Balance in life is always important.
Balance between exercise and rest.
Balance between work and play.
Balance in eating and sleeping.
However, none of that means that every single day should balance out perfectly. Consistency is worth a lot, but looking at balance across your life in terms of weeks or months is often more important (and easier to achieve) than perfect balance every day.
Ben Wilson dug into this related to Thomas Edison in his fantastic “How to take over the world” podcast. Edison frequently took things too far, but was famous for being a workaholic and then relaxing for weeks at a time on vacation to recharge.
A similar example is Yuval Noah Harari, author of the excellent book “Sapiens” (as well as a few others), who finds time to dig in and write incredible and detailed books while also taking a 60-day silent retreat each year.
Daily can help
On the flip side, some daily habits can be helpful. Take this blog, for example. Until about a year ago, I tried to blog “a few times a week”. The archives don’t lie, and in the four months before I started publishing daily (mid-June to mid-October of 2020), I published a total of two posts. That’s not anywhere near “a few times a week”, but I’ve kept up the daily habit for over 300 days in a row now.
I had a recent conversation with a friend about exercise that covered a similar concept. During the conversation, we discussed a mutual friend that exercised 3x weekly, very consistently. We were impressed by that, as neither of us could do that consistently (a “few times per week” turned out closer to zero) — we’ve both moved to exercising daily in order to stay consistent and it works for us.
Plan for extended balance
I think the best example I see of this is with Ali, my business partner at GreenMellen. With her young children she’s currently part-time right now, working Tuesday-Thursday, which quickly lends itself to some degree of weekly balance. Even within that, though, she does a great job of doing intentional things such as working late hours some days so she can help out at her daughter’s school the next day. She doesn’t let it happen by chance, but through what she calls “scheduled variety”. She looks at her entire week at a glance, and plans for the week to include a great deal of balance, even if individual days don’t.
Balance is something to always be working on, but taking a wider look at it can make it much less intimidating, particularly in certain phases of your life.