Based on a lecture by Sheikh Muhammad al Shareef

“I don’t have time!” We have probably used this statement at least once in our life. For some, this statement is an excuse; you can find them wasting hours and hours playing Farmville, but when it comes to reading a beneficial article or volunteering for a noble cause, they seem reluctant.

For some, this statement is genuine; they want to do good deeds, but they cannot manage their time. Although time management is an important subject, it is a pity that most of the educational institutions do not offer a course on this.

The importance of time in Islam cannot be underestimated as Suratul Asr acknowledge this

“.” [Qur’an 103:1-3]

However, here are ways you can manage your time as suggested by Productive Muslim

• Offer the Fajr prayer: According to statistics, the average person spends 27 years of his life sleeping! You can save a lot of time by staying awake after the morning [fajr] prayer. Instead of going back to sleep, indulge in productive habits. You will notice that your productivity increases and the day will seem longer. To wake up at Fajr and maintain this habit of staying awake, it is wise to go to bed every night by 9-10 p.m, or taking a nap around Zhuhr time.

• Remove/Limit distractions: According to statistics, the average person spends 10 years of his life watching TV and 6 years on the Internet! If you use TV and Internet only in specific places and situations, you will be saving time that would have otherwise gone wasted.

Make du’aa: Raise your hands to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and ask Him to bless your time and efforts. Ask Him to bestow you with skills of time management.

• Renew your intention everyday: Ask yourself everyday how you want your life to be. Is it fame, wealth, or the sole pleasure of Allah that is driving you towards the project you want to undertake?

• Never multi-task: If you do several tasks at a time, you will lose focus. Therefore, while you are handling a task, and if someone approaches you, instead of giving half-hearted attention to that person, tell him/her that you will catch up with him/her as soon as you finish the task. It is also best to ask the person about the nature of the matter they need you for; do not ignore this person because it is not good character to do so and this person may have an urgent or small request.

• Prioritize: If you have many tasks to perform, remember to do those first which are most important. That way, you will be able to meet most of your deadlines.

• Take mini-breaks: Your productivity increases if you take a short break of about 10-15 minutes after you have worked for about an hour. However, do not fool yourself by taking breaks too frequently, or by taking an hour-long break for every 5 minutes that you work!

Have an ambition: Make sure you have a long-term goal. Dream of leaving a legacy. Be honest and decide a goal that excites you. This is very important because all your other actions will be based on this. Once you have decided your ambition, plan short-term goals for achieving that. Remember that excellence and legacies don’t come about by accident, they are the product of deliberate reflection and planning.

• Choose a job you really enjoy: According to statistics, the average person spends 10.5 years at work! It will be highly unproductive if you utilize this time in work that you do not like. You will lose focus, enthusiasm and motivation. If you choose a job you enjoy, you will not be in need of frequent breaks or leisure time. Reflect on your interests and talents, and what will bring benefit; if you upgrade your intentions, the profession you choose can also become a source of good deeds insha Allah.

• Encourage others: We often get overwhelmed with the mails that we receive. While some may lead us to productivity, others are trivial or even random; however, we cannot afford to ignore any of these mails because we need to be genuinely concerned about our brothers and sisters. Therefore, instead of sending an ordinary reply to the random mails, why not encourage them to be productive as well? You can begin by inviting that person to benefit from this site. That way, he/she will also be busy to make the most of his/her time, and will not have time for sending trivial mails. Remember, the one who calls to a good deed receives the same reward as the one who does it.

• Never ignore the problem: Whatever barriers you face on your road to productivity, do not ignore them. If you ignore them, you will never be able to solve them! Therefore, do not fool yourself into thinking that you are being productive when you are not (for example, by browsing Facebook for hours). If you are facing time constraints, admit it and assess this issue.

• Solving a problem: First and foremost, make sincere du’aa to Allah. Saying from personal experience, duaa can help you achieve things which you could have never imagined. In addition, take the help of experts. Study materials accordingly.

De-clutter your mind: A diary or something of that nature is effective in organizing your tasks and writing down any thought that comes to mind aswe often lose focus when numerous ideas pop up in our mind, and are further distracted by tasks that need to get done. This way, you won’t be forgetting things and your mind will be free to focus on the Hereafter, for your ambition.

• Improve everyday: There are steps that we can take and changes we can make every day to increase our deeds, improve our salah or relationships or character. Therefore, strive to improve every day.

• Leisure time: Do not deprive yourself of rest and leisure. This will boost up your productivity. Your leisure time shouldn’t just be checking mails. Instead, indulge yourself in adventurous/creative activities, develop some productive hobbies, or simply relax with Qur’an and/or dhikr.

I would like to conclude this article with the following hadeeth:

“Humankind will remain standing on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it up, his property and how he acquired and managed it and his knowledge and how he utilized it.” [Sunan at-Tirmidhi]