A Bisl Torah

Time Management

Efficiency is overrated. Jim Benson, an expert in time management, claims that efficiency becomes “a limitless reservoir for other people’s expectations.” Author Oliver Burkeman explains that we should stop worrying about our overflowing to do lists, endless emails, and attempts to finish everything. Burkeman doesn’t imply that we ignore our responsibilities. However, he suggests we refrain from “clearing the decks.” Clearing the decks is the idea that through our busy work, we will eventually see blank slates and empty counters. The attempt is futile. Getting to a zero inbox leads to more emails and more responses. Checking off bucket lists means we will inevitably fill the list with other random duties. We are engaged in an endless race in completing meaningless tasks instead of choosing to engage in meaningful moments.

The secret to time management is knowing what kind of time we hope to manage. When we sit on our deathbeds, will we feel pride in conquering our emails or feel contentment in knowing we engaged with family and friends? Efficiency becomes less about giving our full attention to everything and more about determining who and what deserves our attention. Perhaps time management is best practiced when we see time as finite, practice “staying present” and wonder if our activities will leave positive impacts on future generations.

We learn that the first mitzvah given to the Jewish people is delineating time for the new Jewish month. Establishing Rosh Chodesh. The mitzvah is given after the story of our people enslaved in Egypt, finally experiencing the tastes of freedom. But perhaps, the gift of Rosh Chodesh has more to do than with just structuring the calendar. Perhaps God is reminding us that true freedom comes in understanding how to best use our time. Not merely fill time but rather, live purposefully.

May we manage our time wisely and in doing so, taste freedom.

Shabbat Shalom

In partnership with The Jewish Journal, you can also find Rabbi Guzik’s blog post HERE.

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