Thursday, November 29, 2007

Time Management the Jewish Way

I want so badly to write a nice post with tips and recommendations for using time wisely. OK, so I will. But I can't do it well. I have a real problem with time. I run on Jewish time: everything just a tiny bit late, just enough to be really late but just short of being annoying. I thought that I would solve this by setting my watch ahead. No dice. My cellphone and computer have the real time. So then I have just been messed up about what time it "really" is (for help, listen to 880 WCBS and they will give you the real deal. "At the tone, the time is now 10:00pm"). I have always struggled with stuff like this. I think most people think I do pretty well, and I know I put a lot of pressure on myself. However, at this point in life, I have about 10 balls up in the air and all of a sudden, I just realized I don't know how to juggle.

I read something on Real that freaked me out. I wasn't looking at the site, but it was a link from CNN so I clicked. I don't read that magazine. I don't because it makes me feel seriously deficient, kind of like the Container Store (how on earth can we be that perfect). But it made me realize that the little tricks that I've come up with, the short cuts, make it possible for me to be the kind of Jew I want and still pretend to get things done in my life.

So please, dear reader, read on for my solutions for managing your time. Jewishly. Or Jewish time. For Shabbat, too. Whatever.

  1. Use tea lights for Shabbat candles. No mess to clean up. Fulfill your mitzvah the no muss no fuss way.
  2. Although it is not good for the environment, cook your Shabbat dinner in a tin pan. Oh wait, you can recycle it. Who wants to spend erev Shabbat cleaning up when you can be doing other things?
  3. Be a dork and set out clothes for the next day in advance. I know, I know, but it does work. Definitely choose Shabbat clothes in advance. When you're done choosing for you, do it for your kids. Definitely do it for your spouse.
  4. Don't ever bake your own challah. Come on, seriously. Haven't you ever had Zomicks/Bagel City/etc., etc.? Store bought can still be good.
  5. Respect your body and get enough sleep. And don't eat junk food. OK, at least not all the time.
  6. See #4, and stop making fancy desserts. Serve more fruit. Everyone needs more fruit. Then have sorbet. And a storebought cookie won't kill anyone either. (Sorry, ImaShalom)
  7. Make your own Shabbat box. Not the kiddie kind, but the one filled with the magazines, special snacks, etc. that you can break open on Shabbat and really enjoy. That way when you do get 5 minutes to yourself the good magazine (Star?) will be right where you want it.
  8. Stop needing to be the balabusta and get yourself invited over (by anyone) for a Shabbat meal. Or any meal. Don't be picky. Or eat lunch at the kiddush at shul. Or go to the potluck. You might make a new friend or two and you won't have to cook.
  9. Buy a lot of gifts in advance so you'll always have something to take with you. Kids' gifts, fun things for adults, small stuff. Keep it in a big plastic bin in a closet with some nice bags (OK, from the Container Store) and take them with you when you go to someone's house for Shabbat (see #8). Or anytime.
  10. Make a meal for a family with a new baby or a family sitting shiva. And at the same time make the same meal for your family. And then there is the less mitzvah-dik version: cook a LOT in advance and freeze it. Quiches, lasagne, meat sauce for pasta, soups, meatloaf, chili, whatever. Who cares? Just make it in big batches and freeze. Yes, it is OK to have something you defrost for Shabbat.

I'm stopping at 10 because I don't have enough time to write more!!

Shabbat shalom.


Ima Shalom said...

Total agreement except for challah baking--with a bread machine, it's actually a lot faster to make your own than to shlep out to get it, in my humble opinion. And the result makes Shabbat much more lovely!

Maya said...

Have you thought about a shabbat potluck email list? A fabulous woman named Roz does one in DC. She sends it out every Wed. night or Thur. morning with a note to reply to the group. It's great if you bought a ton of brussels sprouts and nothing else and it's suddenly time to plan a meal. It's also a terrific way to introduce new members of the community into a group. Through it, Ima-shalom hosted a memorably wonderful child-friendly lunch once.

Anonymous said...

Maya, that is a great idea. I am definitely going to do it. Thanks!!
And how did you know that I bought like 3 lbs of brussels sprouts yesterday?? Shabbat shalom.