by Yana Tolmacheva, Senior Director, RSJ Programming

Hello Moishe House family and happy 2020! It’s a special time of the year where we reflect on the past twelve months and set intentions for the upcoming decade—whoa, I know. Here I am running around at 50 mph, a typical New Yorker, commuting three hours per day, working on global programs from Russia to Toronto and boxing on the side. There are many of you balancing jobs, volunteer work, relationships, planning MH programs, cooking, budgeting and fitting in a few hours of sleep. Amidst all of this, we remember ourselves and the need for balance and self-care, and wonder even more how can we start 2020 successfully. Time Management is a hot topic and we’ll explore this while I have your attention for the next few minutes. Let me tell you an important secret, time management is not about time at all. It’s about YOU.

Our lives have gotten busier, more dynamic, demanding, and more fast paced, and many of the time management tools are simply not enough to deal with the reality of today. I am by no means an expert in this field but I am someone who used to stay in the office until 9 P.M. and now, after adding a relationship, program expansion, and an amateur boxing career, I have not worked past 6 P.M. Let me share with you how I did it! 

Nod to yourself if you often feel like you just don’t have enough time. Nod if you answer ‘busy’ the majority of the time when you are asked how you are. Nod if you are ready for this to change.

Remember, nothing changes if nothing changes. Read that again.

Time is one of those things we cannot change. It’s a finite resource, so accept it and focus on what we do during it versus how much of it we have. Again, it’s not about time it’s about you, your focus, and taking control. Below are 10 ways to improve your time management. I recommend you read them carefully, internalize how they could work for you, and then choose what you want to implement. If you do at least one or two of these, I promise you will see progress!

  1. Prioritize ruthlessly and often. Each month, every week, and every day. Every morning, before the start of your work day, before you open email or Slack or any other multitude of social media platforms, ask yourself what has to be done today? Answer that question and write down no more than 3 things. Those are your priorities for the day.
  2. Do the important actions first. These are often uncomfortable – so do them first, delegate if you are able to, or ask for help if you feel stuck.
  3. Keep track of all your tasks in one place. One place.
  4. Set a due date for every task. Every task should have a deadline.
  5. Find a system that enables you to prioritize. Remember this:
    • If it’s important and urgent, do it NOW
    • If it’s important but not urgent, schedule it and let go of your anxiety
    • If it’s urgent but not important, delegate
    • If it’s neither, get it off your list. Goodbye!
    • Google “Eisenhower Matrix” to learn more
  6. Be very clear about what you need from the person you are reaching out to. All emails should have a clear task of what the recipient needs to do and by when.If it’s not clear what you need them to do, they won’t do it. They can’t read your mind and you won’t get your result. 
  7. Utilize resources. I learned what a ‘boomerang’ is fairly recently (it allows you to schedule an email to disappear and return into your inbox unread so you’re reminded of it because it’s sitting at the top again). It’s available on all online email platforms and Gmail has a built-in version of it. Let technology work for you. It will remember your tasks, deadlines and reminders, so guess what? You don’t have to. Now your energy and focus can be spent on something way more important
  8. Do one thing at a time. Give yourself a timeline to do that one thing. Up to 25 minutes. Close all other tabs & mute notifications while doing it.
  9. Set an agenda and a desired outcome for meetings. Know what you need before you walk into it. If you don’t have goals or a desired outcome, guess what? You probably don’t need to have this meeting.
  10. Be aware of how you use your time. Most things don’t need to be meetings. Most meetings don’t need to be as long as they are. Take back your control, delete and shorten.

Give your energy to people and tasks that deserve it. Prioritize what is important in and outside of work. Be proactive and in control. You are all changing the world, believe it or not. Stay amazing and if you want to connect about productivity tips, Russian Jews, or boxing, reach out at