I think I’ve always been one of those people who knows they’re taking on too much and knows they’re going to get insanely stressed out from it, but continues to do so anyway. I think for me it currently stems from the fact I really love my University course and the things I’m doing right now, so I just want to get involved with every aspect possible.
But eventually you’ve got to learn you can’t take on everything. Or at the very least, you can’t take on everything and do all of those things well. Quality over quantity is an apt expression.
I don’t like the term defeat when it comes to being unable to complete something, but sometimes you have to raise your little white flag. It happened to me recently with a project I was doing alongside my University work. I loved it, but I just had so much going on that I could see myself falling behind. I made the mistake of avoiding the project and pushing it to the back of my mind, all the while getting more and more stressed about it. The other day I went to one of my lecturers with my tail between my legs and shamefully admitted that I wasn’t doing so well with everything I was taking on.
Guess what though? It was fine. My lecturer said she could see that I was having a hard time and that was okay, that I’m allowed to struggle and I’m allowed to put things on hold to prioritise.
It sounds so simple, but just having someone tell me it was okay not to be perfect and totally in control all the time took such an immense weight off my shoulders. It made me realise that people don’t expect you to take on everything at once, and won’t judge you for not being able to.
In my opinion, most people are too hard on themselves, especially when it comes to tasks they like. I’m not saying don’t go for it and take on new projects, but to remember that you’ll thank yourself a lot later for taking on less but creating an amazing outcome for what you did take on, than if you’d jumped headfirst into a tonne of projects and were not totally satisfied with the end results due to the pressure of so much work.