Many salespeople struggle with work-life balance. About one-third of salespeople say they have no work-life balance at all. 68% of salespeople describe their lifestyle as challenging, and half say their friends tell them that they work too hard.
This isn’t surprising. There are many aspects of the job that make work-life balance hard to achieve: the constant rejection, the need to meet your quota, and the importance of constantly being available to talk with a potential customer.
Most people accept an unbalanced lifestyle as part of the job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The highest-performing salespeople are successful because they have achieved a balance where they are confident in the workplace and feel secure at home. If you’re constantly stressed-out at work, it’s certainly not helping you at home.
The good news is that there are concrete steps you can take to reach a better balance. By using these six strategies, you can reach an equilibrium that helps you manage to enjoy life in and outside of work.
1) Establish the right boundaries between work and personal life
You will encounter stressors in and out of the office. Many salespeople find it helpful to establish boundaries so that they don’t have to deal with both sets of stressors at the same time.
Draw an absolute distinction between “work time” and “me time.” Clearly schedule your work hours and commit to avoiding non-work activities during this time, like checking personal social media accounts. Let your friends and family know that you will not be answering calls and texts during this time except in cases of genuine emergency.
On the other side of the coin, make sure to turn off your work phone when you are at home or not take any calls from your customers and coworkers. This is your time to unplug and unwind and enjoy the moment with your friends and family. If you clearly communicate this expectation, work will learn to wait.
Of course, such firm boundaries aren’t right for everyone. Feel free to tweak this schedule to meet your needs. For example, you might decide that you can accept work calls at home, but never on Sundays. Whatever you do, it’s helpful to establish some parameters. You cannot be on call 24/7 and still give your best.
2) Carve out time for exercise, hobbies, and learning new skills
The challenge of a career in sales is that so much depends on how well you’re selling. When you’re experiencing a sales slump, it’s inevitable to feel disheartened. This is especially true for enterprise sales professionals who face much longer sales cycles. Going without a win for months can be rough.
You can’t always control when prospects buy, but you can pursue hobbies outside of work that give you the satisfaction of a win. Focus on hobbies that will give you the satisfaction of completing something tangible. You can work on a craft project, join a league for a sport of your choice, explore a new workout routine, or simply try to achieve a new personal best in the gym. Exercise is particularly important because it has been consistently shown to enhance and elevate mood. A quick run or workout are underrated in helping to cope with the stressors at work.
Pursuing a hobby can oftentimes provide more personal satisfaction than watching Netflix (although we all know how it good it feels to get to the final episode of a series like “Stranger Things”!).
3) Track your time to work more efficiently
Many people feel they have to take their work home with them because they don’t accomplish everything they want during the day. If that’s the case, you may not be as efficient as you can be at work.
Evaluate what you are spending your time at work doing and how you can budget your time more efficiently. Are you spending too much time checking email? Are there any administrative tasks that could be automated?
Experiment with a new schedule and productivity hacks that help keep you on task. Ask super-efficient coworkers if they have any tips.
4) Find a mentor who can give frank advice
Sales is complicated. It is a constant struggle to sell effectively and navigate relationships with your coworkers. Having a mentor you can honestly talk about what’s going on in your professional life helps add perspective. It might be preferable for your mentor to be from outside of your current organization to avoid conflicts of interest.
To receive the most value out of your mentorship, meet with them regularly to discuss what’s on your mind, even during busy periods. Ask your mentor how they achieve their work-life balance.
5) Build relationships outside of work
Supportive relationships can sustain you. Unfortunately, many salespeople fall into the trap of socializing primarily with other salespeople because it’s convenient. Although these relationships can be meaningful, they don’t help create a work-life balance because you always end up talking about work.
To build and maintain relationships outside of work, you need to consciously put in effort. Schedule time to meet regularly with your non-work friends. Participate in social activities that will expose you to new people who share your interests. Meetup groups, volunteer work, and recreational activities are all great ways to meet new people.
6) Take advantage of work-from-home opportunities if possible
Many companies offer work-from-home opportunities. If this is something that interests you, try it out for a day or two and see how it goes.
It might not be for everyone because some people find working from home terrible. Don’t try to force it if you feel your work-life invading your home life. If you do find working from home to be a refreshing break, make it a regular part of your schedule.
For most salespeople, achieving a work-life balance is a work-in-progress. By consciously putting effort into finding an equilibrium, you will find yourself less stressed and happier in your daily life.