Time Management

7 Core Time Management Skills

7 Core Time Management Skills

Everybody has 24 hours in a day, but some people are able to accomplish more in this time than others. When we look at the lives of these people, they all have a stronger awareness and control over their time i.e. they practice time management.

But what is time management anyway?

Time management is simply a strategy or system for using your time more effectively. Any system or strategy that you develop to get more done in a day is effective time management. Over the years, I have developed multiple systems and strategies that help me to manage my time effectively. I have written about these in detail in my best-selling ebook Getting The Barakah.

Today, however, I want to share with you the 7 core skills that I teach in this book.

1. Begin your day at Fajr Time

If you analyze the lives of successful people, you will notice that most of them begin their day early. As Muslims, we know that there is Barakah (Blessings) in the early part of the day, so why not grab that Barakah by starting our days early?

Try this for a week. Wake up every day at Fajr time. After Fajr, recite Quran and engage in some acts of worship. Then exercise, have breakfast and prepare for your day. Finally, get ONE high-concentration task done before everybody else wakes up.

If you keep at this, I guarantee you will find that you will be able to accomplish more in a day than you previously thought possible.

2. Set Your Daily Priorities and Goals

There are different methods and systems of time management. Some use a calendar, while others divide their day into blocks. I prefer a to-do list because it is more flexible and easy to draw up.

The key to a successful to-do list is to draw it up the night before so that you begin your day knowing exactly what you need to get done that day. The list should include daily priorities, personal development tasks, and action items that assist you in working towards your long-term goals. I discuss each of these concepts in more detail in my book.

3. Block off time for High Concentration Tasks

A major time management mistake that a lot of people make is multitasking. Multitasking only works with low concentration tasks, eg: listening to a podcast while exercising. However, trying to multitask when working on a high concentration task will only slow you down and reduce the quality of your work.

Instead of multitasking, block off time (preferably during your peak performance time) for high-concentration tasks. During this time, put aside all distractions and focus intensively on the task at hand. Give the task your undivided attention for 45 minutes to an hour, and it will get done faster with superior results.

I utilize this method daily for writing my blog posts, writing my books, and preparing my classes. It works wonderfully and is a must for anyone who does any work that requires a lot of concentration.

4. Take advantage of delegation and automation

I discuss this in detail in the book, and in even more detail in my newest book Productivity Principles of ʿUmar II. To summarize this concept, anything that can be done by someone else and doesn’t require your personal effort should be delegated to others.

There are essentially two types of tasks that you should delegate, tasks anybody can do and tasks in areas that you do not specialize in. The first could be delegated to anybody competent, the latter should be delegated to experts. Delegation frees up time to get more done every day.

We now have access to something even better than delegation; automation! There are dozens of tasks that can be automated. Take time to figure out what you are doing that can be done by a computer instead, and get those tasks automated!

To learn more about delegation and automation, make sure to read my latest book!

5. Leverage the 80/20 Principle

The 80/20 rule may sound like nonsense at first, but it has proven to be quite accurate. It simply means that a large portion of our results come from a small portion of our effort. Identifying that small portion of effort and doubling down on it helps to get more done faster. This system also helps eliminate tasks from your life that may be simple tasks without any real results.

Take some time to identify what you are doing that doesn’t work, eliminate it! Find out what brings in the best results, and double down on it! This is the best usage of the 80/20 principle in time management.

6. Keep your schedule flexible enough to cater for unexpected problems

No matter how well you manage your time, life will happen. You will need to be flexible so you can make time for all the unexpected tasks that pop up in a day. This is why I recommend scheduling six hours of set tasks in an eight-hour workday, so you have two hours to handle anything else that pops up during the day that you weren’t prepared for.

Do not make the mistake of being so unflexible in your time management that you are unable to get things done when life happens. Because life will happen, so its best to prepare and leave some time for it.

7. Learn to say No!

Finally, learn to say no! It is one of the most skills you can learn. Sometimes, we try too hard to please everybody and end up taking on too many extra projects. In doing so, we do justice to none of them and end up overworked. A simple polite no is far better than a poorly done project.

Practice saying no to tasks and projects that you can’t handle, or which you feel are a waste of time. Practice polite ways of saying no so that you do not offend anybody. Once you get good at saying no, you will find yourself with a lot more time to work on the things that really matter!

Ready to take your time management to the next level? Grab a copy of Getting The Barakah and get started today!

Getting Barakah Time Management
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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 1 comment
The Value of Time – Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

The Value of Time – Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah

Shaykh Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah wrote a beautiful treatise on the value of time. This book has been highly influential on my own productivity books like Getting The Barakah and Productivity Principles of ʿUmar II. In this short article, I want to share some key passages from this classic work on time management.

