Dear Auntie Muriel,
I have friends in each house and we all like spending time together in our dorms, common rooms and the Great Hall. Everyone is just so nice here. Anyways, I was wondering, if you please, what do you do to relax? What with school work and missions, OWLs and NEWTs, and, can't forget, Quidditch, when do you find time to do what needs doing and not get tangled in Devils' Snare vines? I'm nervous about failing my studies and letting others down. I don't want to disappoint anyone. What do you suggest?
Well, now, that is an interesting letter there. Lots of stuff to unpack as they say. Let's see, first, I'll start with how I approach the month. I finish any little niggling project for Detention, that's an easy 10 points right there. Then, I see if there's a class or Quidditch prompt that speaks to me. If so, I craft that. If not, I consult my chart of projects to make and gifts I want to give for the year and see if any of them sparks an idea. If not, I'll do a random pattern search. Eventually, something will say, "Me! Me!" It gets made and turned in for the class or Quidditch. I do the same for the other, class or Quidditch, yet to be done. That gets us to a total of 40 points, this term.
Then, I think on whether my OWL is at 50%, or mission or NEWT or what have you, from biggest to smallest of those. I work on whatever needs the most work at this time for that project. Once I get the project in question to a good stopping point for the month, then I focus on another large project or more classes. By this time in the month, I'm looking to do something different, so that gives me a little break, but I've also worked on what's needed.
This is my process. Your process may evolve to be different. Mine is still evolving, depending on how much the larger projects remind me of bowtruckles.
Now, about the second part of your letter, you thought I'd forgotten, hadn't you? The only pressure you have on you is that which you give yourself. Everyone else is totally excited to see you complete even a little bit, that we don't care if things fall through and don't get completed. The only caveat to that is to post at least one class a month, or risk the Vanishing Cabinet, which we wouldn't wish on anyone.
I suggest the use of a calendar or other timekeeping device to track House Cup dates. There's a Google calendar for the House Cup that can be downloaded into your digital calendar device, which has all the dates for Quidditch, Missions, OWLs, NEWTs, and Ravelympics. You can have that in your calendar easy-peasy and not have to worry whether you've missed a deadline. You can also set it to adjust to your time, so, when things are due at midnight POT, you can see when that is in your timezone.
Also, there are a few places to find spreadsheets of which classes require which prompts for the month. Hufflepuff has the HECK thread, while other houses have similar threads. GazeboGal has an amazing spreadsheet process for her crafting. If you ask nicely, she might share her process with you. If not, it is worth searching the old Great Hall threads for it.
And, last, but not least, I would suggest that you practice what the muggles call deep breathing to invoke the relaxation response. You are your best advocate and your worst critic. Learn to be happy with good enough. Don't try to please others, or try to read their minds, you don't know what they are thinking unless you ask, and then only what they are willing to share with you. Know your limits, and live within them.
That's all for now, folks!