Introducing the Islamic Self Help Learning Academy


Alhamdulillah, I am happy to announce the launch of the Islamic Self Help Learning Academy’s first course ‘5 Basics of Time Management‘. Learning Academy

The learning academy has been established as an expansion of Islamic Self Help.com as a platform to provide visual learning on Self Help topics.

Initially, Islamic Self Help was going to focus entirely on eBooks and articles, but many readers indicated that they prefer to learn through videos. Based on the high number of visual learners to follow our blogs, I decided to expand by launching the learning academy.

The courses on this website will be recorded in video format and in keeping with the latest research will feature video lectures under 6 minutes each. Research indicates that people are best able to focus on and remember what they learn from video lectures if they are under 6 minutes.

It also shows that longer videos are harder to maintain concentration on, and one doesn’t remember everything that is said. In keeping with this research, all video lectures at the learning academy will be under 6 minutes, but each video is packed with enough information to change your life!

The learning academy will focus on two types of courses: Personal Development and Life Skills. 5 Basics of Time Management is our first personal development course, and ‘8 Fundamentals of Public Speaking‘ is our first life skills course. 8 Fund Public Speaking Thumbnail

The videos are recorded by me and will be accompanied by notes, quizzes, and a lot of bonus material. These courses will serve as a great platform for visual learners to gain knowledge of important life skills and grow into professional, practicing Muslims.

I have very high goals for the learning academy, and plan to launch at least 5 courses a year in the fields mentioned. You can sign up for our first course here. Every lecture has a comment section which I will check daily, and I will be constantly updating the courses with new content whenever needed.

I look forward to seeing you all in the courses!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, Webinars, 0 comments

Daily Discipline Tips

Daily Discipline Tips:

Discipline Tips

Tips extracted from this eBook.

Here are some tips that assist me in maintaining the discipline to stick to a schedule.

1. Keep reminders for every important thing.

Whether you have a notebook, Tablet, Smartphone, Diary or Desktop Planner, utilize it to store reminders for everything that is important. Make it a habit to write down anything that is important in a place where you can remember it.

Whether it is a reminder to call your mechanic and make an appointment to tune up your car, or a reminder that you have a class to teach at a certain time, or a reminder to pay the bills on a certain date. Whatever it is, set a written reminder and you will be less likely to forget or overlook it.

2. Don’t mix creative and admin work.

A lot of modern day work involves thinking, creativity and planning. Many people make the mistake of trying to do this while doing admin work at the same time. This goes back to our point on multitasking, it is not productive to try and do both at the same time. Creativity requires the brain to function in one manner, while admin work requires it to function quite differently, trying to do both at the same time is not productive and can even cause a headache.

Schedule your creative tasks for separate times from your admin work. This way your mind can function in one manner and focus on the task at hand. If you are more creative in the mornings, then make that your creative time and leave your admin work for the afternoon. Likewise, if you are more creative in the afternoon or evening, schedule your time accordingly.

The point is to allow your mind to focus on the task at hand and in that manner, you will get more done faster.

3. Subconscious Level Thinking

The human mind operates on two levels. There is the conscious thinking which is what you are focusing on at the moment. However, while you are focusing on something, there are many things going on in the back of your mind that you are not aware of, this is known as the subconscious or unconscious part of the brain.

Recent studies have shown that many of our best ideas are stimulated in the subconscious level of the mind, as it never rests, even when we are sleeping. This is where the idea of “sleeping on it” comes from. Very often when someone has a really complex problem to solve, they choose to sleep on it or do something fun. While doing so, the subconscious level of the mind continues working on the problem in a more relaxed manner and the solution is soon formed.

The next time you have a complex problem to solve or are searching for a great creative idea, instead of wasting time stressing over it, sleep on it and you might find the solution you were looking for.

Perhaps this is why some of our best ideas come to us while we are praying Salah, as we are relaxed and focused on Allah so our minds are also relaxed and our subconscious can dig deeper and discover new ideas. (That’s how the idea for this book came to me)

4. Rewarding yourself

In this world, not many people are going to stand in your corner, support your every idea and compliment your efforts. You often need to be your own cheerleader as you need motivation and encouragement to push on through difficult times.

One way to keep yourself motivated is to reward yourself for each small and large victory. This will give you a boost to continue working harder and succeeding. Small victories can be rewarded with small things, for examples you can reward yourself with a ten minute break and a cup of coffee for getting that report done in record time.

Bigger victories can be rewarded with a bigger reward. For example, a successful huge sale or completion of an important course can be rewarded with a night out for the family to your favourite Halal restaurant.

The point is to take care of yourself, and this will keep you motivated to keep rising to higher levels with each little victory.

5. Set a time limit for each task

Most of us can’t keep working at one task all day. We need breaks and limits. Furthermore, setting a time limit forces you to work faster and get things done in record time. If a task usually takes you two hours to do, set a time limit to do it in one hour, you will surprised by the fact that it will probably take you 45 minutes to do it with such a time limit. The general rule is to set a time limit to do a task in half the time it usually takes you to do it.