Blessings are Primary and Secondary

Blessings are divided into two different kinds: primary and secondary. Having an abundance of wealth and knowledge, a strong body, observance of the nawafil [supererogatory acts of worship] such as waking up to pray at night, and reading the Quran frequently, and following the Sunnah of the Prophet in bodily cleanliness, perfuming oneself—in the case of men— when attending a gathering and shaking hands with those you meet, entering the mosque with one’s right foot and leaving it with the left, and removing harmful objects from paths and roads, as well as the many other actions performed by the Prophet which are recommended for us to emulate— all of these are examples of secondary blessings, but they are great in the eyes of those who know their true values.

Primary blessings are also numerous and infinite in number, the first of which is the belief in Allah the most Exalted and the Messengers and Books sent by Him and implementing His commands and abiding by them. Other blessings include having a healthy body, eyes, ears and all other senses, which are the fulcrum for man’s essence and the foundation from which he may go forth and benefit from his existence.

The blessing of knowledge is also a primary blessing that is essential for the advancement of humanity and its happiness in this life and the next, for knowledge is a lofty blessing whichever form it takes; seeking it is a blessing, benefiting from it and benefiting others by it is a blessing; preserving it and transmitting it to the following generations are a blessing, as is spreading it to people. There are many other examples of primary blessings, which I will not mention here out of respect for the value of time.

One of the primary blessings or the loftiest and most precious of all primary blessings is that of time, for the discussion of which these pages have been assembled, particularly its value for students and people of knowledge. Time is the substance of life, the sphere in which man exists, the citadel of his spirit, and his subsistence— him benefiting himself and others. (Value of Time, pp. 11-12)

Allah Reprimands Disbelievers for Wasting their Lives

Allah the Most Exalted addressed the non-believers reprimanding them for wasting their lives, spending them in a state of disbelief, and not leaving their state of disbelief to a state of belief despite the blessings of long lives that Allah bestowed upon them, as He, the Most Glorified, said: Did We not grant you a life long enough for him who reflected to reflect therein? And the warner came to you? Now taste [the flavor of your deeds], for evil-doers, have no helpers.

Hence, He, the Most Glorified, has made the blessing of a long life a reason for one to reflect and ponder, and has made one’s life as proof against him, as He has made messengers and warners proofs and witnesses over him as well. Ibn Kathir said in his tafsir [exegesis] of this noble verse: “It means: Did you not live in this life and have such long life spans that had you been of those who benefit from signs and who follow the truth you would have done so in your lives?” Qatada said: “ Know that the length of one’s life is a proof against him, so we seek refuge in Allah from being mocked and blamed due to our long lives.”

Al-Bukhari narrated in his Sahih on the authority of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet (s) said, “Allah will not accept the excuse of any person whose instant of death Allah had delayed till he is sixty years of age.” Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad on the authority of Abu Hurayra that the Prophet said: “ Whomsoever Allah grants a life span of sixty years, then He will not accept any excuses from him relating to the shortness of his life.”

Meaning that Allah has removed any excuses he might cite and he will have no possible excuses, for Allah had granted him such a long lifetime. (Value of time, p. 13)

The Total of Ibn Jarir’s Writings is 358,000 Pages

Ibn Jarir was born in 224 AH and died in 310 AH, and if we subtract the period before maturity estimated to be fourteen years, it would leave Ibn Jarir seventy-two years in which he wrote fourteen pages every day. And if we count the days in those seventy-two years and multiplied them by the fourteen pages written daily, the total written by Imam Ibn Jarir would be around 358 thousand pages.

His [books on] history and tafsir [Qur’an exegesis] were each around three thousand pages long, making them together a total of around seven thousand. His “ History” was printed in eleven large volumes and his tafsir in thirty large volumes. If you consider the rest of his writings, 351 thousand pages, you would realize the extent of the writings of this imam, who was like an encyclopedia in his knowledge, like a publishing house in his writing, while he was but an individual, writing with his own pen on paper, and spreading his knowledge and thought to the people as purified sweet honey, and that would not have been possible were it not for the fact that he used his time beneficially and knew how to manage it and use it effectively

The judge Abu Bakr ibn Kamil-Ahmad ibn Kamil al-Shajari, the student and companion of Ibn Jarir, said, describing how he, may Allah have mercy on him, ordered his times and activities: After eating, he used to sleep in a short-sleeved shirt, rubbed with sandalwood and rosewater. Then he would get up to pray Zuhr at home and would write until ‘Asr time, and would go out to pray Asr, then would sit teaching the people and correcting them until Maghrib. Then he would sit to teach Fiqh until the last Isha prayer, then he would go home. He used to divide his day and night between his personal interests, his religion, and people, as guided by Allah, High and Glorified be He. (Value of time, pp. 21-22)

To learn more about Time Management from an Islamic Perspective, grab our self-help bundle today!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 0 comments
4 Causes of Barakah in Work

4 Causes of Barakah in Work

Barakah; abundance, blessings, the unexplainable increase in something, usually considered a type of Karāmat (miracle) gifted by Allah to pious Muslims.

