When the going gets tough, the tough get...
Organized. The tough get organized.
Becoming a full-time teacher while being a full-time student has had me reflecting back on some times where I feel like I was at my best, both musically and academically. They tend to be the times I'm the most busy. Where lots of people will say that they perform well under stress, I think I fall into the aforementioned category simply because when I am overwhelmed, I try harder to be organized. I put events in my calendar immediately upon finding out about them. I make practice plans. I lay out the schedule for my day. When life is moving a bit more slowly, I get lazier about those habits, and what do you know? I make less progress.
Perhaps we don't need to overload ourselves in order to feel the pressure and succeed, but rather apply those smart habits we have during those times out of necessity to the times where they aren't so crucial.