Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
I know that topics like productivity and organization are not usually things I talk about on this blog, but as my time has become increasingly occupied I have found that making sure I am working productively and efficiently is so important. Not only is it important for work and general balance in your life, but we need to be making sure that all of our actions are also productive for our akhirah. A teacher of mine once said that anything that is not benefiting us in our akhirah is actually just a waste of time, subhanAllah.
Often we think we are being productive, but in the name of productivity in this world, we let our worship slip. I know that it may seem like pushing back this or that prayer to finish the work we are doing, or any number of those small excuses we make for ourselves throughout the day, is a good idea, but the way I like to think of it is this: yes, I can get a lot more done if I am late on a prayer time or two, but how much barakah will there be in whatever I am doing if I am neglecting the rights of Allah swt to get it done?
And these days, I am learning to choose quality (barakah) over quantity (just getting it done).
So today I thought it would be a good idea to share with you five of my favorite resources and tips for keeping on-track with my time in worldly affairs so that I can make the necessary time for worship and deen.
1.My bullet journal
If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, you can check that out right here. Long story short, it is a system of organization and planning that you can do in any old notebook, and it encompasses everything. And I do mean everything. In my bullet journal notebook I use a yearly spread to keep track of important dates in the future, and for each month I do a monthly overview with important dates and goals for the month. Before I was using weekly spreads with my tasks written in on each day, but now that I have become a bit more busy I have decided to start using a daily spread with things scheduled out down to the hour.
Besides its planner function, I keep so many other things in my bullet journal; I have a section for money and budgeting, a section for my tajweed notes, my Ramadan spread, and sections for my creative notes and ideas. Plus a “to-read” spread, because that is important!
The best thing about using a bullet journal system is that you can customize it to exactly fit your needs. All you need is a blank notebook and a pen to get started!
2. Ayeina’s pre-Ramadan productivity challenge and journal
If y’all live under a rock and don’t know who Ayeina is, go check out their website. They are a sister duo who already sells an awesome gratitude journal, and just recently they have come out with their new productivity journal*. In honor of that they are running a pre-Ramadan productivity challenge that everyone can join in on on social media, in order to use these next six months wisely to mentally and spiritually prepare ourselves for Ramadan.
The thing I love about this journal is that it encompasses so many aspects of our lives: faith, relationships, personal development, and work to name a few. This journal is a great way for someone who feels intimidated by getting organized to get into productivity in a guided way, and in shaa Allah make lasting changes and habits that will increase their productivity in the long run.
If you are interested, you can get your hands on that right here*.
*These are affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase through this link I will get a small commission at no extra charge to you. Don’t worry, I will never recommend anything that I don’t love myself!
3.Making the most of time
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, what makes us more or less productive is how we use those hours. One of the things that I absolutely love doing, and I’ve mentioned this so often before, is listening to beneficial podcasts while I am doing tasks that would otherwise be mindless. When I am doing housework, needlecrafts, even things that don’t take a lot of mental space, like creating images for my blog, I’ve always got a podcast or video on in the background. That way, I can turn what would usually be down-time into learning or even iman-increasing time, depending on the type of podcast I am listening to.
This also works well if you have a long commute to work (or a long trip to anywhere else), or just need to “veg out” every now and again when the kids go down for their naps.
Alternatively during these types of times you could also do dhikr. Saying subhanAllah, alhamdulillah, Allahu akbar, while you work on things keeps you in the remembrance of Allah and in shaa Allah will gain you rewards for the akhirah.
As a general tip, always remember when you are doing these kinds of mundane tasks to make your intention for Allah swt!
4.Get off that social media
This tip is directly related to #3 about using time wisely, and again it is less of a resource and more of an action for you to do.
The main point: get off social media. Set boundaries around when you will be on social media, for how long, and what for. If you have a business and you use it for that, make sure that is what you are using it for.
There are plenty of apps that you can get on your computer that will block certain sites for you for a set period of time, and though I have never tried those out myself I would love to look into it!
One thing I have done recently is taken the social media off my phone. The only two apps I still have on there are Instagram and Whatsapp, because my phone is where those have to be. Facebook, Twitter (which I don’t even use to begin with), everything else is all off my phone. I have even deleted my WordPress app and my Gmail app so that I don’t keep checking my notifications every five seconds.
5.Organization is key
I don’t know if this one is just me, but I just cannot get anything productive done if my space (i.e. my whole dang house) isn’t clean and organized. Having my desk space organized is especially important for me to keep myself on track, because if my space, or even just the desktop on my laptop is cluttered my brain tends to also feel cluttered and bogged down.
For those of you looking for resources to help get organized, my blogging sister Fatima recently opened up a members-circle on her site where she shares a ton of information, courses, and resources on organization. I believe she has a free and a paid option; I haven’t actually got the chance to look into this one myself yet (I don’t actually need much help around organization and I don’t want to get into another group “just because”), but I have read her blog and follow her social and I am sure it is going to be great! If anyone does end up joining I would love to hear from you back here on how you find it.
And, of course if you have any tips or resources around productivity, efficiency, and time management, and especially relating all of those things back to our ibadah, I would love to hear them in the comments!