Daily Habits that keep me productive
People often ask me how I am able to get so much done every single day. While I have documented my detailed system in my book “Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide To Time Management“, I thought it would be nice to summarize for you some of the daily habits that help me stay productive.
Habits are the key to success. Every decent Self Help book emphasizes that good habits lead to good long term results, while bad habits lead to bad long term results. I spent the past half a decade building good habits that take me closer to my goals daily, here are six of the most important ones:
1. I make a To-Do list the night before
Writing out a daily To-Do list is essential for having a productive day. It gives you an idea of exactly what you need to get done during the day and you feel a sense of accomplishment as you scratch each item off your To-Do list.
To take it one step further, I prepare my To-Do list the night before. As I round off my work for the day and scratch off the last item on my To-Do list, I take another five minutes to make my To-Do list for the next day. The benefit of this is that your subconscious mind works on the To-Do list all night, and you wake up knowing exactly what needs to get done that day. From all of my daily habits, this one is most crucial.
2. I stick to a routine
Daily Habits are all about creating routines, and no doubt about it, if I want to work full-time, home-school my kids, blog, write books, do Dawah locally, present Radio Programs, work on my own personal development, and spend time with family then a routine is necessary.
I set certain times of the day for working on specific tasks and get into the habit of working on those tasks during that time, eg: 9am-12pm for homeschooling, 3pm-5pm for writing. Doing so helps me develop a routine which helps get me into a flow that will help me accomplish both my long-term and short-term goals.
3. I schedule my day around Salah and Quran
Reciting a portion of the Qur’an daily with reflection, and praying the five daily prayers on time take precedence over anything else. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, there is always time to pray Salah and recite Qur’an if you make them a priority. The problem is that many of us try to fit Salah into our day, instead plan your day around the Salah times and you will find yourself never missing a Salah and gaining Allah’s assistance throughout the day.
This is why besides praying the five daily Salah, I schedule time every day after Dhuhr to recite Qur’an for fifteen minutes with contemplation, as the needs of the soul are greater than the needs of the body.
4. I start the day with dua
Of course, every Muslim must start their day with Fajr, unless you wake up earlier and start your day with Qiyam Al-Layl. Either way, you are starting your day at a time when dua is accepted, so take advantage of it.
This is why I begin each day with a dua to Allah asking Him to help me accomplish every task on my To-Do list and more. Because with the help of Allah, anything is possible!
5. I focus on one thing at a time
This is critical for getting things done. If we try too hard to multi-task, we end up not doing justice to whatever tasks we are working on. Focus on one thing at a time, and give it your full attention. Doing so will ensure better quality work, completed in a shorter amount of time, and you will still find time to complete the other tasks.
Right now, I am strongly resisting the urge to listen to a podcast while typing this article, because I know I will not give either proper attention if I multi-task right now.
6. I pace myself
Contrary to popular opinion, I do not sit all day and night working. I take regular breaks throughout the day to relax and recharge. I also spend the evenings having fun, and once a week I take an entire day off and don’t do any work at all. The reason is that I believe we function better and get work done faster in this way.
If someone works non-stop for four hours in a row, that person will experience fatigue and the quality of his work will lessen with each passing hour. However, if he works in bursts of 50 minutes, taking a 10 minute break every hour, he will get better quality work done in faster time.
So there you have it, these are six things I do every day to stay productive. If you enjoyed this, read the followup regarding 5 other things I do daily to stay productive!