Posts Tagged time management

Gadgets – Time Savers or Wasters?

Bismillah walhamdulillah

I recently received a new gadget, a device that I’ve wanted for quite some time, thinking that it would help me in my studies and elsewhere.

These things are supposed to help us save time, right?

They have so many different features, it’s hard to keep up. But it does seem like they are all trying to help us save time, what with the Siri and everywhere-you-go Internet Access and reminder apps, etc.


I don’t remember the last time I wasted this much time trying to figure out how the device will help me save time. It got so bad, I brought it with me to my Qur’an class, just so that when my teacher asked me why I did not finish my homework – I could pull it out and show her why.


After a week, I realized I had to sign out of my email on the device. I am not a spend-all-day-on-emails type of person, but I had a feeling that email access at my fingertips was the main issue. Funny, because since signing out of my email, I don’t think the device has left its box lol.

Here is some advice I came up with for myself, and for others:

1. As soon as you can, sign out of your email (and anything else that you check compulsively).

Some devices force you to sign in in order to buy apps and the likes, but as soon as you can, sign out because you can check your email elsewhere. Emails were not originally designed to be responded to as soon as you read them. If someone needs to contact you for an emergency, they should send a text or call. The more you spend time responding to emails (as well as facebook comments, the twitter equivalent, etc.) the more time you will continue to spend on it because you will be feeding the beast (the more emails you respond to, the more emails you will be sent).

2. Don’t rush to figure out all of its features.

Within time, you will get to experience all the different features. For example, one day you will realize you would like to download a surah for listening purposes. That day you will figure out how to do that inshaAllah. If you rush to figure it all out, you will actually waste time doing something that would have happened on its own anyway.

3. Monitor your usage.

Anyone who cares about their time will monitor it in regards to everything (email, socializing, eating, breathing – just kidding). It might be a good idea, though, to set a timer for 20 minutes, do what you need to do, and then get off.

4. Ask the people who know if you do not.

Find some people who have had the gadget for longer than you, and ask them what they use it for. This will save you a lot of time on your own research.

5. Use it for good, not evil.

I didn’t want to assume that this goes without saying. With every blessing that Allah swt gives you, use it to enhance your worship of Him. This is your test.

6. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

If you are getting along just fine without a new device, don’t buy it and don’t crave it (and definitely don’t unnecessarily upgrade!). It may very well be that shaytan is using it to distract you and you will only be more distracted once you own it. Pause and wonder why the people of the past, who owned no devices, got 100x more work done than we do today with gadgets spilling out of our ears.

May Allah swt bless us in our time and increase us in himma. Ameen

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INSPIRATIONAL: Taught and Licensed over 100,000 in Memorization of Qur’an!

The elderly sister in the picture is Umm as-Sa’ad. She was born 1925 and memorised the Quran at the age of 15. By the age of 25 she had the shortest chains of recitation (Ijzazh) to the Prophet sallaAllaahu ‘Alaihi wasSalam in the 10 modes of recitation. She is a PIVOTAL point in Quranic instruction in Egypt and Alexandria in particular. From AbdulBasit AbdulSamad to Mishary al-Afaasi…all have recited the Quran upon her seeking approval to teach and recite.

Allah have mercy on her, she recently past away at close to 90 years old. May Allah reward her for her service to the Quran.

Since 1950 she has taught and licensed in memorization of the quran over 100,000 students.

اللهم إغفر لها وارحمها وأدخلها فسيح جناتك


“Umm as-Saa’d, married one of her students. She was not blessed with any children through her nearly 50 years of marriage. She would say, “Allah barred me from children and their responsibility, so that I can teach his Word to the children of others.

She also said:
تقول الشيخة أم السعد

“أشعر أنني أحفظ القرآن كاسمي تمامًا ..لا أتخيل أن أنسى منه حرفًا أو أخطئ فيه.. فأنا لا أعرف أي شيء آخر

غير القرآن والقراءات.. لم أدرس علمًا أو أسمع درسًا أو أحفظ شيئًا غير القرآن الكريم ومتونه في علوم القراءات

“I feel that my memorization of the Quran is as complete has my knowledge of my own name. I cannot imagine that I can forget a single letter from it or even make a single mistake in its reading from memory. I do not know anything else in life like I do the Quran and its modes of recitation. I did not master any other Science or attend lectures or commit anything to memory except the Noble Quran, the texts related to its modes of recitation.”


