The importance of work-life balance is a topic that comes up quite often in today's workplaces. The topic is so personal to Arianna Huffington that she made it the focus of her latest keynote speech at our latest Inbound conference. And you know what? She's right to point out how vital that balance is for workers today.
The idea of a work-life balance is especially prevalent in sales. Sales is a grueling role: long days, long hours, and a job that requires you to be "on" most, if not all, of the time.
It can be difficult to shut off your sales-self and enjoy your life outside of work without constantly feeling the weight of a quota hanging over your head.
However, there are a number of practices and habits you can incorporate to your schedule to strike a better work-life "fit" -- a term we use here at HubSpot.
Exercise as Often as Possible
This should go without saying, but taking care of your body will help take care of your mind and improve your performance at work. Studies show that not only will you look, feel, and perform better, but you'll have a healthy way to relieve the stresses of your daily grind.
Objections, hours of prospecting, and always having a positive attitude can be exhausting! When venture capitalist Sharon Weinbar came to HubSpot, she stressed the benefits of a recent rowing program she's gotten into. When you have not only a place but also an activity that can help you be competitive with something outside of work, you have an amazing outlet to unwind.
Any kind of exercise that you enjoy will do. For instance, I do lots of yoga during the week which really helps me relax. Plus, you'll reduce the likelihood of getting sick -- after all, nobody's got time for the sniffles when you 've got a quota to hit!
Eat a Healthy Diet
Along the same lines as working out, you need to take care of your insides with the right foods, so be sure to adjust your diet and kick junk food to the curb.
Ever notice how after a big lunch all you want to do is take a nap at your desk? It's no coincidence, my friends. Eating healthy and not drinking alcohol during the week will help keep you clear and alert, allowing you to think and articulate clearly on the phone. (And no one wants to hear you burping up your burrito on your 1 p.m. demo. )
Try preparing lunch for the week ahead on Sundays. I use Pinterest to find recipes with quinoa or salads so I can portion out my lunches during the coming workdays.
Knowing I don't have to think about or run out to buy something unhealthy helps me make better choices and feel good throughout the day.
Give Meditation a Chance
Meditation is seriously underrated. Many famous businesspeople have attributed their success to meditation. And with a stressful position like sales, it's imperative to take time to reflect and destress.
So, try to carve out 15 minutes a day just to sit and breathe. You'll be amazed at the results and your ability after your mini-break to handle stress.
Learn to Say No
Sometimes, as salespeople, we feel like we can and should always be working. We turn down time with friends or family, put off doctor's appointments, or don't take a long weekend in favor of getting an early start on a Monday morning or taking that Friday afternoon demo.
In order to create a work-life fit, you need to make time for you and what makes you happy. Love to knit? Sign up for a class, even if it's at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday. Want to volunteer with puppies for a few hours? Then do it!
Being the best you involves making time for what puts a smile on your face. Don't sacrifice those things you enjoy for work. Odds are, you're a miserable employee if you do. Don't feel obligated to say yes to every project if it's going to detract from your valuble free time.
Keep Your Schedule Organized
If you're anything like me, you live and die by your calendar. I put everything short of bathroom breaks on that puppy. Luckily, mine is private so my colleagues can't see when I put in "Go to CVS to buy face wash," but trust me -- that's in there.
Planning out your day can have huge effects, as it can make you feel more grounded at work. No matter what your style is, try to block off time in your calendar for every activity, like taking a walk, working out, or going out to lunch, right alongside your prospecting and calls. Put fun in your calendar if you can't remember to do it yourself.
Ask for Help!
Hopefully, your managers are as great as the ones we have here at HubSpot, but if you need something, you have to ask for it -- plain and simple.
Most companies today are stuck in the 90s when it comes to how they treat their employees. If you'd like to discuss restricting your hours to fit in a morning yoga class or ask about getting that coffee machine fixed so you don't have to buy coffee every afternoon, you need to open up a dialogue about work-life fit.
We live in an age when we're constantly connected and it can be really tempting to answer an email on the couch at night. But that isn't good for us. In order to create the modern work-life fit that works for each of us, we need to think about what's most important, what makes us happy, and how we can make it all work.
It's no easy task, but you're salespeople -- if you need to better your work-life balance, figure out the best way for you to "close the deal."
Do you have any tips about how to achieve the ideal work-life balance? Let us know your advice below!
Originally published Oct 28, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017