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

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Time Management

20 Time Management Tips in 6 minutes

As mentioned in the title, here is a short 6 minute podcast summarizing 20 Time Management Tips!

You can listen to the audio podcast about Time Management tips here, or read the transcript below:

  1. Avoid multi-tasking as it splits your attention between two things and you end up making mistakes in both tasks.
  2. Have a means of measuring your long term goals, so that you know how close you are to completing the goal and can plan accordingly.
  3. When working on a high concentration task, put your phone on silent, close all social media and concentrate on the task at hand.
  4. Study in bursts of 20 minutes, with five minute breaks in between. The five minute break allows your mind to store the information in your long term memory, which leads to increased understanding and longer retention of information.
  5. Start your day with Fajr and work on one High concentration task immediately after Fajr, like studying, memorizing Qur’an or writing an article. You will get the task done in less time with stronger results.
  6. Getting sufficient sleep (6 to 8 hours) is crucial for remaining alert and productive.
  7. Keep reminders of important tasks where you can see them. Add them to your phone calendar, or stick notes on your wall so that you remember important events for important days.
  8. Learn shortcut keys on your computer, it will lead to you completing your work in record time, eg: CTRL + C for copying and CTRL + V for pasting, instead of copying and pasting the long way.
  9. Keep a neat uncluttered work environment and you will find yourself more motivated to work.
  10. The above applies to your PC’s desktop as well, keep it uncluttered and organized.
  11. Learn to speed read and speed listen, these save time and help you remember things long term.
  12. Learn the shortest (and least congested) route to frequent destinations to save time on the road.
  13. Utilize time waiting in queues to read an e-book or listen to a podcast on your phone.
  14. Eat healthily and exercise daily to maintain energy and productivity
  15. When working, take a five minute break every 55 minutes to refresh your mind. You will end up storing energy and getting more done compared to someone who works without breaks.
  16. On your day off, avoid thinking of work and focus on recharging yourself through Halal fun.
  17. Take a family vacation at least for one week a year in order to completely recharge.
  18. If something will take less than two minutes to get done, do it straight away.
  19. When someone wants to speak to you, inform them that you have just five or ten minutes to speak before you have to move on to your next task. This will help keep conversations short and to the point.
  20. Delegate whatever you can to someone else who can do a good or better job of it.

All points extracted from my book Getting The Barakah: An Islamic Guide to Time Management, click the link below for purchase details.

Learn Time Management the Islamic Way

Learn Time Management the Islamic Way

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, Time Management, 2 comments

Six tips for gaining Barakah in your life

Barakah refers to blessings that Allah puts into our time, health, wealth, and other resources helping us get more out of these than we would have thought is possible. Many people complain about the lack of Barakah in their time, but that can be avoided. Here are 6 things you can do to earn some Barakah:

1. Establish the Five Daily Prayers

If you are not praying five time a day, you cannot expect Barakah in your time. Praying five times a day is the primary act of worship required from us as servants of Allah, and if we neglect this duty, we should not expect Barakah in other aspects of our lives.

2. Pray for Barakah

If you want Barakah is your time, then just like any other gift from Allah, you need to ask Allah for it. Ask Allah daily in your private duas for Barakah in your time, effort, wealth, health and efforts. A sincere dua does not go unheard.

3. Utilize the early morning hours

The last one third of the night and the early hours of the morning are times which are full of Barakah. Try it out one day, wake up for Tahajjud and then work on some of your most important tasks after Tahajjud and Fajr. You will notice that you will be able to get more done in less time due to the blessings that Allah has placed in this time.

4. Keep your earnings, spending, food and goals Halal

For any prayer to be answered, it must be made by someone who has not tainted his wealth or food with that which Allah has prohibited. Strive your best to earn Halal wealth, spend it properly, purchase only Halal food, and set noble goals. If you do so, you will earn Barakah from Allah.

5. Give a lot of Charity (Sadaqah)

Many of us know that the way to increase the Barakah in our wealth is to spend it on others. The same applies to our time. Volunteer your time for noble causes and you will find yourself with extra time to chase your goals. As the more wealth you give others, the more Allah gives you. Likewise, the more time you spend on others, the more Allah blesses your time.

6. Be grateful for what you have

Allah tells us in the Qur’an:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِنْ شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ وَلَئِنْ كَفَرْتُمْ إِنَّ عَذَابِي لَشَدِيدٌ

“And remember when your Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful, I shall give you more, and if you are ungrateful then my punishment is severe,”[1]

This means that increase in anything is linked to how grateful we are to Allah for granting us that thing. So if we want Barakah in our time, we must be grateful to Allah for the time He has already blessed us with, instead of complaining about what we don’t have. The formula is simple and applies to any area of life: gratitude leads to increase, and complaints lead to decrease.

[1] Surah Ibrahim 14:07

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Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Productivity, Time Management, 3 comments
My 8 favorite Productivity Apps – Part 2

My 8 favorite Productivity Apps – Part 2

This is Part Two of this series on favorite productivity apps. Part One is available here.

So I’m not going to waste your time with a second introduction to my favorite productivity apps. Let’s jump right back into it!

