Every Friday is filled with last minute preparations for making your shabbos perfect. There’s cooking, cleaning, ironing, bathing, preparing, setting up- it’s no wonder that Friday’s are so stressful. Imagine if there was a machine that can automate many of the tasks, eliminate others and make the tasks remaining more enjoyable. Well there is- it’s a methodology called The Success Making Machine. The system can be used for any type of project and it certainly will help ease shabbos preparations.
A Success Making Machine is system that uses the three elements of: thinking, doing and enjoying to acheive success. In short the principals are: Think before you do. Do it well. Enjoy what you’re doing.
Before you do anything you need to think. Why are you making shabbos? Of course I know it’s a commandment. But why are you making it so elaborate? Certainly many of the tasks you perform aren’t really neccessary to having a great shabbos experience. So figure what you really want in your shabbos and make a concrete plan accordingly. The next few paragraphs give you some of the tools that you can include in your plan.
Eat it I actually mean Ate it: EliminAte, AutomAte and DelegAte. Eliminate tasks you don’t really need to do. Do you really need a 3rd side dish? Is it necessary to wash all the dirty clothes before shabbos- can it be done on Sunday? Automate: Can your grocery store deliver your standard order each week? Can your cleaners be automatically delivered before shabbos? Delegate: Can one of the kids prepare the shabbos table? Are there some items that would be better to buy than make yourself? Think about ways to “ate” your tasks.
Home it Every item in your house should have a home, a place where it belongs. During the week items around the house should end up in their home- this will eliminate the need for some cleaning before shabbos. For the items that are left out you can put it away without thinking or simply have your spouse or child put it away- it’s easy because everyone knows the home. All shabbos preparation items should similarly have a home. So when you’re preparing for shabbos you don’t need to spend precious time looking around for them.
Routine it– Make your shabbos preparation ritual routine. Have all members of your household know what their tasks are so there’s no need for reminders. The less time you spend thinking about routine tasks on Friday the more brainpower you can extend to doing things faster and better.
Doing is the obvious part of shabbos preparation. But whatever you do, do it to the best of your abilities. Even tasks you don’t like should be done with your full effort- it gets done faster that way (more on this later). Also you’re passion will also spill over to other members of the family who will achieve more with less stress.
When you start a task, work on it until it’s done. Don’t interrupt yourself lest you end up with 20 open tasks and nothing completed as a neighbor walks in or you need to step out for a few minutes.
Don’t multitask. Many supposedly productive people will tell you that you should multitask to get your tasks done more efficiently. Experiments have proven that multitasking doesn’t work. People lose their focus and don’t adequately concentrate causing the time and or quality to suffer. Rather combine complementary tasks. Peel potatoes while you’re on the phone. The potatoes aren’t a mind intensive task, leaving you to concentrate on the phone. When you go out shopping be sure to stop at the cleaners- it will save you a trip later.
Shabbos is a special day. If you’re stressing the entire week about preparations and resting all of shabbos when will you be enjoying yourself? There’s a simple rule for enjoying shabbos preparation and shabbos more: Do more of what you like and less of what you dont like. Think about ways to “ate” your tasks- especially the ones that you hate.
Do something you enjoy to reward yourself. Perhaps you get the first bite of kugel. Prepare you favorite foods. Most of all eliminate stress. Are you stressed about demanding guests? Don’t invite them anymore. A stressed out parent at the shabbos table certainly doesn’t contribute to an enjoyable shabbos.
The more you use the tools of the Success Making Machine the more you’ll achieve on Friday and everyday. (There are more tools and techniques online at successmakingmachine.com) Even in this short lesson you can start to take advantage of building your machine which will help you achieve success. Have a successful shabbos.