How to be an Ideal Productive Muslimah – 7 Practical Secrets
To do as much as possible of our tasks, as quickly as possible, is productivity. As Muslimahs aiming for Ihsaan and excellence, there is no doubt that we want to lead productive lives in obedience to Allaah. There are unlimited ways to be a productive muslimah a few of which are listed below.
1. Make Duaa.
As always, we start with dua to guide us. All duaas are answered. So, once you’ve made duaa, there’s nothing to worry about and you can proceed with your action plan.
The best productivity duaa I know is
اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّي أَعْوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الهَـمِّ وَ الْحُـزْنِ، والعًجْـزِ والكَسَلِ
والبُخْـلِ والجُـبْنِ، وضَلعِ الـدَّيْنِ وغَلَبَـةِ الرِّجال.
‘O Allaah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men.’
When you ask to be protected from weakness and laziness, you are physically and mentally stronger now to take on and do whatever you need to be a productive Muslimah.
2. Go to bed early and wake up early.
There was a time when I used to go to bed late. I’d put the kids to sleep (more like, chase them through their bedtime routine) and then feel entitled to an undisturbed cup of coffee (with sugar!), while I chatted with my mum and siblings who lived on the other side of the world. (Coffee WITH SUGAR right before bed!!! What was I even thinking?!)
I did this often and it was my way of rewarding myself for a tiresome day with the kids. But guess what? I was stuck in this vicious cycle. This ‘reward’ was making me more tired and then, when I finally broke the habit and started sleeping on time, my life changed. I cannot stress the importance of sleeping early enough. Sleeping during the night refreshes the body and mind in a way that sleeping during the day cannot. I didn’t need to sleep after Fajr and I seemed to have more time during the day and was able to accomplish more. If there is one habit that can change your productivity game and help you achieve more, it is this one.
So, be a good girl; don’t be like the old me. Set your alarm, get a good night’s sleep and wake up early. Even if you can’t fall asleep early, go to bed early. Make sure to keep your phone faaaaarrrr away from your hands.
3. Set bigger goals.
If your current goals are keeping you where you are, you need bigger goals to move forward. If others can do it, so can you!! Make duaa and keep going, girl.
4. Automate your income.
To live the life of a productive Muslimah, you don’t need to be a millionaire. You just need to be location-free (not tied to a particular place), enjoy time freedom and enjoy a nice source of automated income (kinda like a fancy ATM hidden inside your laptop).
If you’re stuck in a 40-hour week job, get out of it. Easy to say, I guess. But if you’re waiting for the perfect time to quit your job, it may never come. 🙁
Pray istikharah, put your trust in Allaah, trust yourself and just do it. You need to start enjoying life now.
If you are unable to quit your job, try to at least free yourself from your workplace. Ask your manager to allow you to work from home and vanish from the office. This gives you the location freedom that allows you to take mini-vacations that every productive Muslimah needs now and then.
The most productive way to earn an income is to have an automated online business that runs on its own and can be maintained from anywhere in the world. How? There are many ways to do this; one of which is to
- Design a product.
- Demonstrate to your audience that you’re the best person they can buy from. (You could get a PhD related to your niche or expand your knowledge by attending seminars, reading books and watching videos.
- Test the product before launching it by finding out if people would be interested in such a product.
- Be able to summarize the product’s purpose in one sentence.
- Not give your potential customers too many options. Having to compare the different options (the various colours and sizes, for example) can be exhausting. Remember that time when you spent 4 hours picking a handbag because you had too many choices? Yep. That’s what I’m talking about.
- Charge between $50 and $200 for your product. People who are able to, and willing to, spare this amount are not very fussy about what they spend on and hence, will complain less.
- Make a big promise and deliver on it.
Also, you don’t want to be an entrepreneur, managing everything. Even though the term ‘entrepreneur’ sounds fancy, you’re a productive Muslimah. You’re next-level material. Let’s leave the entrepreneurship/management for others to handle, shall we?
- Hire an agency to manage your website.
- Hire competent people to run your business. Virtual Assistants (VAs) are extremely helpful in handling a lot of your tasks. And they don’t cost a lot. VAs from India, for example, don’t cost a lot; yet they are pretty skilled.
- Allow communication to flow freely between people under you, without you having to relay messages. Trust your team and give them the responsibility to make minor decisions on your behalf and run the business smoothly.
- You only need to look at submitted reports and step in when necessary.
5. ‘Effectivate’ your task list.
The to-do list is ever-unending. You are always going to have lots of things to complete. To free your mind, write down EVERYTHING you need to do. The good news is that you don’t need to exhaust your time doing EVERYTHING. Less is more.
Using the Pareto principle and Parkinson’s law, you can speed up task execution and accelerate your growth.
- According to the Pareto principle, 80 per cent of output results from 20 per cent of effort. It’s not about getting more done. It’s about effectivity, the efficient completion of your prioritised tasks. You ONLY need to put in 20 per cent of effort to get 80 per cent done!! Isn’t that just awesome?!
