much as possible. "The biggest challenge for me is being single and not having children. The business has something to do with that. When you have [a spouse or kids], it forces you to have balance. I had to make a conscious effort to let it go."
8:45: Puts clothes in the dryer and cleans up from dinner.
9:00: Changes and collapses onto the couch to watch The Wedding Planner.
11:00: Takes clothes out of the dryer. Checks calendar for the next day and decides what to wear.
11:15: Lights out.
5:30 A.M.: Alarm goes off. "I'm not a morning person. I need at least an hour from when I roll out of bed until I leave the house," Lambert says.