Tuesday, January 5, 2010

6 Months in the Russian Moishe House

I would like to reflect on our house reaching the six month
anniversary, and discuss what I have learned in the process. Six
months usually pass by quickly, but I feel like the adventure has
lasted years. This is perfectly understandable, considering that we
jam-packed a lot of milestones into this short time-frame. Each month
brings a new iteration of planning, budgeting, advertising, meeting,
and hosting a variety of events. All throughout, we had to
consistently pick up new skills and learn to deal with increasing
amounts of stress and time management issues. However, this learning
process would have taken me years if it were not for the Russian
Moishe House.

For starters, I was never much of an event planner prior to this
undertaking. The procedure felt like a chore consisting of tons of
steps and uncertainties, enough to lose any sense of motivation.
After a organizing a few dozen of these, the steps began resemble more
of a streamlined process - no longer the initial conception, followed
by the planning, then the delegation of responsibilities, then the
logistics, and lastly, the marketing and promoting.

Time management was always a major obstacle. I never viewed it as a
strength of mine, and would balk at anyone who claimed otherwise.
However, a few months of this lifestyle caused me to evolve in certain
respects. I knew that managing this project along with my full-time
job would demand a drastic overhaul in how I prioritize my time, how I
take notes, and how I multi-task. The most immediate step was to get
more sleep - at least something approaching the average for a human.
In my case, I started averaging seven. Before, I could function on 5
- 6, but this was no longer sufficient to energize the sheer amount of
multi-tasking I faced on a daily basis. I started dividing my tasks
into much more granular pieces then ever before. I know, this seems
like somewhat of a contradiction to how I think about events, but in
reality, these are two separate processes. One is used to ease the
way I conceptualize the event, and the other is used for the actual
processing of the different milestones. I keep a list of every little
task I must accomplish throughout a given day, or in the near future,
and constantly document new information that pops into my head. I
then work on these tasks throughout the day, in small increments. I
also take notes of any information relevant to discuss in our weekly
meetings, and incorporate it into the agenda the first chance I get.
By the time of the meeting, the agenda is for the most part complete,
and I no longer have to brainstorm and try to remember everything
relevant.

On a social scale, I now have an easier time managing the vast amount
of people that come through our doors. This is not easy by any means,
and I don't see myself ever getting fully accustomed to the constant
anxiety of expecting someone at the house, which is very often the
case, even when an event is not happening. For the first time, I
value time of solitude, and no longer feel the guilt of doing nothing
and simply staring into space! Every free moment is an opportunity to
relax, re-energize, and reflect on the day.

These are some of the highlights of what it means to live in the
Moishe House. I often feel like a machine that is consistently
running, and the stress occasionally becomes too much. However, if
time was reversed and I was faced with the choice of living this or a
more conventional lifestyle, I would without a doubt do this again.

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