Together Tour, Treasure Box & Trainings: The Inaugural Issue

Oct 31, 2023

Together Friends!

Our 12-years-and-counting monthly Together Tips newsletter gets lots of reads, clicks, and shares, and I’m excited to start visiting your inboxes two times a month with more Together goodness –  AND to add in a feature we have been intrigued to write about – really digging into the details about how other Together Friends think about managing their time, tasks, tools, and energy – both personally and professionally. Our goal with this new feature is to highlight Together practices, be a fly on the Together wall, and encourage reflection on your own approaches.

If you want to nominate yourself or others, please write us here and we will send over our survey for you to complete and will consider you as a feature. We plan to profile teachers, school leaders, district roles, and non-profit staff – basically anyone we work with here at Together Central.

Together Tour: Versha Munshi-South

Our very first Together Tour features Versha Munshi-South. Versha is a Leadership Coach, TNTP leader, and Stamford Public Schools school board member. Not to mention a mom of two! I met Versha when she was a school principal in NYC – and we made a cool video of her Togetherness which we still show in many of our classes – and I’ve been following her career ever since.

Why is Togetherness essential in your role? 
Lots of people count on me! I project manage several staff members and I have two teenagers at home. My ability to manage my emotions and effectively support everyone depends on me being Together.

What are your 2-3 necessary Together Tools and why? 
My calendar reflects my priorities! I put everything on my calendar so that nothing [usually] slips through the cracks and others can use it to schedule time with me.

My OneNote-I have various notebooks for different folks I work with, and my “Priorities” notebook keeps all of my to-dos in one place.

For travel, since I travel every couple of weeks-I keep a toiletry bag that’s always packed–saves so much time and I [almost] never forget essentials. I also always have my travel work bag set up with an extra charger, pens, Advil, etc.

What is the first and last thing you do at work each day? 

Get the right music going–usually something 90s/familiar.

The morning and afternoon mirror each other. First thing in the morning I open my OneNote and calendar to see what’s coming up for the day, what I need to get done by EOD, and where I have some flexibility.

At the end of the day I move anything I didn’t get to onto the next day. I also look at my calendar for tomorrow’s meetings and make sure I’ve created or reviewed the agenda for every meeting.

How do you use Togetherness with colleagues, students, managers, board members, etc?

So many ways!

  • We use shared documents for 1:1s and team meetings, client meetings that all participants can populate.
  • I orient new team members to my OneNote and calendar and support them in creating their own personal organization systems.
  • We adhere to “knowledge management” systems so that folks know where to find what (ie. OneNote/Sharepoint for internal meetings, google for external, Asana for project plans).
  • We have communication norms (ie. When to email vs. Teams chat vs. text/call) (note from MHM: I blogged about communication norms here and we will feature TNTP’s communication norms soon!!)

How do you use Togetherness on the home front?

I do the laundry and dump it all on my bed. The kids are responsible for making 4 piles (one for each member of our family) and folding and putting away their laundry.

My husband and I have a shared calendar that includes any of our travel/evening engagements, as well as the kids’ school and activities calendars.

One Together Trick I do that no one knows about is . . . 

When I’m stuck I use “HALT” to ask if I’m hungry/angry/lonely/tired and then address the root cause or try to! If I’m lonely I might text a friend I’ve been meaning to connect with, if I have an afternoon slump I might take a walk or get a bit of caffeine or sugar.

When you are at your most Together, your lunch at work is . . . 

A homemade egg and cheese sandwich on sourdough (which means I’m working from home, have built in time to take a break for lunch, and we actually have bread).

If you could recommend one purchase from an office supply store, it would be . . . 

A space heater-I am infinitely more productive when I am physically comfortable so being able to control the temperature in my home office is so helpful.

Versha, THANK YOU for your candor, artifacts and advice related to Togetherness. I really love the focus on HALT, that delicious lunch, and admire your service to the school board. 

Readers: Let us know if anything strikes you and we hope you enjoyed this peek at how Versha keeps herself Together!

Together Treasure Box

  • Kristen’s “life-changing” hub! A recent participant in Together Project Management mentioned her Personal Work Hub and I just had to write a blog profiling this amazing tool!
  • Leaning into Google? Paula, a veteran teacher with 15 years in the classroom, has built a Google Universe for herself to keep her days and weeks going smoothly.
  • Or perhaps Microsoft is more your style? And rounding out these three profiles of recent Together course participants, I also profiled Naji, Director of IT for the Broad Foundation. Naji is all-in on Microsoft!