Guest Post

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 4

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 4

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Time Management for Busy Moms Part 4 – Guest Post by Sr. Bela Khan

Lack of time is a disempowering belief

What’s one common thing between the most successful person on earth and the most unsuccessful one? 24 hours. Its not about having the time, its making the time.

I don’t have time has become a common statement these days. You will hear every Tom, Dick and Harry fretting over lack of time. If u keep on repeating this to yourself, it will become an integral part of the belief system and beliefs usually materialize. The inarguable truth is that 24 hours a day is just perfect as they are given to us by Allah, not too much not too little. If you focus too much on lack of time, you will experience lack of time because you tend to have more of what you focus on.

So, focus on the time that you “have” when your baby is sleeping and you have solid one hour to study or write an article or teach – rather than focusing  on those 16 hours when your kids are awake and around. Intentionally focusing on the time you have at your disposal and showing gratitude to Allah for that is one of the best tips to get more barakah in time. Focus on lack and you will have more of it. Focus on abundance and you’ll have more of it.

It’s not important that how much time your children spare for you, what’s important is what you do with that time. ACTION is one thing that separates winners from losers. Each one of us knows time management tips, isn’t it? Each one of us can come up with an amazing write up on time management, isn’t it?

But remember, those who pick up one tip and apply in their lives, those who take one unusual action every day, will be far better than those who actually do nothing but read the articles. You can make changes. It’s not the lack of information keeping us away from making changes or achieving success, its lack of implementation. We know what we want, we know how get it, but we lack execution. Productivity blows down to taking action. You have to have the clarity to accomplish, u have to believe it that you have resource to be successful. Belief is a very powerful tool.

We can’t afford to procrastinate

Those who have nothing else to do might procrastinate but busy moms have no room for procrastination. Whatever little time they get for themselves is a blessing in disguise; therefore procrastination is not a choice.

If you do procrastinate, then following quick tips might help a great deal.

1 – Ask yourself, what’s holding me back? I want to write a book, start my business or anything else, but then I don’t. Why? Is it the fear of failure? In this case you need to address the fear, not procrastination.

2-Busy mom need immense amount of discipline. And it sounds hard and boring. But trust me, when you set your goals based on your passion and purpose it will not feel like a lot of work, it will feel great. Passion pulls you, you don’t have to push it. You wouldn’t want to procrastinate when you LOVE what you do.

  • Live everyday with that awareness that life is short. You have to do it now or you might not do it ever.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said

Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; and your health, before you fall sick; and your richness, before you become poor; and your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.”

Prophetic ways to bring barakah in time

Before I wind up, I would like you to have a quick look at some of the prophetic ways you can practice to bring barakah in life.

  • Trying to start every official task by connecting yourself to Allah and making a small dua after making your to-do list every day.
  • Saying bismillah
  • Eat together (imagine how time consuming can serving everyone individually be)
  • Recitation of Quran (read Quran everyday to find out what’s the message of Allah you can pick out for yourself everyday)
  • Following sunnah to the best of your ability

 

A Quick evaluation at night time

For most of us, daily review is more of a guilt-trip. For me, it’s not. I am well aware of the fact that being a mother, a coach, a teacher and (cook, cleaner, laundry guy) etc. it is nearly impossible for me to accomplish everything perfectly every day. Night rituals are as important for me as the morning ones.

I try ending my day with making my duas, following as much Sunnah as I can, writing my gratitude journal and reading/listening to one motivational thing before I sleep. And trust me, the night time for me is not the ideal condition where I sit down and recite Surah Mulk with perfect concentration.

Sometimes, I am reciting the Surah while lulling my daughter to sleep other times I am making the duas while making the bed.  As for the review, for me the daily review is showing gratitude to Allah for all that accomplished and strengthen my resolve to accomplish what I could not.

What last thing you put in your mind in the night, your subconscious will dwell on it throughout the night and that will determine your day tomorrow. Relax and feed positive stuff in your mind to make yourself more productive.

A practice when things go your way, gratitude.

When you are utilizing your time most effectively, you are soaring and overcoming all the fears, you will see results in your life. The more gratitude you show to Allah for those results, the better result you will get in future and He will immerse more barakah in your time.

