A couple days ago I had a total mental breakdown. For the first time in a long time I felt completely overwhelmed. Immediately I wanted to quit everything and was beating myself up for thinking I could handle it all.
Honestly, I tend to fill my plate up with as many projects as possible. I always have done this. Half of me thinks its a way for me to self sabotage myself, overcommitting as an excuse not to give one thing my all. The other half of me thinks it is because I know I am passionate about what I am doing, and grinding and hustling now will rocket launch my career.
So how do you find the balance?
1. Google Calendar.
All of my emails are part of GSuite - my school email, work email, personal email, all Google. That way I have all of my calendars in Google Calendar, which beautifully syncs up to my iPhone.
The minute someone asks me "when are you free" I don't have to worry about if I have my planner, or if I am not logged into the right computer, I always have my calendar.
2. Be honest with your time.
It takes me an hour to drive to work, that is something I cannot change. Pretending it only takes me 45 minutes sets me up for failure. I also know that I tend to write slowly, so when I sit down to write something, (email, blog post, paper) it is probably going to take me a while. Pretending it will only take me 15 minutes to write a blog post is again setting myself up for failure, but if I block out an hour to write it and it only takes 45 minutes, now I have a spare 15 minutes to celebrate!
3. Communicate with your team.
Okay, shit happens. But ghosting your team is only going to bring frustration to your team, break your trust with each other, and bring you a whole lotta shame. None of which is helpful. People mess up. Or at least I do sometimes. You have to be honest, even if it is a dumb of reason as "I forgot."
That honesty will lead to better communication, why did you forget? Was it just not a priority? Are you not getting enough sleep and it is making you forgetful? Are you going through a family emergency and you might have to drop the project? JUST BE HONEST.
4. Make it fun!
Being overwhelmed happens to everyone, and sometimes it is unavoidable. Sometimes your sister decides to get married during finals week, now you are balancing studying, wedding planning, and trying to get enough sleep to not be a zombie at this wedding. Weddings are meant to be fun! Learning is fun! You can find a way to make it fun!
Study for the test while you get your hair done. Bring flashcards to study while your sister tries on dresses. You can make it work. YOU WILL MAKE IT WORK.
5. Learn when to say no.
Most of the time you will be saying yes to projects that excite you or things you can benefit from. Everything takes time. Working out. Coffee with friends. Working on your art. But you don't have to say yes to everything, and sometimes you have to say no to something. It's okay to not go to Vegas for the weekend when you know you have a big project proposal on Monday. Your friends will forgive you a lot easier than you will forgive yourself for messing up your project proposal, and I promise they will go to Vegas again.
Remember it is not the end of the world.
Projects are temporary. College is only a couple years. And at the end of it all you will be stronger and better off. You are still learning. You are still growing.
Just like working out is challenging and painful, so is learning to be a better artist. You have to push yourself and do things you don't think are possible to achieve more than you have ever dreamed of.