The New Normal in Maastricht

By Javier Báez García

These last months have been nothing short of a continuous challenge from every front. I may not be at risk myself—at least not apparently, I am 22 and with no health issues—but the responsibility for doing my best not to put anyone else at risk is very present. I had to learn how to start leading my relationship with my girlfriend through Zoom video calls and texting. How to change the entire business model of my company in barely a weekend. And essentially, how to turn my small studio into different designated spaces so I wouldn’t go insane. Where to rest, where to work—and procrastinate, this has been a very important factor these last few months—and ultimately, where to exercise.

At the end of the day, we all can agree that this situation is just bonkers. But despite the horrendous effects it’s had in the lives of millions, it may have a small silver lining. At least it had it on me. And that is to get the very unlikely, almost unthinkable chance to stop. To breath. To take a look at where you are; how you got there, and asses what is it that you actually want.

My “new normal” has been a sequence of months in which I went from a deep level of stress trying to imagine a way in which we could hold our business together without being forced to close it; to a deeper level of procrastination once things had slowly started to settle; to a profound period of purely reflecting in all what happened since I moved from Spain into The Netherlands to study.

After such long time thinking and reflecting—and eating the indecent amount of delivery food that I will never recognise to anyone who asks— I have learnt three things:

The only thing you can control, is yourself.

This moment is perfect to realise that you don’t have control over anything. Right now, many don’t even have control on when it’s allowed to leave their house. Stop attempting to control everything. If you micromanage your life and everyone around it, you’ll fail at the most important thing—living.

If the only thing you can control is yourself, make sure that when you do something, you do it right. Taking pride in what you do is essential! And it will fill you up inside, at your very core.

The only person whom you and your time is accountable to, is yourself.

Stop fearing deadlines. Stop aiming at working a certain amount of time which you consider to be expected of you. Stop defining your work value by other’s standards.

Forget about long to-do lists that you never end up finishing and end up making you feel guilty. Set yourself only 2 medium tasks every day, that’s it. Dedicate as much time as you need to make you feel proud of that work!

Do not look at your week as an 6/8h of work per day. Look at it, as two tasks or projects per day. It may take more or less time, but at the end you will be much more productive and the work will certainly be of a much higher quality.

Not even a pandemic will defeat your procrastination. ∎


circle-cropped (4)Javier Báez García is a Spanish international student finishing his Bachelor’s in European Law at Maastricht Univeristy. During his studies, he opened a Language School and a Photography & Filmmaking business. He also co-chaired Founders Club Maastricht – promoting entrepreneurship for all ages and he was invited as guest lecturer at Maastricht University in the Master for Entrepreneurship & SME Management. Additionally, he worked as Residential Week Coordinator and Interim Marketing Manager for the EuroMBA and the MaastrichtMBA respectively.

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