May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
May 25, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Raritan Valley Hadassah Hosts Time Management Webinar

Many people start the secular calendar year with resolutions for improvement. The Raritan Valley Chapter of Hadassah hosted a “Finding Balance in the Everyday: Time Management & Working Jewish Women” webinar with guest speaker Dr. Shari Bloomberg, LCSW, via Zoom on Sunday, January 8.

Bloomberg shared tips on how to balance the many demands on people’s personal and professional lives. Chapter co-president Marnie Kean noted that holding the meeting on Zoom allowed people to catch the program on a normally busy day and help them manage their time so they could participate.

Bloomberg began by pointing out that with Shabbat and holidays, Jewish working (and non-working) women have more on their plates than their peers. While she would not be able to personally change their schedules, she would show the audience how to manage their busy lives, balance it all and provide some tips and tricks to make things less complicated and/or time consuming.

Attendees shared the issues that complicated their lives and made scheduling so difficult. Whether someone was employed or retired, cared for children or grandchildren, married or single parent—it was clear that busy lives were causing chaos and complications. Bloomberg noted that in the majority of homes the wife/mother takes the lead on the majority of household responsibilities. Many Jewish men have taken on household chores and Jewish women have entered the workforce, yet the majority of home responsibilities and family schedules are still organized by the woman. For example, she stated: “If your family is invited to a wedding, whose responsibility is it to buy the wedding gift?”

Bloomberg provided an interesting historical reference for why so much rests on the shoulders of women. In prior centuries, European Jews lived in fear that the non-Jewish world would erupt in persecutions or pogroms if there was any complaint. Going to the authorities would be a reason for them to go after you. Thus began a culture of stoicism, where nobody would ask for help and Jewish women would hold their emotions internally. The internalization of the anxiety adds another layer of complexity to already overwhelmed organizational skills.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help,” Bloomberg advised, noting that the assistance of a professional organizer can help someone stay on task in addition to just clearing out closets. Several attendees were in the process of clearing possessions left behind from deceased or aging relatives and related how difficult the task is. She suggested that we all should be looking at our things now to avoid leaving an overwhelming task to our children.

Bloomberg stated that the full impact of COVID-19 has yet to be felt. Unlike other collective traumas, not only did we suffer through COVID-19 relatively alone, but it was a global event rather than localized. The isolation magnified the personal and collective trauma that wreaked havoc on time-management skills. The technologies that helped us get through COVID-19 have been double-edged swords. Text messages, Zoom meetings, social media, e-mail etc. have helped us maintain lines of communication with others, but have also increased individual anxiety to provide immediate responses and replies. “Our phones have become an appendage: right hand, left hand, cell phone. Our focus has been stolen,” Bloomberg asserted, without which completing even the smallest task list becomes increasingly more difficult. Attention spans have diminished so significantly that we have collectively lost the ability to focus on one item at a time and complete it.

Bloomberg admits that there is no magical solution, although she wishes there were. However, maintaining good personal habits can, at least somewhat, help diminish the anxiety. Creating a personal routine, healthy eating and sleep habits, exercise and having time for reflection go a long way.

The most critical step in time management is planning. Create an appointment calendar to fill the day but with enough time between tasks to allow for the unexpected. Make appointments for yourself to get things done, not just reminders that “I’ll take care of it sometime.” Bloomberg adds, “Be sure to put time on your calendar for self-care. It is just as important to take care of yourself.”

The session concluded with some reference-material sources and the recommendation to divide an overwhelming project into its specific tasks to make it less overwhelming and more manageable. It is important to recognize if you are the type of person to respond to a sense of accomplishment by conquering the “low-hanging fruit,” easily completed tasks, first or the person who feels better conquering the most difficult task on the list first. Going with our strengths is the best way to get things done.

For more information about membership and/or upcoming events featured by the Raritan Valley of Hadassah, contact Marnie Kean at [email protected] or go to their Facebook page: Hadassah Raritan Valley.

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles