A month or so ago, Per Wickstrom's assistant reached out to me to see if I would be interested in sharing a bit about Per. His insight on balance and recovery comes from a place of passion and drive as he is using his journey through addiction recovery to support others.
I am honored to share Per's words and play a part in the conversation on the struggles of stress, balance, and addiction. We all know someone who is struggling. While leading by example is a powerful way to support, as we all can do more by being open and honest about our own struggles, it is important to share resources on prevention and growth through these struggles.
Per Wickstrom is in substance abuse recovery and is also a successful entrepreneur. He has started businesses in several industries, but his current passion is building his substance abuse recovery program, Best Drug Rehabilitation. Having struggled with substance abuse early in his life (when he worked in car sales), he knows how career demands and stress can feed an addiction and an unhealthy lifestyle, and that's why he wanted to address work-life balance for young professionals.
How to Find Work-Life Balance After College
by Per Wickstrom
In recent years, I’ve noticed a lessening of the difference between our work life and our home life. Really, so many people take their work home with them, rather than keeping the two aspects of life separate like they should be. The technology of the day and the onset of the information age have not helped with this. It’s so easy with our devices, emails, text messages, apps, etc. to stay tethered to our work no matter where we are that I see more and more Americans doing work-related things at all hours of the day and during all days of the week.
I’ve really noticed the toll that this has had on young adults who are fresh out of college. There is so much pressure put on a college grad who is fresh into the workforce to do well, make good money, and climb the corporate ladder, all because he or she just spent several years in college and spent a lot of money over the course of those years. College grads get hit the hardest when it comes to workload.
They have so much to live up to in terms of expectations, and they usually have tens of thousands of dollars of debt to pay off to boot. It seems they might feel like because they just spent all this time getting this great education, now that they have graduated they have to go out there and become millionaires over night or all that college was for naught. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Balancing Work and Home After College
As someone who has worked hard his whole life and has always been driven to succeed and improve, I can say from personal experience that there is absolutely nothing wrong with working hard. There’s nothing wrong with giving it 110% percent on the job. There's nothing wrong with tackling life fresh out of college like a ravenous lion ready to take on the world and annihilate the competition. There’s nothing wrong with insisting on being the best in your field and making millions doing it.
However, just like there is balance and too much and too little with anything and everything in life, there is a line to keep in sight when it comes to work. It is possible to work so hard and to put in so much effort that you actually start to suffer from it and your production drops off and your morale takes a dive. This is not a good situation to be in. This is why it is important to find that perfect balance of being a total slayer at work but also taking time to yourself to relax and recharge your batteries when you’re at home.
My Advice on How to Find Balance
Here are a few tips to apply in your new job now that you’re fresh out of college and ready to start your professional life:
When you're at work, be at work. When you're at home, be at home. When you're on the clock, work so hard that you don’t even think about checking your Facebook or other social media. The key to being successful isn't about how many hours you work; it’s about how much work you can cram into each hour that you are working. The most successful people I’ve ever met only work forty to forty-five hours a week, but they cram more into those hours than the average American worker does in fifty to sixty hours of work a week.
Think with the bigger picture. Rather than thinking along the lines of, “if I stay late every day this week, I’ll get some overtime,” think instead, “if I can get my boss to have lunch with me, I can try to pitch him on why I’m perfect for that promotion that just opened up.”
When you are off work, dedicate at least an hour every single day where you do nothing but activities that are relaxing or that increase your happiness. Don’t check your phone for an hour. Don't look at your work e-mails for an hour. Don’t even think about work for a solid hour every day.
Make your free time more valuable. No one ever became a millionaire by being a couch potato. When you do have free time, engage in activities that promote your physical, mental, spiritual, and personal health. Rather than spending three hours in front of the TV or on a computer or gaming console, go to the gym for two hours, then go for a walk with a friend or colleague for an hour. Exercise promotes healthy brain function and will assist you in being more successful in general.
These are just a few of the techniques I apply to my own life to create good balance between work and my personal life and how to make my work-time more valuable. Start thinking with these tips in mind, and odds are you will come up with even more techniques to make your work and personal life more successful and beneficial.
*Per Wickstrom is the founder and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, one of the top holistic rehabilitation centers in the country. He found sobriety after a decades-long struggle with addiction and has since dedicated his life and career to helping others find the same life- affirming success he has. Connect with Per via his blog, Twitter or Facebook.