Barakah is something that all Muslims seek. The unexplainable and blessed increase in time, wealth, progeny, and impact is one of the greatest blessings that Allah can grant to His servants.

But how do we gain these beautiful blessings, and is there a way to constantly experience Barakah in our work/careers/wealth?

There are many narrations that indicate the sources of Barakah in work. Here are four of the most important ones.

1. Work for the sake of Allah

Any mundane act can be transformed into an act of worship by purifying our intention. This includes our daily work. When Halal work is done for the sake of pleasing and obeying Allah, it becomes a source of reward and Barakah. This is regardless of whether the work is in itself Islamic or not. A woodcutter, a plumber, an accountant, and a doctor all equally qualify for Barakah when working for the sake of pleasing Allah and earning a Halal livelihood.

Anas ibn Mālik reported:
A man from the Ansar came to the Prophet, peace, and blessings be upon him, and begged from him. The Prophet said, “Have you nothing in your house?”
The man said, “Yes, a piece of cloth, a part of which we wear and a part of which we spread on the ground, and a wooden bowl from which we drink water.”
The Prophet said, “Bring them to me.” The man brought these articles to him and the Prophet took them in his hands and he said, “Who will buy these?” Someone said, “I will buy them for one coin.”
The Prophet said twice or thrice, “Who will offer more than one coin?” Someone said, “I will buy them for two coins.” He sold them for two coins and the Prophet said, “Buy food with one of them and give it to your family. Buy an ax and bring it to me.”
The man brought it to him. The Prophet fixed a handle on it with his own hands and he said, “Go gather firewood and sell it, and do not let me see you for a fortnight.” The man went away and gathered firewood and sold it. When he had earned ten coins, he came and bought a garment and food.
The Prophet said, “This is better for you than for begging to come as a blemish on your face on the Day of Resurrection. Begging is only appropriate for three people: one in grinding poverty, one in serious debt, and one who must pay a difficult compensation.”
(Sunan Abī Dāwūd 1641)

2. Give a portion of your earnings in charity

Charity increases wealth and causes Barakah. Of course, this is only when it is done for the sake of Allah. If you wish to experience Barakah in your daily life, then try to do an act of charity every day. It does not have to monetary, any action you do that helps another creature is an act of charity.

Abū Buraydah reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Inside the human being are three hundred and sixty joints, upon each of them charity is due.”
They said, “Who can do that, O Prophet of Allah?”
The Prophet said, “It is spittle in the mosque you clean, or something in the road you move to the side. If you cannot find anything, it is enough to perform two cycles of forenoon prayer.”
(Sunan Abī Dāwūd 5242)

Asmāʾ reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Spend in charity and do not count it, lest Allah counts it against you. Do not hoard it, lest Allah withholds from you.”
(Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 2451, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1029)

3. Work hard, but remain content and grateful

Muslims should work hard, while acknowledges that their sustenance is already decreed by Allah. Whether we work hard or not, Allah will send us what is written for us. The difference is that when we work hard for the sake of Allah, and accompany this with contentment in our destiny, and gratitude for our sustenance, then we experience Barakah in our earnings. Hard work followed by gratitude and contentment on a daily basis leads to Barakah.

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you.”
(Quran 14:7)

The Prophet, peace, and blessings upon him, said, “The best wealth is a tongue that remembers Allah, a grateful heart, and a believing wife to help him in his faith.”
(Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3094)

Abū Dhar reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “O Abū Dhar, do you say an abundance of possessions is wealth?” I said yes.
The Prophet said, “Do you say a lack of possessions is poverty?” I said yes.
The Prophet repeated this three times, then he said, “Wealth is in the heart and poverty is in the heart. Whoever is wealthy in his heart will not be harmed no matter what happens in the world. Whoever is impoverished in his heart will not be satisfied no matter how much he has in the world. Verily, he will only be harmed by the greed of his own soul.”
(al-Mu’jam al-Kabīr 1618)

4. Do work that benefits the ummah

In general, almost every Halal source of income is beneficial to others. This is the nature of Halal business because for a transaction to be Halal, it needs to be mutually beneficial. Every Halal transaction is an exchange of money for a beneficial product or service. However, some careers are more beneficial than others. Seek out sources of income that have the most impact on the ummah (community). The more beneficial your career is to others, the more Barakah you will experience in your life.