A practice when things don’t go your way, self compassion.

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fail. Be it a time management guru, a spiritual healer, a multi-millionaire CEO, no one is immune from failure. As busy mothers, we must learn to embrace the failure and have some compassion for ourselves.

Sometimes you have the best intention to implement whatever you know of, you wake up at 4 am, pray, do all adhkaar and are ready to start the day with some ME time and your child wakes up. What do you do then?

Sometimes you are considered to be an expert on time management. People look up to you with respect that you are perfectly managing all your responsibility but then you fall ill and fail to implement what you teach to others. What do you do then?

Sometimes you might have to give up on your passion to focus more on the tarbiyah of your children. You still have all those awesome ideas to change the lives of the people but you can’t put those ideas into action? What do you do then?

Most of the time management experts pretend as if life is perfect for them and they don’t waste a second of their lives. This makes us feel guiltier of what we are doing with our lives. Truth is, we all fail.  Time management experts also fail. What do we do then? Relax. You are not expected to win all the time. You might have started the day with those three items on the paper and at the end of the day you just couldn’t do any of those tasks. What do you do then? Nothing. Crumple the paper and throw it away.

The next day is a new day, a new beginning, a new chance.  Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we fail. What do we do then? Relax. Embrace the failure and continue the struggle. As long as you are living, Allah is giving you another chance. Tomorrow is a new beginning, a new dawn. Don’t quit. Most of the people quit because quitting is easier. Remember, you plan and Allah plans, and Allah is the best planner.

Bela Khan is a certified life coach and speaker. She is also the author of her book “Know Thy Values, Know Thyself.” Her forthcoming books are “How riches come to you” and, “9-Success secrets that Non-Muslims know and you must know too”. You can find more of her work at belakhan.com

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management, 4 comments

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 3

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

Time Management for busy moms Part 3 – Guest Post by Sr. Bela Khan

Don’t reveal it unless it’s done.

I don’t have any tangible argument to support this, but this is always so true for me. If I am doing a project and I reveal it to others, I feel that barakah goes away from that but if I am doing something and it’s just between me and Allah, there is so much barakah in it and I tend to get it done faster than if I had revealed it to the public. So I recommend, if you are on a project, don’t reveal it unless you get it done.

De-clutter and letting go

An overly decorated house is a sign of wasted life. All the delicate crystal pieces that we beautify our houses with, take so much time and energy to clean and dust. All the stuff in your wardrobe that you hope to wear one day when you lose weight, all the crockery that is lying untouched in your kitchen cabinet, all the books that you wish to read one day, all the toys that your children don’t play with anymore, all these things combined are actually suck positive energy out of your life. Human beings have a hard time letting go. If you want to free up more time for things that you’re really passionate about, focus on the tarbiyah of your kids and perfectly managing the house, then I strongly suggest that you go through a clearing process. Give yourself a couple days and de-clutter. Research says, if you haven’t used it for a year, chances are that you won’t use it for the rest of your life. Once you let go of what you don’t need, you’ll have two-fold advantage,

  • You’ll win the reward of sadaqah
  • You’ll feel relaxed and lightened.

I’d rather say that words fail me to explain the feeling it gives. It’s just a state of inner peace which you can experience once you let it go. The time saved in managing those clutter can now be used in doing something productive. Remember, cluttering is the antonym of productivity.

Learn to say NO

Chasing your dream with kids and other responsibility take time, effort and energy. If you don’t have enough time and energy to focus on the goals that matter the most to you, you probably have weak boundaries. Do you have a hard time saying no? Do you feel like your time is being wasted or that you’re being taken advantage of? Saying “no” sounds selfish or narcissistic to most people. Remember, people won’t respect you unless you respect yourself. Now imagine, you are a homeschooling mom, you sit down to do daily lessons with your kids and your neighbor comes to have coffee with you. What do you do then? Set boundaries.

Ask her politely if she can wait for 20 minutes so that you can finish the task with your kids first. That’s what your boundary is. It will make people realize what’s more important for you. If that really matters to your neighbor, she will wait for you.

