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We talk a lot about work, but almost never about leisure. It’s as if, in recent decades, it has become a shame not to be a workaholic who constantly demonstrates steep career results. This is the consequence of an achievement culture — the pursuit of a constant search for perfection, a high bar, and permanent productivity. For some time now, society has been noticing the negative effects of such a lifestyle on people’s mental and physical health. The term work-life balance was coined as a way to limit the amount of work in employees’ lives. This article will explain what it is and why this balance is important in our lives.
The essence of work-life balance
The concept of work-life balance is quite simple: a person’s desire to balance their time in such a way as to separate and devote sufficient time to the three areas of their life:
- Professional: work tasks and careers
- Social: personal life, friends, family
- Personal growth: hobbies, interests, leisure activities.
Every year, more and more companies make sure that there is work-life balance in the lives of their employees, because balanced, happy employees are ultimately more productive, and motivated and bring in more profit.
According to York University research, the intensity of work in all sectors has increased dramatically over the past 10 years. Excessive involvement, long working hours, and extreme working conditions have an impact on employees’ overall physical and psychological health and worsen family life.
If a company destroys an employee’s personal life with overwork or excessive pressure, it will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction and stress, which can cause health problems, reduced productivity, and alienation from the company.
Work-life balance and the affiliate industry are not buddies?
The field of affiliate marketing has its own nuances of workflow and therefore a unique experience of time allocation for work and everything else. There are a number of reasons why it can be difficult for affiliates, media buyers, affiliate media representatives, and their colleagues to maintain a work-life balance.
- The processes don’t stop when you leave work. People around the world continue to see your ads, read your blog, or get Google’s search results with your website updated every second. A lot of new metrics: views, clicks, and other targeted actions happen even while you’re sleeping. Many people find it very difficult to get used to the fact that they have no control over their work at all times. The industry lives in a continuous flow, and we are not physically able to control all activities because we are not robots.
- There is always some kind of newsbreak going on. If you don’t post on social media in time, use clickbait to attract users’ attention to your advertisement, etc., you risk losing a lot of profit. Anxiety on this subject is called FOMO — Fear Of Missing Out. Worrying about missing some important event on which you could make money is crucial for affiliate media.
- In recent years, our lives have changed a lot and many work processes have moved to a remote format. This has added an extra challenge for affiliate teams and their managers. This is particularly felt by those who live in different time zones from their colleagues. It can be convenient in terms of workflow control (see point 1) — while you rest, your colleagues work day and night shifts, and then you switch = traffic is always under control. However, on the other hand, it is almost impossible to organize collaboration in such teams without harming your privacy. While one employee’s working day is already over, the other employee on the other side of the planet is just starting work. Thus, in order to discuss revisions to a new project in detail, the first has no choice but to sacrifice personal time.
But why is it particularly important to strike a work-life balance in affiliate marketing?
We have already discussed how difficult it can be to adjust the life balance of affiliate professionals. But this does not negate the fact that work-life balance in the affiliate sector is very important. It is necessary for any affiliate industry worker to be rested, focused, and motivated. Here are some reasons why this is the case:
Affiliate marketing = stress. Sources of this stress are everywhere and threaten to throw you out of your balance. There is no point in getting rid of it, you have to learn to live with it.
It is impossible to work under stress. You don’t focus on your tasks, and you get tired quickly. That is why every experienced affiliate has a couple of tools to cope with stress. Some meditate, do yoga, or just go for a walk. You could try keeping a day planner with to-do plans. This will help get your head in order. The main thing is to make good stress management practices a habit.
Need of focus
There are hundreds of different ways to make money in affiliate marketing. One solo affiliate is only able to try a small fraction of all available ways. The grass is always greener at the neighbour’s doorstep — there always seems to be more money, and it is easier to get it somewhere else. This is also a FOMO footprint. Affiliates are constantly surrounded by a bunch of temptations to try something new, which blurs the focus.
Without clear concentration, you will tear yourself apart and not achieve the results you dreamed of. To get high ROI, you need to dig deep within one source, the vertical, and become an expert there.
Periods of rest
The affiliate industry is like a rollercoaster ride. Today, a cool offer comes in — you’re on a roll. Tomorrow it stops flowing — you panic. Often everyone makes the same mistake. If things are going well, they quickly settle down because they have fulfilled the plan and rested. When something isn’t working out: the traffic slowing down, there are no good offers — they get worried and try to do something immediately.
If you analyse an affiliate’s income structure, 90% of the money comes from periods when things are going well. You need to learn how to work hard during good periods and squeeze the maximum out of the working bundle. When things are not going so well, calm down, don’t torture yourself, and rest.