This is because when we have tight deadlines, our mind goes into overdrive in finding ways to get things done faster. Setting time limits and deadlines for all your tasks is a great way to discipline yourself to work faster and better.

6. Set a dollar value for your time

Time is money. This is a fact. Every moment wasted with mundane activities is a moment wasted that you can never get back. Many people overcome this by working out how much each minute of their day is worth in terms of dollars.

If you earn $2000 a month, each work day is worth $80 so each hour is worth $8. If you waste an hour, you have wasted $8. Of course, if you maximize that time, you can actually increase the value of your time, because productive people tend to earn more than unproductive people. And the more your time is worth, the less likely you are to waste it because you know what it is worth.

7. Avoid Perfectionism

I always wanted to be an author. I knew that it was what I was best at, but for many years I held back because I was not happy that my writings are not perfect. It was only when I let go of my desire for perfection that I was finally able to let my ideas flow and the writing happened.

Too often, we focus on perfection and end up wasting time trying to improve already high quality work to unrealistic standards. This does not mean we should do shoddy work. No, our focus should be on high quality results, not perfect results. Nothing in this world is perfect so striving for perfection is a self-defeating goal and will always leave you frustrated and miserable.

Focus on doing your best, you can always improve and learn from mistakes, but getting things done is far more important than worrying about the impossible.

8. Identify your peak times

Every person has a time of the day when he or she is at their best. Identify your peak time (for most people, it is early morning or late at night) and schedule your most important projects for that time. This will help you give maximum attention to that task and produce the highest quality product.

9. Focus on your most important task

Ask yourself each day what is the most important thing I need to get done today, then get that done early and give it most of your attention. Do this and you will find time for everything else as well, and you will feel better for having completed the most important tasks early.

Tips extracted from Getting The Barakah: 2nd Edition

Grab It

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, Time Management, 0 comments

Public Speaking – 5 Terrible Pieces of Advice

Public Speaking: Bad Advice

Public speaking is an art, and as with any art, it requires practice and training. Even if you are naturally good at public speaking, you still need training and advice in order to reach your full potential.

I remember when I delivered my first Islamic lecture at the age of 16. I was shaking and nervous and reading from a page. Yet people praised it and told me I was a naturally good speaker. That was a huge relief for me back then, but looking back my speech wasn’t good at all. It was just good for a 16 year old without any experience. 🙂

Over the years, I have studied public speaking, taken advice from family and students, and tried to improve with each passing year. Some of the advice I received was really important (speak slower, lose the accent), but there is also a lot of bad advice out there which just doesn’t make any sense.

This article is about the latter. If someone gives you any of the following advice regarding public speaking, DO NOT listen to them. You will only make a fool of yourself. Here are five terrible pieces of public speaking advice:

1. Just Wing It

‘Just wing it’ means to do something without preparation. When I was in my early twenties, a friend told me, “You are such a naturally good speaker, you don’t need to prepare. Just go out there and speak from the heart!” It sounds really nice and sincere and inspirational. Who doesn’t like a speech from the heart, right?

Well it doesn’t matter if it is from the heart, if it is unprepared and lacking any point. Have you ever noticed a passionate Khutbahs full of sincere advice which the Imam screams at you, yet at the end you couldn’t remember what it was about?

The Imam may have started with a reminder about bidah, which transformed into a lecture about Hijab, and ended with a story about his trip to Makkah and how much he hates the new shopping malls. (Even though he loves shopping there)

This is the result of just winging it. The Imam may sincerely be passionate about all these topics, but because it lacks preparation, it also lacks any flow or central point. The result is a rambling of topics about which the audience remembers none. Never wing it, always prepare before hand and make sure you have a core point to focus on.

 2. Make it funnier

This advice is subjective. If a lecture is really dry and boring, one well timed joke may be all that is needed to grab people’s attention. But then there is too much humor in a lecture.

You know that moment when you are not sure whether you are listening to an inspirational lecture about the Afterlife or watching a stand up comedy about the life of a Shaykh? Yeah, that’s when you know you strayed too far into funny territory and lost the point. Public Speaking meme 1

The problem isn’t just too much humor, but also the type of humor. The problem here is that humor is subjective and very often the speaker has poor taste in humor which is often exposed during these funny speeches. When a speaker is told that he needs to make the lecture funnier, and the only jokes he knows are either sexist or racist, you know things are about to end very badly. (followed by social media outrage and trending hashtags)

Do yourself a favor, and keep the humor natural. If you are naturally funny, the humor flows into the lecture without taking away from your key point. If the humor doesn’t feel forced or offensive, then it will work. If not, just stay away from the jokes, rather than risk alienating or offending a segment of your audience.

3. Just Imitate a famous speaker

So you may be familiar with this scenario: There is a famous speaker who is really powerful and inspirational. Along comes his student, dressing like his teacher, using the same mannerisms and hand movements, and delivering the exact same speech, and suddenly you are feeling very sleepy.

