How to Manage Studies, Work, and Personal Projects to Stay Sane and Kind

I find myself screaming "I don’t have time for this!" at people several times a day. It seems like someone vicious has stolen it from me just to see me suffer. At times like that, when you rush from one task to the other, unable to take a breath, it seems that it will never end and you can do nothing to make it any better. But actually, you can! In this post, I will tell you my four key principles that I use to deal with overwhelming times in life.

Photo by cottonbro: Pexels

Make it simple

Things can go frustrating pretty quickly: we can keep in mind only five to nine subjects at the same time. And we are not as good at multitasking as we think — the best option is to do one thing at a time.

To stay calm and focused, try to schedule only one task for a day, or if it is too much (or too little?), take the tasks with the same activity: celebrate the day of math, drawing, meetings, or editing! For example, I have a Writing Tuesday: I come to my favorite coffee shop, open my laptop, and work on my writing projects only, so nothing else can take up space in my mind.

Always prioritize

For our own good, the day is only twenty-four hours long. Because of this, we need to throw some commitments out and choose the most important ones from the rest of them. Going crazy about the number of to-dos for today, ask yourself:

  • What do I need to do at all costs?
  • What can I fail and not attend at all?
  • What can I postpone to the other day?

If you will do only the task from the first group, you’ll be juuuuust fine. At least for now. At the hardest times, this proved to be the most useful principle of all.

Good enough is better than perfect

This sounds obvious, but most of us still fall victim to perfectionism. We tend to forget another word of wisdom — only practice makes perfect, and a bunch of not-so-good outcomes is a much better practice than wasting all the time to make one thing 5% cooler.

The cure to this is not to expect 100% perfection in everything you do. Start with 60%, or 75%… is this "good enough" for you? Cool. Stop yourself from making it better and start something else. This video was of huge help for me.

Give yourself some love and praise

Will you be harsh on your friend who’s having a bad time? No, you will hug them and tell them everything will be fine! So why are we so harsh to ourselves?

Be that friend to yourself: you are not a bad person, you are not a trouble to others, you are not a failure. Everything will be fine. Find some time to relax and calm your nerves, and after that, write down ten things that you are proud of in yourself and ten things you feel grateful about — this will bring you back to positive thinking.

It is so easy to forget about ourselves and bury our precious lives under the endless pile of commitments, promises, and goals. But we are not a sum of our achievements, we are unique human beings who deserve love and happiness. So throw that pile away from your shoulder, get up, and spread your wings!

Written by Xenia Esina