In those moments when everything is flowing well, it is hard to switch off from the process. You want to keep updating your statistics, start a new campaign, or try an innovative approach. You do not sleep, you do nothing but arbitrate. It’s exhausting, it robs you of creativity and productivity. One way to deal with this is to learn to switch off your thoughts.
Of course, it is convenient to rely on expert advice, but we are all different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In this sense, it is much more helpful to talk to someone in your environment and ask about their way of maintaining a work-life balance. When you have the opportunity to learn from the experience of people in the same environment, it is much more likely to work for you as well.
To make it easy for you, we did a short interview with our colleagues from different departments of the affiliate marketing industry. Some affiliate positions require you to be on call 24/7, yet the guys manage to make attempts at balancing work and personal life!
Irina, editor-in-chief of ZorbasMedia
I keep my balance by disconnecting from work and chatting on the weekend. I don’t keep up business communication outside of working hours when my work for the day is already done, unless there are force majeure situations. Furthermore, I try to plan things for the day and not fall out of that schedule.
I also often do small household chores in parallel with work: do the cleaning, pay the bills, order something online, and go out for groceries. It takes little time, allows me to take a 5–10 minute break from work, and not waste time on household chores when I just want to rest.
Konstantin, team leader ZM TEAM
There aren’t any great tips really. I work to a schedule, plan my work week and stick to the plan. Affiliate marketing is a job for which time should be allocated, just like any other job. The rest of the time, I mind my own business.
For me, maintaining a balance is always a sore point. And it goes both ways: I often get so deeply involved in my work that I don’t have enough time not only for my family but also for myself (at such times you can forget about the gym, proper nutrition, and healthy sleep). At the same time, when I find myself in a different environment, like a holiday, my overloaded brain tries to recover as much as possible, and it takes a long time to recover and get back to a normal work rhythm after rest.
Nick Titan, owner TiMedia
I have developed a few practices for myself that help me keep a balance, although they are shaky, to be honest:
1. Schedule. It always keeps you on track and gives you a clear idea of what you should be doing right now. It will take some time to find your ideal setting structure (Pomodoro techniques, planners, etc), but it’s worth it. In any case, I recommend keeping track of which tasks are easy and which ones slow you down, working out the reasons, and fixing your schedule based on the results.
2. Time off. It’s better to break up long vacations into a few short periods (5–7 days). Everything is good in moderation, and vacations are no exception. I have repeatedly found that the energy and motivation surge in the middle of a 20-day holiday (about the tenth day) is intense, and wanes completely by the beginning of the twentieth day.
3. Procrastination. If there is a chore, it is better to allocate some time to it, rather than stretching it out and putting it off “for later”. The coolest way out would be to do it in the morning, if possible, or on a certain day of the week, and free yourself from it for the rest of the days. It is routine that breeds laziness, laziness breeds procrastination, and because of this, overwork, etc.
Igor, CEO of ZorbasMedia
The main tools where I write down all the tasks for the coming week are Google Calendar and my own notebook. Therefore, the most important tip for every manager is time management. It allows you to administer your own time and willingness to embark on a particular task. For instance, if I have the task of holding a meeting, I prepare for it half an hour in advance, see what issues are on the agenda, and what past tasks need to be discussed. After that, I get down to my own tasks and work through the week.
How do I separate my personal life from my work? I start work early enough to finish most of my work at 4 – 5 pm. When I finish work, I just close my laptop, turn off my phone, and turn off notifications from work chats. In short, I completely disconnect from work. I try to leave it to one side and life to the other.
Lera, head of SMM in ZorbasMedia
I always allocate tasks, whether it’s work or personal. I keep a planner, in which I have my work and personal tasks written down. How it helps me personally? I know exactly what my tasks are for the week ahead. This gives me confidence that I won’t forget something important. It also gives me peace of mind to work and relax.
There will always be urgent tasks or force majeure situations, so you should leave some time allowance every day, rather than plan everything by the minute. Then, in case of an emergency, the overall plan for the day won’t get out of hand.
The main rule of my life: work only during working hours. I don’t always get to stick to this rule, but you should try to do it as much as possible. If you work on your weekends or in your spare time, you can burn out and do a lot of damage to your personal life.
If you have proper time management, evaluate your strengths, love yourself and give yourself time off, it is possible to combine work and private life without any losses 🙂
Some workaholics like to associate the pursuit of work-life balance with laziness. Let’s not lie, sometimes it’s true. So it’s worth distinguishing between a healthy desire to live a normal life and an excuse to work less. We are sure that you know how to achieve harmony in all matters of work and personal life — all that remains is to put it into practice. We hope that our tips and expert advice will help you improve your life without detracting from your work life. Work hard, play harder!