Most sales reps are in desperate need of a lesson in work-life balance. A 2017 HubSpot survey of over 500 salespeople revealed just how bad work-life balance is in the sales world. Some of their startling findings include:
- One-third of salespeople say their job negatively affects their personal life.
- 68% described their lifestyle as challenging.
- 72% said they would like more time off.
- 83% would like more quality time with their family.
- One-half admitted they needed better work-life balance.
Sales can be a challenging profession and modern technology creates enormous pressure to be “on” all of the time. With sales quotas looming, many salespeople find that they cannot take off even a few precious hours on a Sunday afternoon to be with their family and friends.
What most salespeople don’t know, though, is that taking time off and insisting on work-life balance means not only a more enjoyable life but potentially better sales and more rewarding career. This may come as a shock to many of you but not very many people get into sales because it was always their dream to close deals. Salespeople are paid commissions because nobody sells enterprise software for fun on the weekends. To make sure you can sustain healthy production and, more importantly, retain your sanity, it's important to not always be “on.
Here is what you need to know about work-life balance and some simple steps you can take to start creating a better balance in your life.
Why Sales Reps Need Work-Life Balance
The days of idolizing the workaholic are officially over: recent science has shown again and again that the secret to productivity is taking time off. The brain is like a muscle and just like you would not dream of running a marathon every day, your mind needs breaks as well. Too much time in work mode day after day is a recipe for stress, exhaustion, burnout, and poor performance.
Sales can be especially depleting on the brain. The constant rejection, pressure to stay positive and stress of quotas means that the mind can quickly tire out and lose productivity without necessary breaks. By creating a better work-life balance, you can bounce back and maintain the tenacity and positive sales psychology required to be successful in your career.
It seems counterintuitive that more work means less productivity, but it is true: researchers have found that most modern employees are actually only productive for about four hours of their day. Other researchers found that productivity takes a major dive once employees hit the 50-hour work week mark.
When you are worried about hitting your quota, taking time off may feel like the last thing that you need to do. In order to bring enthusiasm and productivity back to your work, though, it might be worth taking a look at your work-life balance.
Simple Ways to Improve Balance
Most of the methods to help sales reps achieve work-life balance may be simple, but that does not mean that they are easy. It takes a level of commitment and self-control to resist the impulse to stay connected to your smartphone. Here are some ways to unplug and find more time for yourself and loved ones.
Create a Schedule
The key to work-life balance is to keep the two separated. This means not using your time at work with time-wasters left better off in your free time (personal calls, social media, etc.) and leaving work out of the picture when you spend time recharging.
It also makes it easier for other people when they know when they can best get ahold of you. Your friends and family will not be hurt, for example, when you do not pick up the phone if they know your working hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (or whatever schedule works best for your job). Likewise, clients are less likely to be irritated if you make it clear that you are not in the office on Sundays, but can get back to them Monday morning.
A set and clear schedule mean that both your work and loved ones know exactly what to expect of you and leaves less pressure on you to be constantly available no matter who needs you.
Take the Right Kind of Down Time
It can be easy to get trapped in social media or binge-watching a show for the umpteenth time when you finally find time to unwind. The purpose of work-life balance, though, is to find ways that can truly recharge you. In fact, the wrong kind of downtime can be just as detrimental as no downtime at all: there is a strong correlation between the amount of downtime in front of screens and depression.
Instead, use your free time wisely. Exercise, nutritional meals, and meditation are all helpful ways to relieve stress and boost productivity. Spend time with loved ones and start a hobby to also get the most out of your time away from the office.
Schedule Days Off
Most sales reps have busy seasons where time off is impossible. This is where scheduling time off is essential for work-life balance. Choose a time, even just a long weekend, where you can be with loved ones and recharge.
Decide when would be the best time to take some days off ahead of time and make your plans concrete. Take advantage of slow seasons to rejuvenate and come back ready to take on the busier times. Make them non-negotiable because it can be too easy to break a commitment to yourself.
Improve Your Efficiency at Work
The problem many salespeople have is they waste time jumping from one activity to the next and chasing every notification on their phone. They have to put in extra hours at the end of the day because they get much less done.
In Wrike’s 2016 Mobile Productivity Survey, 30 percent of professionals surveyed said that their mobile device hindered their work-life balance, while 37 percent said it improved it. Why such opposing views? There are those who let technology take over their lives and those who use technology to get the life they want.
Sales automation can help improve efficiency, so you can spend your time on what counts at work and have time to go home afterward. Better work-life balance means getting your work done efficiently, so neither work nor home life suffers. Salespeople who utilize technology, such as a CRM, will find that they can get their work done in a much shorter time and spend their energy and mental focus on what counts.
By improving your work-life balance you can create the career and life that you want and need. You will be able to create more sustainable and long-lasting success in your professional life while also building strong personal goals.
Need help with work efficiency and getting a better work-life balance? Start a free trial with Map My Customers and see how we can help you spend less time working and more time selling.