Once in a while might not harm as much but if people know that you are available for them 24/7 chances are that they will take unnecessary advantage of your weak boundaries. The consequences of not setting a boundary when you should be are frequently much greater than you realize. Whenever you say yes to something, you are inadvertently saying no to many other things.

For example, the lady who requested you coffee comes and requests the same again, and you say yes out of habit or a sense of obligation. Then she sits and chats for two hours. So this takes our two hours off your day. These two hours could have been used teaching your kids, writing your book, spending healthy time with your spouse or getting your message out. By saying yes to your neighbor, you were automatically saying no to all of these things.

When your kids are awake, your time is their time

When we talk about setting priorities, remember our kids are our priority. If you have wasted the hours when they were asleep or out in the school, then you have wasted your personal hours. When they are up and around, your prime responsibility is to focus on your kids and their needs. I am appalled at the senses of those who help busy mom schedule their routine by encouraging them to freeze their food and stuff their kids with frozen food and the preach “prioritizing”. Do the health and well being of your child not your number 1 priority? Setting priority will help you to decide if it’s a good idea to give frozen food to your children and work on your personal tasks or give fresh food to them and to never compromise on their health and well being.

Busy and passionate moms are juggling so many balls in the air. Kids, chores, relationships, sometimes finances, physical health etc. Sometimes we think if we keep all the balls in the air, we will be successful. Truth is that when all the balls are in the air and you just touch each of them and not give them the time and attention they deserve, you are not making the best move. It actually comes down to what you need to do at a given time. All the successful people you admire in life also have 100 things to juggle but they know what they need to do at a given time.

The real success comes from

  • Knowing what’s the right thing to do
  • Doing that right thing

So for example, you have one hour before your children come home from school or your little one wakes up; and you have a pile of dishes to do, vacuuming the floor, laundry and all these chores but you also have to prepare one chapter for your exams. What do you choose to do in that one hour? If you waste that one hour whatsapping, and then complaining that all the time goes wasted after kids then who is to blame?

Setting priorities is important because you won’t achieve anything if u don’t know what u want. In order to be successfully managing all the roles you play in your life, u should know what u want to BE, what you want to DO, and what u want to HAVE – knowing this will help u prioritize. If u don’t know what you want, it’s guaranteed u will never have it.

Let’s learn to prioritize no matter how strong is the urge to whats app or hop on Facebook. Time is something really precious. Let’s not squander it.

Bela Khan is a certified life coach and speaker. She is also the author of her book “Know Thy Values, Know Thyself.” Her forthcoming books are “How riches come to you” and, “9-Success secrets that Non-Muslims know and you must know too”. You can find more of her work at belakhan.com

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management
Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 2

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 2

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

Time Management for busy moms Part 2 – Guest Post by Sr. Bela Khan

Start with planning your day

No matter how strong is the desire to get started on working, take a few minutes to plan your day. For me, there is a clear distinction in the days that are planned and days when for whatever reason, I fail to plan. Take a piece of paper and write three things you want to accomplish. This should be something different than your daily chores. You already know that you have to do dishes and laundry.

Your to-do list must have something related to your personal passion or your kids/spouse. Also, there is a reason I am asking you not to have 20 items on your to-do list. First our mind needs simplicity and clarity. When you have 20 items on your to-do list and fail to accomplish them, the to-do list turns out to be a guilt-list and that hurts our neurons.

Secondly, three top important tasks prevent us from falling into the trap of overwhelm. When our mind knows what it needs to get done, we are more likely to get them done.

Remember, we are creatures of accomplishment. We love to scratch off items from our to-do list and that gives a boost to our self-esteem. Life is fast for everyone but it’s faster for a busy mom, a to-do list helps to us to keep up.

Lastly, don’t turn on any gadget, face book, twitter or anything else before these three things are done during early hours.

Turn your to-do list into your dua-list

After making a to-do list for the day, take a moment to connect to Allah SWT and make dua to Him to make your day productive. The best anti-procrastination dua comes from our beloved prophet s.a.w.

