Ask Ally

Ask Ally

Ally G

Dear Ally,

My Christmas shopping list is so much longer this year now that I’m in college and I don’t have a lot of money or gift ideas. Then, when I went Christmas shopping for gifts, the lines took close to 20 minutes and I only got one gift! Oh, and on top of it all, it’s finals week. How am I supposed to have any balance?

– Christmas with a Crank.

Hi there Cranky, Isn’t it ironic that “the most wonderful time of the year” is hectic for so many. Between school and personal life, it can be a real challenge to balance
everything and it sounds like you have a lot on your plate.

My advice comes from one of my favorite books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (this book is also a solid idea for a Christmas present), which was written by Steven Covey.

So Cranky, it seems as though you are pulled in many different directions at the same time. What should you do? Maybe you could consider using the following principle from the book:

“Urgent matters are usually visible. They press on us; they insist on action. They’re often popular with others,” Covey wrote, “they’re usually right in front of
us. And often they are pleasant, easy, fun to do. But so often they are unimportant!”

If you want to respond to your situation proactively, which I suspect you might, the first step would be to sort out your priorities. Again, I draw from Steven Covey.

“Importance, on the other hand, has to do with results,” Covey said, “If something is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals.”

So, my advice is for you to take care of you and make time for yourself – then you can carefully think about the choices in front of you.

What I am trying to say is: take care of the most important job first, a job that aligns with your values. This might be doing your best on finals, or it might be making personal gifts for everyone on your list.

Deciding what your center priorities are will guide you. If a ship did not have anchors, they’d be all over the ocean!

“What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did it on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life?” Covey asks. What do you think? Don’t let the holidays and finals happen to you. You’re the driver of your life, so you have the control.

Yes the aisles are incredibly busy, yes the same holiday songs are on repeat, and yes there are so many projects and tests to do but that does not mean you cannot control your own choices.

Do you have to be a crank? Not at all. You get to decide how you feel (which is a gift itself).
Just make sure to take care of yourself along the way, and have some you-time.

Want to survive finals week?
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People changes the game. While reading the entire book is essential, Habit 3 specifically demonstrates how to balance and prioritize.

P.S. – If you have a headache, WebMD says to dim the lights, so try dimming your computer/phone light and see if it helps