Most entrepreneurs at one point or another find themselves falling for the "always on" trap. I know I certainly did. Eventually, I realized I needed to ultimately do less to accomplish more. Here's what worked for me:
1. Leave your computer at work.
Our laptops and cell phones are nearly glued to our hands these days, making it far too easy to bring work home. The problem is we never have a real opportunity to rejuvenate if we don't unplug. Plus, most of the work done at home (like checking emails) is of low value at the end of the work day. Leave your computer at work so you can focus on creatively solving bigger problems than your emails.
2. Take a real work Sabbath.
The rallying cry "sleep when you're dead!" is overrated. We all need to recharge, and unfortunately, most of us have a hard time allowing ourselves even 24 hours of real, uninterrupted rest. A full day of rest one day a week -- a real work Sabbath -- is everything. Twenty-four hours of uninterrupted time spent unplugged is so much more refreshing than relaxing in short spurts and working a bit each day. If you allow yourself a minimum of 24 hours where your number one priority is relaxing and rejuvenating, trust me, you'll be able to accomplish much more over the course of a work week.
3. Don't make decisions while clearing your Inbox.
Responding to more than 100 emails a day is typical for any entrepreneur, making it easy to fire off quick answers, overcommitting, and making decisions in isolation. To avoid this, delay answering requests immediately and instead hold a meeting with key players from your company to compare all opportunities and action items side by side. By deferring some decisions, you can focus on the big wins and say no to the things that, in the grand scheme of things, won't likely move the needle for you or your brand.
4. Cancel and reschedule meetings weekly.
It's OK to cancel or reschedule meetings. In fact, you should do it once a week. Priorities can shift, so gaining clarity before starting the week is critical. Take the time to look at the week ahead each Sunday, and cancel or reschedule meetings that are no longer important or relevant. That way you can dedicate more of yourself to higher-priority conversations, and minimize lower-value meetings that will not help drive top initiatives.
5. Be fully informed without asking for updates.
The less time spent in meetings receiving updates, the more time you can focus on higher-level initiatives like closing deals, forming strategic partnerships, or refining strategy. Create dashboards that list key projects and fully inform you on statuses of completion without requiring in-person, employee updates. At Soma, we use basic dashboards to quickly, at-a-glance denote the status of projects, such as percent to completion or color coding with green-yellow-red. The simpler the better, especially on collaborative activities.