Ya Allah raise her a level in Jannah for every ayat she recites! Aameen!


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Pomodoro Ramadan

Bismillah walhamdulillah

This is a time management technique that works really well. It may sometimes be referred to as “interval training.” I mostly use it during Finals Week, but I wish to use it all the time because of how effective it is in terms of completing tasks and not wasting time.

Here is a basic description:

  1. Choose a task to be accomplished
  2. Set the Pomodoro to 25 minutes (the Pomodoro is the timer)
  3. Work on the task until the Pomodoro rings, then put a check on your sheet of paper
  4. Take a short break (5 minutes is OK)
  5. Every 4 Pomodoros take a longer break

Like many things, this can be altered to suit you. For example, you may want to set the timer differently depending on your task.


You can use it this Ramadan. It will allow you to block out periods of time that you are devoting just to Qur’an Recitation, Homework, or Morning Adhkar, or Preparing Iftaar, etc.

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You have no new messages

Bismillah walhamdulillah

Always, in the spirit of saving time, any posts that I write on the topic of time-saving will be short and to the point.

This is about the obsession that most of us have with seeing ” 0 Inbox” or “0 Messages.” You know what I’m talking about right? Like seeing the Message Icon on your phone will drive you insane until you just get rid of it. And if you have even one unanswered email sitting in your inbox, you won’t rest until it’s responded to and done away with.

This leads to wasting a lot of time and you no longer trust yourself to be around your phone or sign onto your email, especially when you have a deadline to catch.

Here’s a solution for you, bi’ithnillah:

(The words emails, texts, messages, and posts are all synonymous from hereon.)

1. Set out an hour (“hour” here is any unit of time, not necessarily 60 minutes) every day, where you sign onto your email, social networks, blogs, and what have you. In this hour, respond to everything urgent first. Then relax and respond to the less urgent messages. DON’T SIGN ON THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY, EXCEPT DURING THIS HOUR, otherwise there is no point!

And if, throughout your day, it occurs to you that you have to send an email to so-and-so about such-and-such, set a reminder about that, and make sure the reminder is set to go off during this designated hour. Then relax because when the hour comes, you will take care of it, and you won’t be itching to sign on during random points in the day.

2. Keep your emails short and to the point. The longer your emails are, the longer the responses to them will be.

3. Certain messages do not need to be responded to. Learn to recognize those.

4. Some emails will require a long response from you. And there will be some emails which you will have no choice but to put off to a later time, thus forcing you to keep seeing the “(1) Inbox” sign. Train yourself to recognize which emails these are (they are very few, that’s why you need to train yourself to recognize them), and if you can’t knock them out during your designated hour, set another time aside for them. And don’t let it drive you insane that it’s still sitting there. You have more important things to tend to.

5. This will not work well if you over-socialize (see an older post – search “over-socialize”). This will work well for those people who use their emails, social networks, and blogs as a tool to get essential work done (studies, da’wah, light socializing). If you have 15 new messages a day on facebook, then I’m sorry, this probably won’t work for you. But good news, I will write another post on facebook inshaaAllah.

Try this out and let me know how it goes. Also, if you have any other advice, feel free to comment below inshaaAllah.

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Discipline & Time Management

“Your entire life should follow a precise order…You will have to discipline yourself if you want to get through this successfully…” Nouman Ali Khan


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HD 8: “I used to be a haafidhah”

Bismillah alhamdulillah

What a depressing statement. “I used to be a haafidhah.”

I used to have these surahs memorized. I used to be able to recite this in salah. I used to…but not anymore.

This isn’t something I’m mentioning just to scare people. It’s a reality. A friend of mine attended a Jumuah Khutbah a while back and shared with me some of what she learned. The facts are from what she heard and reported to me, and I edited the quotes to correct for grammar but not meaning.

She mentioned: “Eighty percent of women forget half of what they memorize after they get married.”


She told me the story of a sister who memorized Qur’an from the ages of 10 to 21. That is the prime-time of her memory! She spent over ten years memorizing and reviewing, just think about that! Listen to what she says now…. “I can’t even remember two ayaat in [their correct] order.”


Reflect upon that. You will realize that the way you live your life after marriage is but a reflection of how you were living your life before marriage. If right now, as a single sister, you cannot find time for Qur’an and reviewing is not a priority of yours, then surely things will only get worse once you are responsible for a husband and kids. The people who cannot make time for memorization when they are single, it’s not expected that they will be able to make the time later, even if they want to. Subhanallah, even if they want to.

