How To master Our Time, And Make Tools For Time Accessible For Everyone? - Part 1

Tommy Barav,
Co-Founder & CEO at Magical

Tommy began his career at Rimon Music School, where he learned one of his first lessons - you need to work hard to be creative. There is no muse waiting out there to get the job done. He graduated from the Zell Entrepreneurship Program, where he also met Liat Aronson, who was and is still a great mentor for him.

At Zell, he was part of the initial team of Argus - who are pioneers in the field of car cyber security. After a few years he decided to leave due to the feeling of burnout he experienced: "Over time I felt that I was mostly busy but unproductive." It was a very difficult decision - but the right one for him, for his physical and mental health. He chose to prioritize himself.

In a deep & fun conversation - Tommy and I dived deep into the secrets of productivity & effectiveness, and how to master our time.

Reflecting on self

Tommy did the Level 10 Life assessment - a productivity method created by Hal Elrod that helps you get a better understanding of how you feel about the current state of your life. The method allows you to step back and reevaluate your current life status, which will help you to take the right steps to improve.

I myself use this technique with the founders & investors I coach, and that helps me and them  to map out immediately where we need to begin in our coaching process. It’s a wonderful reflection of one's reality, and you are welcome to pause, dive deep with yourself and try it here - in Hebrew or in English.


Another essential book is Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. It talks about our undisciplined pursuit of more - which at the end, leads to less - less focus and less time, and our need in creating balance in what really matters.

In my clinic - I ask the founders I coach a very simple question - “Does it move the needle?”/ “Is it vital that YOU PRIORITIZE THIS task NOW?”. It immediately helps to create clarity in what matters and where the time & energy should go.

Another way to check where we are - is to have a weekly review at the end of every week - as an event in our calendar, and (1) create a list of questions that helps us estimate and review our focus and progress. Another way (2) is to have our Future Self talk to our Present Self - and ask him.her about his.her progress and what really moves the needle for him or (3) create personal OKRs that we can measure. 

Creating systems & rituals

Tommy believes that we should create systems rather than goals. Goals can be changed, but the systems help us create and internalize the rituals that are true for us - both personally & professionally.

Tommy has created himself a checklist of the DOs and DONTs of his life. That way - he doesn't question himself. It’s as simple as it is - either it’s in the list or not. Every morning - he goes through his list and follows the things that are important to him. The book Atomic Habits by James Clear helps in mapping our constructive habits and how to make sure they are present in our life. For example - drinking lemon water, red wine and sharing a daily productivity hack with my team in slack - are things that make me a better person and help me create the culture I want for my company, at the same time. That’s why they’ll be on my list. Also in the DOs list - sleep for 7 hours, make sure I have time for the things I want to read, the things I want to write and the things I want to shape. In the list of DON’Ts: don't eat sugar, don’t go to sleep too late, don't be too apologetic. The idea is to be 1% better every day.

Part of the secret of being productive - is not to get caught in our loop of thoughts

As founders, and human beings, we often find ourselves with so many thoughts and so many “sides”/considerations prior to making a decision. Don’t try to ignore it. True leadership comes from being vulnerable. When we communicate how we feel, it is simply contagious. The transparency is doing good for the team around you. Of course - don’t share everything and have boundaries, but make sure you are a mindful leader.

Here are 3 hacks to “break” the loop of thoughts:

  1. Contain the feelings - Do you remember the flight attendant in the air planes explaining how we should first wear our own oxygen masks and only after we help our children with that? Only if we help ourselves - we can help others. Allow yourself a daily meditation - use any favorable app (Sam Harris who also has a great podcast series, calm, Kai, HeadSpace and many others) - Between a few minutes to an hour a day. 
  2. Cold showers - The Wim Hof Method includes cold showers and breathing practice. Although it may seem counterintuitive, these showers are actually beneficial for both your mind and your body and he recommends incorporating cold showers into your daily routine, as it reduces stress levels, enables higher levels of alertness, more robust immune response, Increased willpower and supports weight loss.
  3. Gratitude - Practicing Gratitude is known to increase our sense of happiness. One way to do it - is to practice daily- 3 things that we feel thankful and grateful for. Another way is creating an ‘appreciation block' in our calendar, in which we send ‘thank you’ notes to our team, stakeholders, and people that helped us along the way. It helps strengthen the relationships and our own sense of feeling appreciation and happiness. Making it a ritual - to really show gratitude for the little efforts that others do for us, and not taking it for granted - also makes wonders in the way we engage people into our life. ‘Firgun’ - means showing appreciation to others in front of everyone, and that’s also a great ritual to implement in your startup culture.

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