What happened???Public Speaking Meme 1

What happened is that the original lecturer was being himself, so the lecture was organic, sincere, and powerful. His discipline/fanboy/clone, on the other hand, wanted to be just like his hero and as a result was not himself, and came across as robotic and fake.

If someone advises you to copy a famous speaker, don’t do it. The key is not to speak just like so-and-so, but rather to be yourself, be sincere, and speak about something you are passionate about. Being a copycat is selling yourself short, just avoid it please.

4. You need to dramatize everything

There are two extremes here.

Exhibit A: An Imam slouching, reading from a paper, monotone voice, never moving his hands at all. He really needs to do something different and be more passionate for sure.

Exhibit B: True story, when I was a kid, I attended a Khutbah which I will never forget. I have no clue what the Imam was speaking about, all I know is that he took this dramatizing thing too far. The Imam was talking about a story about a man who was lost in the desert and found some water to drink.

When talking about the man being lost, the Imam began to imitate a crawl. When speaking about him drinking water, the Imam stood on top of the mimbar and pretended to drink water as dramatically as possible (complete with making slurping sounds). Then to cap it off, the Imam screamed “And then the Saint was full,” and while saying that, he stuck out is huge stomach and started patting it loudly.

As a kid, that lecture stuck in my mind for all the wrong reasons. So folks, before you go ahead and make a fool of yourself, understand that this is public speaking, NOT public acting. Avoid embarrassment and keep it professional…please!

5. Imagine your audience naked

Whoever came up with this advice needs a slap! Is there any sillier advice that has ever been given to public speakers? The common scenario is that someone is shy or afraid to speak in public, so some wise guy advises them to imagine the audience without clothes and that should calm them down.

Not only does this advice not work, (no, I didn’t try it myself) but for a Muslim, it is very very wrong! If the audience is the opposite gender, following this advice is very very Haraam! Even if they are the same gender, following this advice is beyond weird and creepy. If I’m ever in the audience for anybody’s public speech, I do not want that person, under any circumstances, picturing me without my clothes, no matter how nervous the speaker is!

Besides…the way some people dress these days, you actually need to lower your gaze and imagine your audience dressed appropriately!

That’s it for the bad advice on public speaking. Join our Public Speaking Course to learn the 8 steps of effective Public Speaking, exclusive to Islamic Self Help.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Public Speaking, 14 comments
Important note about my e-books

Important note about my e-books

Important note about my e-books:

In 2015, I published two books through a publisher, and they were both available via all major e-books outlets (Kindle, Nook, iTunes) and in paperback via Amazon.
 
In December, due to disputes with the publisher over finances, I cancelled my contracts with them. i.e. they have yet to pay me any of my royalties for the books. This has been a huge financial blow for me.
 
Due to this, my e-books are now available exclusively via my websites and my PayHip account (https://payhip.com/ismailkamdar) as PDFs. This includes Getting The Barakah, Best Of Creation, Homeschooling 101, and Themes of the Qur’an.
 
I do not plan to publish them via an international publisher any time soon. So if you wish to purchase any of my e-books, please purchase them directly from my websites or the above link.
 
Also make dua that I get what is rightfully owed to me by my ex-publisher. Jazakallah Khair
Note: This doesn’t apply to region specific publishers like my publisher in Bangladesh who are reputable and will continue to publish my e-books there.
Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Business, 0 comments

3 Productivity Tips you can implement right now

Productivity Tips

Sometimes all you need is one small adjustment to your daily life. Such a change could suddenly free up lots of time you didn’t know you had. These three productivity tips will help you make such immediate changes:

#1 Minimize Social Media Time

Social media can be the biggest time waster for many of us. I’m not telling you get off it. After all, you probably found this blog through social media. Just to cut it down a bit. Instead of being online all day, try switching off during high concentration tasks.

Whats a high concentration task?

Its any task that requires your full attention. Multi-tasking between completing such a task and using social media can double the amount of time it takes to complete it.

For example, if you are reading an article while checking social media, it might take 15 minutes to read the article.

If you close your social media for five minutes, you could complete reading the entire article in five minutes and understand it better.

Try it. Next time you need to concentrate, just switch off from social media for a few minutes. It works like magic.

#2 Cut out the chit chat

Whether it is a co-worker, an old friend, or your spouse calling from home. Learn to minimize conversations without being rude. Simply inform people of how much time you have to spare.

They will understand and keep the conversation within that time limit. If needed, remind them politely that you have work to do. Do this often and people will begin to understand.

By limiting conversations, you will discover hours of extra time during the day to get things done.

#3 Make a To-Do List

To-Do Lists do not require any formal training. Just write out a list of everything you need to do today, and do it all one by one. Its as simple as that.

To-Do Lists are the core of time management. Without one, it is very difficult to keep track of whether you are being productive or just busy doing nothing. Make a To-Do list right now and see for yourself.

You can learn a lot more about Time Management by reading my e-book
Getting The Barakah

Buy Now

Available exclusively through Islamic Self Help

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, Time Management, 0 comments