When married sisters assume that I have a lot of free time just because I am single, I sometimes find it slightly offensive (that’s too strong of a word in this context but) because it is as if there is no such thing as being “busy” outside of marriage. But I know that is not how they mean it. We look at the past through rose-colored glasses. They are looking at their single-life-past, through rose-colored glasses and remembering it as a time of being carefree and without worries and to a certain extent, they are correct. Helping out around the house with your sister and mother is not the same as having someone ‘depend’ on you for their food and clothing. If you had a hard day at school, your mother will understand and let you skip some of your chores. But what about the married sister who is pregnant? There is just not that much leeway in this situation. You can’t take a “break” from being married or pregnant, it doesn’t happen.

Now is all the time you have. Take advantage before you have to look at your past and remember all those hours that you could have devoted to building a relationship with the Qur’an, but rather you let them pass you by, one by one (one nap here, one argument there, one movie here, one novel there).

And review, review, review what you have memorized until you become flawless in it and you feel secure that it has entered your long-term memory. Don’t ever let yourself become someone who says “I used to…”

Some Tips:

1. Actively work to memorize the entire Qur’an before marriage. If you cannot complete it, do as much as you can. The sister said “especially the harder surahs,” but refer to HD 6:Stop with the Negative Influence! for why I do not endorse her statement.

2. Don’t memorize without review. A lot of what we memorize is still sitting in our short-term memory, ready to run away. We need to tie it down with revision.

3. If you are already married, don’t despair. Even you have more free time than you think. Start finding those pockets of free time, and use them! :) There are stories of amazing sisters who have memorized after marriage, after kids, in hard times. We really have no excuse inshaAllah.

4. Have good manners and leave sins. Being a good wife, mother, sister, and daughter all counts as ibaadah. Do not scream at your husband about how he’s “keeping you away from your goals in life.” Treat people well, keep up with all of your duties, and leave sins. All of these things will help you towards your memorization.

And Allah Knows Best

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It’s not a matter of sleeping less…

“It’s not a matter of sleeping less; I know plenty of people who have a full night’s sleep and are very productive. It’s about making the most of your daylight/awake hours.”

– A wise and productive brother, may Allah swt preserve and protect him. Ameen


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How to Sleep Early

When a sister contacts me for help about time management, assuming she contacted me via text or email, I immediately look at the time stamp on the message.

Woah…2 AM? Okay sis, there’s your problem.

I can’t remember a single time when they contacted me at a time like 7 PM. Why? Because, they don’t realize how bad their problem is until it is 2:30 AM and they are still awake, trying to get some work done or perhaps just wasting time. Their families are asleep, and they’re sitting at their desk pulling all-nighters.

The reason I bring this up is because something interesting about time-management is that it starts the night before. If you don’t sleep on time and wake up on time, then your day is not going to be as productive as it could have been. We’ve all heard of the phrase “getting up on the wrong side of the bed,” which basically indicates that something seemingly-insignificant that takes place in the morning can have a negative effect on the rest of your day. Similarly, every hour that you waste and then later try to “make-up for” by pushing your bedtime up an hour, will have an effect on you the next day.

Here are some steps in how to sleep early*:

