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Sales Solutions
Eliminating Burnout and Stress vol 2, issue #17
September 15, 2004

Celebrating Anniversaries. Such an odd title for a sales tip...and yet, since this month contains a couple of anniversaries that are very special to me, I figured - why not?

Typically in this newsletter we address a challenge or discuss a technique particular to selling. In this issue, we tackle an issue all of us - regardless of our chose line of work- face. Burnout and stress.

Many of us - me included - too often find ourselves plowing straight through the workday without ever "stopping to smell the roses." Part of that is because, well, because few of us work in offices where there are any roses to smell! But part of it is because we simply don't allow ourselves to do so. Somewhere along the way - either through our upbringing, peer interactions, or the cultures of the organizations we've worked in (or work in now), we've been conditioned to believe that if you aren't applying yourself to your responsibilities for eight (or more) straight hours, you're not completely earning your keep. Indeed, as a sole proprietor who doesn't eat if he doesn't produce, I've had too many days where I didn't look at a clock until it was 3:30 or 4:00 - at which time I realized I hadn't even taken time out for lunch! Not coincidentally, I would also at this time become acutely aware of just how exhausted and run down I felt.

Do you, too, allow a single-minded focus on your work to frequently cause you to skip lunch? Or to just "grab something quick", bring it back to your desk, and wolf it down so you can get back to what you were doing? Granted, there are times where we don't have the luxury of a casual lunch (the traders among you know that!), but really - how may of us are truly working in a constant state of urgency, such that we can't slow down to allow ourselves to actually - dare I say it - enjoy the work day?

Rather than letting the workday grind you down day after day, consider, instead, working with it by forcing yourself to

  • get out of the office and go for a walk - to a park, to a bookstore, to a Starbucks to meet a friend for a coffee and a game of chess - anywhere that will take your mind off what's going on back at the office

  • if you're already out of the office (as most of us who are in Sales are), turn off the pager, the cell phone, and/or the Blackberry, and go do something relaxing - read thirty pages of that engrossing novel you never seem to make progress on, go to the driving range and crank a few drives out, or pop into that department store or boutique and lose yourself for half an hour.

  • If you have a private office, close the door, mute the phone, turn off the computer, and put your head down for a 20-minute power nap. And don't feel guilty about, either - keep in mind that the Spanish do it for a lot longer, and they do it every day!

Each of these seemingly frivolous acts is, in fact, likely to boost your productivity, rather than reduce it. You'll return to work as refreshed, invigorated, and rejuvenated as I now do when I come back from a fifteen-minute bike ride, twenty-minute snooze, or half hour spent alternately reading my favorite book and watching the sights while sitting in Bryant Park on a warm summer day. And a refreshed and reinvigorated worker is a far more productive one than a burnt- out, stressed-out one. You win, your boss wins, and the company wins. And if your boss is a reasonable person, he or she should see that it's a win for all involved. If he or she doesn't see that - well, you're all salespeople. Overcome the objection, and get on with it!

Good Selling!

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