Sales is a uniquely difficult profession because 90 percent of your day involves someone telling you to go away. There's also a need to be continuously "switched on" while you wait for prospective customers to ask a question or send a signed contract. Those factors have made the task of creating a work-life balance especially challenging for anyone working in digital sales.
But it's a popular misconception that your life should be a perfectly even split between work and play. We all live in different cities, have different kinds of relationships, and use different working styles on the job. A healthy work-life balance should be about creating a routine that helps you avoid burnout, illness, and relationship breakdowns.
Here are three things you can do to outline a work-life plan that suits your needs as a salesperson:
1. Design a set schedule and communicate it to others.
Having a good work life balance starts with realizing where your priorities lie.
HubSpot's research found that one in three salespeople say their job "negatively impacts their personal life," and that one in two salespeople said their family and friends have "told them they work too much." So while a voice in your head may insist you stay online all of Sunday afternoon, your family or your own health might disagree.
To set boundaries and expectations with your clients, colleagues, and family members, clearly define your schedule and stick to it. For example, if you tell people you work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., they'll be less likely to feel rejected if you can't meet up or even text during that time. If you prefer those hours to be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., the same concept applies. Similarly, prospective customers who know Sunday is your family day will more likely respect your personal time instead of getting annoyed and going to your competitor.
And if they do go to a competitor for that reason, are you really losing out on a great customer? Probably not.
2. Schedule and commit to your days off ahead of time.
Not taking actual time off to rest and recharge means you're more likely to experience fatigue and frustration with your job, and also lack creativity and empathy for your customers.
It's not hard to avoid this kind of burnout. Look at how many vacation days you're entitled to by your company, or how many you feel comfortable taking if you're self-employed. Then, block out on your calendar the days you intend to take off. It's important to get these dates on the calendar even if you don't yet have plans for them. If you commit to the time in advance, you're more likely to make it happen. You're entitled to days off for a reason; you need and deserve them. This should be as important as any of your other sales tasks.
3. Take control of your technology.
Something we often forget is that we don't have to be married to technology if we don't want to be.
Even so, one in two salespeople check their email before bed every night, and 54 percent check it again as soon as they wake up, according to HubSpot's research. We damage our personal relationships every day because of our addiction to our smart devices. And when your brain doesn't have sufficient time to wind down before sleep, your rest will be disturbed and the next day's performance affected.
The trick is to be more purposeful with your technology--when you're using it and when you choose to put it down.
Start by switching an autoresponder on when you're not working. If every day feels excessive, try it out on the weekends. Along those lines, turn off your email notifications so that you have to actually go into your phone to check for messages, instead of seeing them on your lock screen as soon as they arrive.
As far as home life goes, make an agreement with your family that when you're together in the evenings, phones, ipads, laptops, etc. will all be left in another room, on silent. If you live alone, commit to leaving your devices in another room while you eat, watch shows, or read.
One final trick to getting a work-life balance that will suit your needs: start creating new habits. That's really all a work-life balance is: a series of habits you may or may not be aware you have. Take a moment to analyze yours and determine whether they're improving the quality of your life and work or just injecting stress into every minute of it.
Need more help? HubSpot recently created this short video series with Dan Waldschmidt and Bill Cortright on getting more harmony in your life by finding out what your priorities are and working smart to achieve them.