I published this article a few years back in one of our newsletters. Thought it would make a good post here... I know an acquaintance who used to run a newsletter business out of his home. It was supposed to be a "part-time" business, one which he and his wife figured would take just a few hours a week. What they discovered, though, was the business was eating up more and more of their time, until they suddenly found themselves listening to the business answering machine on Sunday nights, answering mail every day, discussing new advertising sources over dinner, and so on. They had fallen victim to the 24/7 syndrome, and it was burning them out. Here are a few things they did to help them pull out of that cycle, handle the business during "business hours," and maintain their enthusiasm (and sanity): * Don't leave the paperwork out. They found that if they left their mailing list, editorial pieces, advertising comps or other business paperwork somewhere visible, they were tempted to just "take a quick look"--- which often turned into hours. * Turn down the answering machine and the phone's ringer. If you've got a separate business line, be sure you're not answering it during your non-business hours (whatever you decide those are). * Designate a specific time to answer email. Even if you don't make your way through all of your business email each time you sit down to do it, try to stay within your time limits. Scan the emails, answer the critical ones, (such as orders!) and let the rest wait another day. * Take regularly scheduled days off. Just as you need a couple days to recharge from your "regular" job, you need to give yourself a break from your home business as well. Schedule your time off, and stick to the schedule. * Make "shop-talk" off-limits during non-business hours. This is easier said than done, but the idea is to find stuff other than work to talk about over dinner, or with friends and family. They published their monthly newsletter for 11 years, and never would have been able to do it if they hadn't learned to separate home business from their home life. Are you starting to feel the early symptoms of 24/7 Syndrome? Take action now, and enjoy all the benefits of a home business, without fear of burning out.