5. One Drive/Dropbox/Google Drive

Pick one! I use all three for different reasons. For my personal files, I use One Drive because it synchronizes most easily with Windows (although Dropbox synchronizes quite easily too) and I find it most convenient. I use Dropbox mostly for sharing files with friends, family, and others as it is most commonly used by them, and I use Google Drive for sharing work-files because that is the norm at our workplace.

I have all my devices linked to my One Drive, Dropbox and Google Drive accounts and save all my files there, so that I have access to my files wherever I go and whichever device I use. This saves a lot of time as I can be writing a book on my PC, save the file, then open the same file later on my Tablet or Laptop for editing. In this age of cloud storage, everybody should have at least one of these and utilize them to save time that is normally spent in file transfers and searching for files.

6. Goodreads

I only started using Goodreads recently when I was looking for new author platforms for promoting my books. I ended up using it daily because it is an excellent tool for keeping track of what books I read, when I read them, what books I am currently reading, what page I am at in every book I am currently reading, what books I plan to read in the future, and what books my friends have read/are reading.

Goodreads is awesome in that I no longer need to carry around book-lists or look for my old book-lists, everything is available online and structured well. Check out what I’m currently reading here, for example.

7 & 8. Kindle & Googlebooks

Another App which I only started using this year. I was a bit slow to join the e-book craze, as I thought that e-books would never substitute for the real thing. (I still think so, by the way)

If you only experienced reading an e-book via Adobe Reader in PDF format, then like the old me, you probably think that e-books are difficult to read and inconvenient. However, Amazon Kindle and Googlebooks are really fun to use, easy to read from, and have great feature that make e-book reading really enjoyable.

I still prefer physical books, but there are many titles not available locally which I can download from the Google Play store or the Kindle store, so I use these Apps to access such books. I also like having some reading material on either of these two Apps, so that if I’m ever stuck in a queue and bored, I know I have a good book sitting in my pocket waiting to be read on my phone.

So there you have it. Currently, these are the Apps I use daily to stay productive, and this list is constantly changing as I try out and discover new Apps and tools.

Let us know in the comments section which are your favorite productivity apps that you use daily!

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

My favorite 8 Productivity Apps & Tools – Part 1

Productivity Apps:

Productivity Apps were invented to make life easier for us. Yet, many people don’t know which Apps to use or how to use them productively. Personally, I am always on the look out for any App that can make me more productive in any aspect of my life, and so my list of productivity Apps is constantly changing and evolving.

At the time of writing this however, these are my 7 most important Apps and tools for staying productive:

1. Everything Google (gmail, calendar, drive, books)

Productivity Apps

To pick one Google App that keeps me productive is really difficult, so I decided to start the list with everything Google, while some of these may appear again later in the list. I use Gmail over other mail servers as the spam-filter, division into Primary, Social, and Promotions sections, and ease of synchronization with my phone and PC make it one of the best and most productive email applications out there. Any other email application that I tried feels like a dinosaur comparatively.

Add to that, Gmail is sync to the other Apps that assist in my productivity like my Calendar, Google Drive, Hangout and Maps, making it an all in one system that every productive person should use.

2. To-Dos/S-Note

P3120540

In 2010, I started using the Samsung Galaxy Note brand of phablets and have stuck with it ever since. The Note series is aimed at productivity junkies and contains many features that are great. The S-Note however stands out as something I use every day. It contains templates for daily and weekly To-Do lists which I use daily to make my To-Do lists and have them available wherever I go. Crossing off each completed task with my S-pen is also more fun that clicking a button.

Recently, after upgrading to Windows 10 on my PC, I was looking for a good App to use for To-Do lists on my PC so that I do not have to check my phone every hour to see what needs to be done next.

I ended up downloading the To-Dos App and it has saved me a lot of time as it is very easy and quick to use, both in adding tasks and crossing them off. Its a simple App, nothing fancy but serves as a nice yellow reminder on my screen of what still needs to be done.

The S-Note serves as a portable To-Do List, while the To-Dos App serves as its equivalent on my PC, making both Apps very important for my daily productivity.

3. iTunes

iTunes

As someone who is generally known to be anti-Apple, it probably comes as surprise to see iTunes on this list. The truth is that I only started using iTunes a month ago and I must admit it is the best audio player I was used.

I was searching for audio player in which I can access all my favorite Podcast series and iTunes gave me that and more. It downloads the latest episodes, keeps track of which episodes I have downloaded and not listened to yet, and will pick up from the exact spot I stopped, even after days. All of this saves me a lot of time that usually goes in browsing each podcast’s webpage, searching for the latest episodes and trying to remember where I stopped.

Perhaps its time I tried out an actual Apple product, perhaps an iPod?

4. Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows 10 menu

I know this isn’t an App but the way it is designed for Windows 10, it is an awesome productivity tool. For many people, the menu was something they missed in Windows 8, but something they just use as is. However, the Windows 10 menu can be customized in so many ways, it serves me as a very efficient productivity tools.

You can choose which tiles to display in the menu, choose their order and arrange by groups. I have taken advantage of that to set up a menu that as all my most important Apps together at the top, all social media tiles together underneath, and likewise arranged all tiles in order of priority. This has saved me a lot of time in searching for programs or scrolling through long menus to get to them.

That’s the end of Part 1, folks. Click here to read part two and learn about more productivity apps. Although the start menu screen-grab I shared does give some clues about what might be on it. 🙂 

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Goal Setting, Time Management, 3 comments