The Key To Work-Life Balance

One of the great challenges for salespeople and entrepreneurs is work-life balance. Nearly everyone struggles with this at some point, and it?s an issue I get asked about almost daily.

Here is my simple, yet very effective solution to this ongoing challenge:

Book your time off before your time on.

When I look at the top producers that we work with who have mastered work-life balance, this is there is one common denominator: they book their time off first and give their work what?s left.

The Time-Money Parallel

To see the same principle in action elsewhere, you don?t need to look any further than the world of financial management. Time poverty, it turns out, is no different than financial poverty.

The poor tend to spend first and save what?s left, which we all know is almost always nothing. The rich, however, save and invest first, then spend.

Time works the same way: those who struggle with work-life balance are ?spending? their time first. Like the financial strugglers who feel there?s always more month than money, balance strugglers feel there?s always more work than time. There are never enough hours in the day because they work first and then give what little time remains to what is truly important.

Not only does this leave them feeling run down or sick, but they?re plagued with guilt because their daily actions are not aligned with what they value.

How To Book Your Time Off First

To get you started, I?ve prepared a list of things you might want to consider booking first.

As you go through the list, though, remember this: blocking the time off requires more than just saying you?ll take the time. You need to actually schedule the time in your calendar. A holiday you just talk about is a holiday that never happens.

  1. Block vacation time. When you are going to go on holidays for the next 12 months? Why not take 6-8 weeks next year? Remember there is money and then there is life. Challenge yourself to take more time this year, and be more productive when you are working.
  2. Block your personal development seminars and retreats. Try booking one every quarter. What you know has gotten you where you are. The question you need to ask is what do you need to learn to get where you want to go? Many sales people have performance goals, but very few have learning goals.
  3. Block one long weekend every month to do something fun. And while you?re at it, book a full 24-hour period off every week where you?re undisturbed. Many salespeople take a day off, but are taking calls and answering emails all day. You need at true day off to rest and recharge.
  4. Block a date night every week with your partner. Take turns planning the date night so that it?s always a surprise for the other. And don?t ever call at the last moment to cancel because of work! The date night must take priority over all work-related issues.
  5. Block time for a weekly simple pleasure. Think of something relaxing that you really enjoy, but that you have trouble finding time for. A massage? Walking through a book store? A manicure and pedicure? Coffee with a friend? Stopping in to see a favourite relative, walking through a park, volunteering, joining your favourite club, reading, writing?find your simple pleasure and book it.
  6. Block time for daily exercise. Try to do it at the same time every day so it can become a habit. That could mean going to the gym, or it might be going for a run, or a simple walk. Your body is the only place you have to live?if you don?t make time for exercise you?ll eventually have to make time for illness.
  7. Book time daily for family dinner and other family time, and then turn off the phone. Just enjoy each other! Your phone should be for your convenience, not everyone else?s.

How do you stay balanced? How do you make time off a priority? Let us know in the comments so we can all learn from each other.