Biz Tips: How to Stop Sales Burnout in its Tracks

Biz Tips: How to Stop Sales Burnout in its Tracks

Biz Tip:

How to Stop Sales Burnout in its Tracks

Burnout in the workplace sneaks up on you. One day you feel invincible and able to tackle any project thrown your way. The next, to-do list items as minor as sending a calendar invite or a quick email can feel insurmountable — a sure sign you’ve reached the first stage of burnout. And once it hits, finding the energy to press forward can keep you from performing at your best.

Work is now the second most common cause of stress in the U.S.; in fact, a significant 39 percent of adults experience stress related to work. Often, it’s those highly involved in their work life and committed to performing well who feel it most — one out of every five workers is both highly engaged and at high risk of burnout. Burnout can especially impact teams like Sales that face pressure to maintain peak performance levels and hit quotas.

If you feel like you’re on edge and experiencing common side effects of burnout, it’s not too late. With these tips, you can make minor changes in your day-to-day to combat and prevent burnout symptoms.

Commit to disconnecting

Technology has impacted our ability to disconnect and made it harder than ever to differentiate between our personal and professional lives. We’ve even let devices get in the way of people who matter to us: 40 percent of employees say it’s okay to answer an urgent work email at the dinner table, and 57 percent go so far as to say technology has ruined “the modern family dinner.”

To take back our personal lives, we need to set boundaries. I like to turn my phone off at a specific time each day or even leave it on airplane mode until I arrive at work in the morning. If after setting restrictions on technology usage at home you still feel work closing in on you, take a day off or go away for a long weekend to refresh. Even though more companies now offer benefits like five vacation weeks or even unlimited PTO, U.S. workers forfeit many vacation days. Committing to taking time off will enable you to return refreshed and ready to embrace new challenges.

Schedule a reasonable day for yourself

With employees citing a heavy workload as the main cause of stress during the workday, it’s important to design a manageable schedule for yourself each day. Start off by estimating the time you’ll spend on each task, scheduling short breaks throughout the day, and placing your calendar and to-do list in a visible place so you can continuously reference it.

Some sales tasks require more energy and focus than others, like prospecting calls or attending important in-person meetings — and if you’re close to burnout, hopping on the phone with a prospect or client can feel simply unmanageable. If possible, schedule these meetings in the morning when you’re most alert until you can break free from burnout and get back into your normal routine.

Remove unnecessary burdens

The nature of sales quotas and strict deadlines can promote a high-pressure environment filled with expectations. You probably assume this pressure comes from managers. But take a step back — are you trying to hit quota on the 15th instead of the 30th? If your sales quota is $5,000, have you been trying to hit $8,000? If so, you might be pushing yourself too hard.

Overachieving on goals can slowly creep into your work life until you feel an intense pressure to accomplish tasks no one else expects of you. If going above and beyond causes prolonged stress, cut that extra pressure loose by only accomplishing the absolutely necessary tasks until you feel better.

Experiment with stress management techniques

The anxiety that accompanies burnout affects people differently, but most will experience common symptoms: heart pounding, mind racing, stomach churning. Not only do these symptoms make you feel awful, they also wreak havoc on your productivity. Create a relaxing routine you can turn to when they hit: find a quiet conference room to take a few deep breaths or go for a short walk outside.

And to prevent these symptoms from taking over your workday in the future, seek out and participate in stress-reducing activities that align with your interests and schedule. Sixty-two percent of adults find exercise an effective method of stress control, and others find solace in practicing breathing routines like meditation. Either way, committing to long-term prevention will keep you from having to calm fraying nerves during the workday.

When you feel exhausted at the beginning of a workweek and irritable at home, you’re likely experiencing burnout – and it’s essential you get ahead of it before it overtakes you. In our always-on workforce, it’s hard to put away our phones and our to-do lists, but the business of selling is a marathon, not a sprint. Pacing ourselves and managing our priorities are key to making sure we can stay healthy in the race for the long-run.

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