Ibn ʿUmar reported:
The Prophet, peace, and blessings upon him, said, “The most beloved people to Allah are those who are most beneficial to people. The most beloved deed to Allah is to make a Muslim happy, or to remove one of his troubles, or to forgive his debt, or to feed his hunger. ”
(al-Muʿjam al-Awsaṭ 6192)

Summary

If we work for the sake of Allah, our work becomes an act of worship and a source of Barakah for us. This is even more so if the work in beneficial to the ummah. We can increase this Barakah by practicing gratitude, contentment, and charity. These good deeds can turn any Halal source of income into a source of Barakah.

To learn more about Barakah, read my book Getting The Barakah, available here.

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, Time Management, 3 comments
7 Self Help Lessons from Sūrat al-ʿAṣr

7 Self Help Lessons from Sūrat al-ʿAṣr

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَالْعَصْرِ
إِنَّ الْإِنْسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Gracious
By Time.
Indeed mankind is in a state of loss.
Except for those who believe, work righteous deeds, assist each other towards the truth and assist each other in being steadfast. (Qurʾān 103:1-3)

This is a brief reflection on Sūrat al-ʿAṣr from a Self Help perspective. It is not a Tafsīr or an interpretation of the Sūrah. Just a reflection on some lessons I thought about while reflecting on this Sūrah. Here are seven self-help lessons that came to mind when pondering over Sūrat al-ʿAṣr.

1. Time is the most important resource

My first self-help book was focused on time management. This is because time is our most valuable resource. Allāh takes an oath on time, to show its importance in attaining our goals. Every moment lost is a moment we will never get back. You cannot go back in time and make up for your teenage years or your early twenties. They are gone, and all that is left to use the time remains wisely. Time Management is essential for success. Wasting time is extremely foolish.

2. Losing is the default setting

In this life and the next, people lose is they don’t take action. If you don’t work, you fail at earning your sustenance. If you don’t study, you fail your exams. And if you don’t live a righteous life, you can fail the test of life itself. Failure is easy. All that is required is doing nothing, and wasting time. Success (whether worldly or afterworldly) requires effort and hard work. This is why so few people are successful, because we aren’t willing to put in the effort to get things done.

3. Belief before action

In Islam, our beliefs are more important than our actions. Some wrong beliefs are so major that they nullify the rewards of any actions that we do. This is why the Qurʾān always mentions believing before doing righteous deeds. Correct belief is the condition for the acceptance of any deed.

The same applies to worldly goals. If you believe you are going to fail, you will. You need to believe that you can achieve a goal first, then only will you have the motivation and drive to actually work to success. So whether it comes to religion or worldly goals, believing is essential to success.

4. But action is also required

However, belief itself is not enough to achieve our goals. In order to attain Paradise, the believer must have the correct beliefs and work righteous deeds. Similarly, in order to achieve our worldly goals, believing is not enough, we need to take action and work hard. There is no replacement for hard work when pursuing a worthy goal.

5. We can accomplish more together

Twice in this Sūrah, the Arabic word for ‘assist each other‘ is mentioned as a condition for success. This is because everything worth achieving requires teamwork. It is very difficult to achieve any important goal on your own. Interdependence is necessary. To get to Paradise, we must assist each other in recognizing the truth and being patient upon it. Similarly, to achieve a worldly goal we must work together by utilizing each person’s strengths and talents.

6. Truth should never be ignored

People often fail because they choose to ignore or hide the truth. We see this in how people react to religious truths. When someone recognizes the truth but is not willing to submit to it, they may hide it, ignore it, or twist it. But, in the end, they only hurt themselves because the truth remains the truth and rejecting it can only lead to pain.

Likewise, in business and work, there are many people who choose to ignore facts that conflict with their egos. Perhaps someone else is more suited to a job. Maybe another person’s idea is better. Whatever the cause, ignoring the truth in these issues guarantees the failure of the project. Embracing the truth is essential for success.

7. Patience is everything

The Arabic word used in this verse is ṣabr which can be translated as patience, resiliency, restraint, perseverance, or persistence. All of these means are relevant here. A believer cannot get to Paradise without being patience through trials, resilient in the face of adversity, resistant to temptation, and persistent in doing good deeds. It is from the miraculous nature of the Qurʾān that one word contains so many messages.

Success at any worldly goal requires all of these qualities as well. On the path to achieving your goals, you will need to be patient with obstacles, resilient in the face of adversity, resistant to short-cuts and illegal routes, and persistent in working towards that goal. Success, in both this world and the next, is dependent on ṣabr.

To learn more Tafsīr of the Qurʾān, check out my eBook ‘Themes of The Quran’ available here.

Themes of the Quran
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 0 comments

Black Friday Sale – 90% Off Everything

Black Friday Sale

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Purchase any of our eBooks at PayHip with a 90% discount by using the coupon: BlackFriday

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