For peak performers, balance is not always achieved on a daily basis or even on a weekly basis, and that is OK. Life is bound to throw curveballs. You might get hit with a project or deal with a very tight deadline, have to put out multiple fires in your start-up, have a sick child you need to care for or have a little too much fun for a few days. The truth is no one is perfect and having those expectations will just cause you to feel like you are failing.
Instead, plan for being out of balance. Create reasonable expectations for yourself during these times and know resources to help delegate and automate any work and chores. Communicate with your loved ones, fellow employees, and friends about your stressors, so people can adjust their expectations or help when possible. In addition, know how long you can go unbalanced before productivity, mental health, and physical health start to significantly diminish. Also, when you know your limit for being unbalanced, you can proactively schedule a recovery period to bounce back quicker. A recovery period can be downtime, a day or two off from work, a longer vacation, or active recovery like a hike in nature, massage, or meditation. When life becomes out of balance, be present, prepared, and know your limits.
How to Know If You Are Out of Balance
One trick I use with my clients to help them be aware of being out of balance is having them use a calendar, like Google Calendar, and color code different types of daily events. For example, all work events are green, social events are blue, fitness events are orange, and so on. This allows you to look over your week and notice if you are lacking any colors and how you might be able to fit more of those activities in for the future. Personal awareness of one situation is the greatest skill to improve physical health, mental health, and overall productivity. When you know life will be unbalanced for a period of time, be prepared, know your limits, and plan for long-term success.