Switching from God Mode to a regular sandbox game means a little different mindset.
In God Mode with 500,000 starting money and no elections, rebels or foriegn threats it is a more relaxed mode of play allowing you to predesign a lot of things without the worries of a regular game. But you are also missing a lot of the flavor of the game. Decisions that make or break a real country.
That said, the main thing is that you have to build slowly while keeping an eye on what your island or people really need. The main thing is to not go into debt. Build slowly. If you go into debt all the time, your foriegn relations with the US & USSR are going to dump into the proverbial toilet and there goes your foriegn aid from them.
First build up some industry that does not involve educated workers. Mining or logging is good since you don't have to wait for crops to grow. Do not build excess industry since you have a small starting population. Once you do have some income coming in build a resteraunt for entertainment and a church and hire a foriegn high school student to man it. The other two essential buildings to build are a clinic and a marketplace. Once these four buildings are built you can then concentrate on housing for your workers knowing the basic needs of your people are being met. Not fancy housing but something to get them out of shacks.
Once these basics are in place you can build a high school so you can educate the workers needed for the next level of buildings - factories like canneries for coffee or pineapples, rum distilleries for sugar, police stations, diplomatic ministry and immigration office, etc. This lets your imported teacher train your own people to fill the other jobs. Saves you a lot of money instead of hiring all those foriegn educated workers.
The next level of buildings start as soon as you build a college to train the workers needed for them. Once you have a professor teaching you can build the newspaper, TV stations, armory, and later a powerplant for electrical buildings. This is when oil refineries really should be built. Apartments and homes are built at this level instead of bunkhouses and tenements.
And all the while you increase your industrial production areas as money and workers become available.
Think of it as a layered building experience instead of a race to build everything at once. True it's a balancing act at times but that adds to a fuller feeling of accomplishment while actually watching your island grow. Nothing like having the admiration of an adoring people continually vote you back into office every six or seven years.
In my opinion, it's worth the little bit of pressure you have to go through.
Word of warning though. Once you feel comfortable with the layered level approach you might go a little crazy like me and play a game with Free Elections, Immigrants Out, A Place Far Far Away, a history of Rebellion and minimum tourism for a fifty year game. That's really a punishing way to play but it will teach how to juggle everything or just pull your hair out.