A frequently unbalanced life is a good life.
One of the big problems with personal development is the implied idea that we can attain perfect daily balance if we just self-actualize hard enough.
No one says it explicitly, but read a few books on time management or personal development and you’ll start to believe that it’s possible to do all this every single day:
- work a full day
- exercise for an hour
- read 50 pages
- cook three meals
- spend time creating
- take the dog on a long walk
- spend quality time with your partner/kids (if applicable)
- have an after-dinner martini with friends, relaxing on the front porch as the sun sets over the distant mountains
Sounds nice, but here are two things that’ll make the perfect day pretty rare:
- high personal standards for your work
- a commitment to trying new things
The problem: maintaining a perfect daily schedule requires perfect control over your life. And the more committed you are to challenging yourself with high standards and new experiences (and you should be committed to these things), the more control you’ll have to sacrifice.
With that in mind, here are two useful strategies:
- Define your bare minimum. What’s the least you need to accomplish to call it a successful day? It’s worth being precise here. Personally, I’ve decided I need to play some trumpet every day and spend at least a few minutes with my wife and daughter.
- Get comfortable with short periods of imbalance. Unbalanced days and weeks are totally okay. It’s the months and years that matter.
If you have trouble maintaining perfect balance, it may be a sign you’re on the right track.
And it’s definitely a sign you’re human.