Allahumma inni ‘a’udhubika minal hammi walhuzni, Wal’ajzi walkasali, walbukhli waljubni, Wa dal’id-daiyni wa ghalabatir-rajal
O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.’  [Bukhari]
Start with what needs your brain

Usually busy moms have all the reason to get their laundry done first thing in the morning but this is the time when you must be doing everything that demands energy and input from your neurons directly. Therefore, starting the day with washing your kid’s dirty clothes is not a smart idea.

Start with something that demands undivided attention, that may include writing an article, preparing for your exam, getting done with office work, planning your homeschooling activity  – or any similar activity that actually need you to sit down and focus. Cooking, cleaning, ironing are all kind of secondary habits that do not need as active presence of mind as do reading, writing and learning. It’s the game-changer, really.

Multi-task the smart way

Multi-tasking can be of two types. One is that you have opened a dozen tabs in your browsers and trying to reply to an email and writing an article and learning your lesson at the same time. As much cool as it sounds, unfortunately, it’s a myth.

Anything that needs laser focus can not be tied to another task or can’t be done with something else.  Just like you computer gets slower when you open a gazillion softwares together, your mind gets slower when you try doing all these things at the same time. Therefore, for this category, one thing at a time.

There is then another category of work which doesn’t require the active presence of mind as I just mentioned. Here is when multi-tasking wouldn’t harm. For example, listening to a motivational/islamic lecture while ironing the clothes. Personally, I always play something at the back when I am cooking because it makes a boring task fun for me and also help me save my time which I had to spend on listening to those lectures.

If it makes your life easier, spend on it.

Few years back, I was having constant pain in my spine. I didn’t get any clue as to what’s going on wrong. I felt that a huge chunk of my time was wasted attending to that pain. When I started to look at the causative agents, I realized that the chair in my working space was very uncomfortable.

I used to spend so many hours sitting on that chair, studying, teaching, coaching and ending up with backache. When we went to find out a better chair, it turned out that the professional chair was very expensive. I, very reluctantly bought one. After that I never experienced any backache alhmdulillah.

Don’t hesitate to invest on what makes your life easier and comfortable. Your time and health matter more than anything else in the world to pursue your dreams. After that, I started looking for anything and everything that can make my life easier and simple. Come to think of it.

You are a homeschooling mother, a teacher, a coach and a student; can you really afford to spend hours and hours doing your laundry? I spent on an automatic washing machine after wards; I am still not weary of thanking God for that. It has saved me so much time and mental torture.

ACTION TIP: List down all the things that can make your life simpler and spare you much more time to look after your kids and work. Automatic washing machine, dish washer, a professional chair? Whatever it is, don’t think twice before investing on it. The return on investment is worth it!

Delegate

A similar phenomenon is delegating. It will be hard to digest by some of those who really want to do everything by themselves and find contentment in it. No worries. If that doesn’t work for you, it isn’t for you. But if you consider this, it might give you ample time to be with yourself as well as your kids.  If I argue with my mom on this, she’d call me a lazy cat. But come to think of it, hasn’t the time changed.

Was our previous generation as passionate about running a business, or studying or teaching or doing xyz with the family? Didn’t their day start with making breakfast, cleaning, preparing lunch, doing laundry, spending time with their kids, teaching and cleaning them and then ended with doing the dishes? We have exactly the same to do PLUS chase our own dreams and passions as well. To take out time for your dream and passion and raising amazing kids, you must learn to delegate. If someone else can do your cleaning and laundry, hire them. It’s similar to spending money on what can ease your life.

IMPORTANT NOTE! There is a very thin line between delegating tasks that really are your responsibility vs. tasks that really don’t matter. If you go to your office, leaving your kids to a nanny, that’s NOT delegating, that’s insanity. For this, again you need to prioritize. Your kids are your primary responsibility, an amanah from Allah and you will be held accountable for them. That’s the reason I am so much AGAINST nannies and baby sitters. You can’t delegate your kids to someone but definitely you can hire someone to wash their clothes and clean their room. Makes sense?

