Life is merely a short rest stop on the journey to the Hereafter. So, don’t wait until tomorrow to change for the better; start today because tomorrow might never come.
Islam emphasizes the importance of time management. Muadh ibn Jabal, a companion of the Prophet, quotes the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying:
“A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Resurrection until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his youth and how he used it up, his property and how he acquired and managed it and his knowledge and how he utilized it.”
Thus, we realize how life is not to be wasted on trivial matters. Especially the years of youth as they are the most productive.
1. Start The Day With a Purpose
Start your day with a purpose in mind. Our intention in all we do, say, etc. should be for God.
“INDEED, MY PRAYER, MY RITES OF SACRIFICE, MY LIVING AND MY DYING ARE FOR GOD , LORD OF THE WORLDS.” [NOBLE QURAN 6:162]
The reason to manage time is to balance spiritual and physical activities during the busy days. For example, your intention to work, is to please your Lord by being productive to humanity and helping your family and the needy by earning money. You stay away from harmful substances such as drugs and alcohol as God forbade them in order to take care of your physical and mental health.
2. The Early Bird Catches The Worm
Wake up early and your hours will be blessed. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“GOD MADE THE EARLY HOURS BLESSED FOR MY NATION.”
That means lights off early to wake up early. You will find so much more blessing in your day with the energy boost of a well rested body extending through the hours of the day.
3. First Things First
The art of doing twice as much in half the time! Manage your time wisely. Make a to do list for the week. Start with the most important first as you will be more energetic. Fix the important tasks in the calendar first, then enter the less important ones in between. Leave some gaps for unexpected ones. Avoid perfectionism and you will save time as well. Learn to delegate instead.
4. Say No to Multitasking
Beware of multitasking. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking doesn’t make your work flow faster. It slows down your pace and gives poor quality work as well as elevating stress levels; it’s detrimental. What you need to do instead of working harder is working smarter.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“ALLAH LOVES WHENEVER ANY OF YOU DOES SOMETHING, THAT HE SHOULD PERFECT IT.”
Imagine trying to prepare dinner while the kids are asking for help with their homework and the phone is ringing in the background. Talk about stress. What you need to do instead is set an assigned time for each task. Do yourself a favor and switch off your phone in the evening for quality family time.
5. Go For a Healthy You
Go for healthy eating and drinking habits. God Almighty warns us in the Quran to stay away from gluttony:
“…AND EAT AND DRINK BUT WASTE NOT BY EXTRAVAGANCE, CERTAINLY HE (GOD) LIKES NOT THOSE WHO WASTE BY EXTRAVAGANCE.” [NOBLE QURAN 7:31]
Gluttony in food and drink not only harms the body physically but also mentally and spiritually. It blocks the mind and makes one lazy from work and worship. Eat less and prioritize eating home-cooked meals. Try not to go out dining more than once a week. Avoid junk food, excess sugars, fats and sodium as well as processed and red meats and increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
6. The Benefits of Exercise
Exercise not only boosts energy for your other daily activities but moreover gives you better health and prevention from diseases. Make your goal to exercise at least three times a week. It could be as simple as going out for a 30 – minute walk. Do yourself a favor, instead of only going dining or strolling at the mall in weekends add some hiking. Not only is it a great outdoor family/friend exercise opportunity, as well as an excellent opportunity to marvel at the beauty of God’s creation.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said:
“THE STRONG BELIEVER IS BETTER AND MORE BELOVED TO ALLAH THAN THE WEAK BELIEVER, WHILE THERE IS GOOD IN BOTH.”
7. Find Your Inner Call
Boost your self-esteem by practicing good hobbies. Are you craftsy? Are you good at writing? Perhaps you love travelling or exploring? Use your talents as well in volunteer work. You can contribute with your ideas for after school programs at your local mosque as well as in your community. Find your inner call.
How Do You Know You’re Productive And Not Just Busy?
When you manage your time efficiently you will start to see results. If you are caught up in the same routine everyday and neither you nor those around you are evolving, then you are just busy. However, if you are getting closer to God and new things are being learned and you are touching the hearts and minds of your family and community, you are reaping the fruits of productivity. The reason to manage time is to balance spiritual and physical activities during the busy days. Time Management is part and parcel of fulfilling our purpose in life which is to submit and obey and worship God.