Time Management

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
Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 4

Time Management For Busy Moms – Part 4

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4

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

Buy Now!

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