- According to Parkinson’s law, your task will stretch to fill up the time you give yourself to complete it. If you had only one hour to write a blog post, you will get it done in one hour. If you give yourself 8 hours to write a blog post, you will take 8 hours to do it.
Select the 20 per cent of tasks that need to be prioritised and complete them within the time you set for them. If you lead the lifestyle of a productive Muslimah, you may be able to accomplish in 10 hours what others do in 40 hours.
Set daily goals. Start with the most important task every morning. Ask yourself, “Would I be happy if this ends up being the ONLY task I complete today?” Ideally, all your tasks for the day should be completed before midday. The earlier you start work, the earlier you will be done.
You can use Google Calendar to schedule tasks for specific days and times, Google Keep to organize all your notes in one place and Trello to organize, manage and track your tasks.
If you want to know more about effectiveness through the game-changing, secret sauce of prioritising, check out It’s Time to Shine. It provides you with the most powerful time-multiplying techniques, in one place.
6. Develop good habits and automate them.
Cravings can overpower us. Many of our bad habits are due to temptation and thoughtlessness. For example, when we eat and finish a bag of chips, what has happened? We have given in to temptation and eaten thoughtlessly on autopilot. Sound familiar?
40 per cent of actions we perform each day are based on habit.
Resisting the craving won’t help with getting rid of a bad habit. Don’t resist the cravings; redirect them to better options. If you have a bad habit that you’d like to change, list exactly what you crave or get from that habit. Replace your bad choices with equally rewarding better choices.
For example, if you’re trying to quit sugar, REPLACE it with something like Stevia. It kinda means the same thing. But quitting something you love is a lot easier if you find a replacement that can give you a similar reward.
Once a good action gets automated and becomes a habit, the brain doesn’t need to exhaust itself to guide us to do the right thing. If you were to make decisions about everything every day, you would lose lots of precious time and it can be mentally very draining. This is why it is best to set up small nudges or actions that can push us in the right direction.
For example, if you display fruit and healthier food prominently on your dining table or kitchen counter, you are more likely to pick up the healthier option. You could sign up for a healthy food delivery service and allow it to force you to eat healthier. You can also automate your savings so that every month on a particular day, a certain amount of $$$ is set aside. Without you having to save every month, you’re saving every month. Make sense?
Once you set up such nudges, you are saved from accidentally forgetting and doing the wrong thing. Automating some good actions can greatly push you towards your goals. What are some things that you need to set up/automate to achieve your goals? Comment below and share your thoughts with us.
Sometimes, in the face of stressful life situations, people relapse and get back to an old bad habit. If you’re faced with stress, keep making duaa and rely on Allaah to help you stick to your newer, better habits. Mentally prepare yourself for unpleasant situations and plan, in advance, how to overcome them.
The positive effects of certain habits can spread to other areas of your life and spark change and enable other good habits to blossom as well. Charles Duhigg, the author of ‘The Power of Habit’, calls these habits ‘keystone habits’. These habits make you believe that positive change is possible. And this belief triggers more positive change.
Willpower is the most supreme keystone habit that can trigger all sorts of other great habits. But, like a muscle, it can tire. Don’t exhaust it by doing useless things or you won’t have any willpower left for important things that have to be handled later on in the day. This is also why it’s best to finish your most pertinent tasks earlier in the day when you have the most energy, clarity and willpower.
Strictly adhering to anything (e.g., a diet) can strengthen your willpower. Your willpower muscle can get tired quicker if you are ordered to do something rather than doing it of your own free will/choice.
Once we become aware of a bad habit, it becomes our responsibility to change it.
Also, not all habits are equal. Some can be more powerful. For example, praying Fajr on time can be your morning meditation that can also boost overall productivity.
If you’re looking for a website or app to further help you with your habits, Stickk.com is an awesome website where you sign commitment contracts to achieve your goals. You pick your goal, set milestones with deadlines, and have the option to be charged money for not sticking to your goals. You pick an institution that gets your money if you don’t achieve your goal. Make sure to pick an institution you dislike. If you achieve your goal, you get your money back. If not, that institution you dislike gets your money. Is it harsh? Not really. This will push you to ‘Stickk’ to your commitments.
You can also use the Productive Muslim habitator. I use it all the time.
7. Improve focus.
The amount of messaging apps and notifications we are exposed to every day can be a huge distraction and hindrance to getting things done. As much as possible, reduce distractions and eliminate interruptions.
- Go on a strict information diet; only consume books or media if they pertain to your work or well-being.
- You’re never going to be able to read all the beneficial books out there; so, be very selective about what you exhaust your time on.
- Emails and communication apps like WhatsApp are huge distractions and major time wasters. Respond to emails and messages after midday. Anything urgent can be dealt with on the phone.
- Meetings? Just skip them. Attend only if absolutely necessary or if an important decision has to be made. Meetings should have an agenda AND a time limit.
Being a productive Muslimah doesn’t have to be hard. All you need to do is to take one step at a time. Focus on making just your mornings productive and that itself will take you far in sha Allaah.