Bela Khan is a certified life coach and speaker. She is also the author of her book “Know Thy Values, Know Thyself.” Her forthcoming books are “How riches come to you” and, “9-Success secrets that Non-Muslims know and you must know too”. You can find more of her work at belakhan.com

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

Buy Now!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management
Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 1

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 1

Guest Post by Sr. Bela Khan

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

Before I really get into these amazing “time management” tips, I want to clearly differentiate between two categories of working women:

A) those who leave their house to work

B) those who work from the premises of their houses

Both these categories might look similar to an onlooker and be mistaken for being the same but there is a clear cut distinction. Any women going outside her house to work, needs to have a critical evaluation of her needs and necessity to go out from Shariah standpoint. Islam doesn’t really require a woman to leave the premises of her house and go to work.

Islam has actually liberated us from this responsibility so that we can focus on what matters the most. However, working from the premises for the home either to support the family or just to living your passion and not ignoring the primary responsibilities do not harm in any way.

Let’s move on to learn some cool time management tips for busy moms.

“To be always intending to make a new and better life but never to find time to set about it is as…to put off eating and drinking and sleeping from one day to the next until you’re dead.” – Og Mandino

The most effective time management technique, ever. Period.

No personal development guru, life coach, time management expert, leadership specialist can ever give you a technique better than that which the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught us. This simple technique asks us to utilize the post-Fajr hours. The after-Fajr hours have a lot of barakah and help us to get things done much quicker than any other part of the day.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Oh Allah, bless my Ummah (in their work) in the early part of the morning,” (Tirmidhi)

Think about it! When your kids are enjoying their happy sleep, you don’t have to worry about what’s burning on the stove, there is no pile of dishes waiting for you in the sink and you don’t have to fret about the laundry. This distraction-free time is perfect to get things done for everyone in general and mothers in particular.

If you can make it, it will make your day. As I write this article, I am enjoying the peace and serenity of post-Fajr hours. It also gives a great boost to our mood and strengthens us emotionally to face the challenges of the day to come ahead.

A recent study from the University of Toronto surveyed over 731 adults. Regardless of their age, waking up early was associated with a better mood. “Earlier risers reported feeling more positive emotions compared to night owls,” explained one of the researchers. The authors suspected that the positive mood was related to the increased amount of sunlight exposure experienced by those who woke up earlier.

Our morning routine sets the tone for the entire day. As busy moms, it’s a great challenge for us to take time out for ourselves and our passion in the daily grind of the day. Enjoy some “ME” time in the morning. Sometimes mothers are so busy being available for their kids, spouse, and in-laws; that they forget to be available for themselves. Remember, when you give to yourself first, you have more to give to the world.

A great metaphor is the oxygen mask on an airplane. Whenever you begin a flight, the flight attendant always coaches you that in the event of an accident, if you are flying with a child, first place your oxygen mask on yourself, and then help your child with their mask. Obviously, you might pass out if you don’t take care of yourself first. Then you wouldn’t be able to help your child or anyone else.

ACTION TIP: Challenge yourself to utilize the post-Fajr hours for the next seven days and experience the barakah.

BONUS ACTION TIP  

Adopting new habits becomes way easier if you have someone to hold you accountable. Find yourself someone who has the same goals as you do and request her to hold you accountable every morning. Secondly, sometimes boring journeys become very exciting if you are venturing with someone you like. Get yourself an accountability buddy to track your post-Fajr activities and In shaa Allah, it will not be too hard for you to develop this habit.

What you track, you improve

If that’s not in your calendar, you really don’t want to do it. Tracking your progress is a very powerful phenomenon. You must have a checklist of every habit you are trying to build or every goal you are trying to accomplish. Otherwise, it would be nothing more than wishful thinking. As busy moms, we have a gazillion things to look after. Do you want to do everything in your head? Your head and heart are sacred places meant for love of Allah and His messenger.

Don’t stuff it in with your tracking list. Get it on paper. For example, if you want to improve your post-Fajr time utilization, make a simple tracking sheet and paste it on your wall and track your progress with simple ticks or crosses. With the advent of technology, smart phones have made tracking way easier. If you are a fan of technology, unlike me who actually wants to have it all on paper, then go ahead and get yourself a good app to track your success.

Bela Khan is a certified life coach and speaker. She is also the author of her book “Know Thy Values, Know Thyself.” Her forthcoming books are “How riches come to you” and, “9-Success secrets that Non-Muslims know and you must know too”. You can find more of her work at belakhan.com

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

Buy Now!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management