  1. Acknowledge it is late.Seriously now, for most of the people who go to bed late it is mostly a problem of mentality. You look at the clock and think “2:00? Oh, no problem, I’ve still got plenty of time”. No, you don’t. When you make it a habit to go to bed way past midnight, your idea of late becomes an increasingly later hour. So, the next time you look at the clock and see it’s past 11:30 pm (or any time you’d consider ‘early’), abandon everything you were doing at that time and start hurrying to go to bed. The first step in starting to go to bed early is redefining your definition of “late.”
  2. Give yourself reasons for getting to bed earlier. One good incentive is recalling a time (or several) when your lateness in getting to bed had disastrous results: you overslept, didn’t get enough sleep, became sick, etc. Also, if you’re a habitual late-nighter (e.g. college student), this will give you a chance to see that rarest of natural phenomena: a sunrise! Staying up through the night to see the sunrise does not count!
  3. Determine what time you need to wake. The default answer to this is that you need to wake up for Salatul Fajr. If you want to wake up earlier than that, and get in a few rak’aat of Satul Tahajjud, then that is even better. Your wake-up time needs to be the same every day except for rare occasions. Weekends are not rare.
  4. Subtract 8 hours from the time you wake up. Determine how long it actually takes you to fall asleep. Don’t glance at the alarm clock constantly to test this, just think whether you lie in bed for what seems for hours, or does your head barely hit the pillow? If the first one is the case you should subtract one hour from the time you have. If your head barely hits the pillow you only need about five minutes in bed before your -8 hour time. If you’re somewhere in between 30 minutes should be a safe amount of time to be in bed before you need to fall asleep. If you sleep at 9 pm every night, you can wake up at 5 am and you will have completed 8 hours.
  5. Do something calming before bedtime. The computer may be calming but your brain naturally makes you sleepy when it is dark, so by staring at a screen you are keeping yourself alert and wide-awake for longer than you should. A shower is an excellent thing to do before bed. Make your activity a sort of habit. This helps. We know that it is from the sunnah to make wudoo’ before bed. This is very calming and it will help you fall asleep. Sisters, you can do this even when on your monthly cycle; I know one sister who does. Also, don’t forget your evening adhkar. What can be more calming and relaxing than some dhikr of Allah? After that maybe review some Qur’an, not out loud but quietly while moving your lips. Another thing that I like to do, that helps me fall asleep, is to imagine myself in one of the Gardens of Jannah, talking to Rasoolullah SAWS. :)
  6. Go to bed right when you start feeling tired. The best time to go to bed is when you can’t stop yawning and feel the need to just close your eyes and lay your head down. If you force yourself to stay awake, after this stage is over, you’ll have a slight headache because of tiredness, but stop feeling that urge to go to sleep, which makes you stay awake even more.
  7. Be strict about your bedtime. Force yourself to turn off the computer and TV before bed. By turning off the computer (not the monitor) you would have to wait for it to reboot and normally that is enough to persuade you to get off the computer. Throw the remote for your TV across the room or onto the floor (gently). Getting up to turn on the TV hardly seems worth it, huh? My suggestion is actually to work your way towards cutting TV out of your life. Besides the negative influence it will have on you as a Muslim, it is nothing but an extremely convenient and easy way to waste a whole time of time without ever realizing it. Computers also are not harmless, but if you are doing stuff of benefit, even then you must realize that you can continue your work in the morning, preferably in the time of barakah (the time that is blessed), and when you are nice and fresh.
  8. After you have been following a bed time for a week or so, if you are still tired or very unwilling to get up in the morning you may still owe yourself a few hours. Have you been taking advantage of the “sunnah nap?” This is a short nap you can take between Dhuhr and Asr. You can take one every day, and it will help you to recharge inshaa Allah.
  9. Reward yourself for your discipline.  Notice how much better you feel in your day-to-day life, in school, or at your job. If you’re getting somewhere around 8 hours of sleep per night, and at the right time, you’ll probably notice a dramatic increase in your physical and mental health.

*Source of the Steps: wikihow, edited and with my own comments in blue

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“They never let me go anywhere!”

Bismillah walhamdu lillah

This complaint is one that is probably more common from the sisters. I know for me personally, when I first decided to be serious about the deen, I had this tremendous desire to attend lectures, take notes in my Islamic notebook and be surrounded by other serious Muslims. I would make sure not to miss any of the events or lectures that were offered by my college MSA. But when it came to attending stuff outside the small perimeter of the campus, the answer from my parents was usually a “no.” At one point, it became such that the answer was even a “no” for events on campus! I mention this not to complain, but because I am pretty sure there are other sisters out there who are going through something like this. I felt like everyone else had it so easy. They probably just had to “tell” their parents they were leaving, not even asking them for permission. This is how I used to think.

This post is not so that I can tell you that it gets better. Even though it does get better, assuming you meet certain conditions (patient perseverance, among other things) inshaa Allah. But if your family is like mine, it will still take some time. And when you are someone who has just been granted hidaya, you can’t help but feel sad when you think about all the time you spent doing wasteful and/or impermissible actions. Now you just want to be left in your room to read books and articles and pray and make du’aa. The last thing you want to hear me say is, “it will take time.”

So hear this: Sisters (or brothers, if you have a similar problem), if you are sincere about learning the deen, then stop fighting with your parents so that you can attend the local classes and sit in the gatherings. There are plenty of resources online that we can utilize, and the person who fails to take advantage of that which is available to them, needs to question their sincerity in seeking knowledge. Is it really to gain a better understanding of Islam, or is there some other motive involved? I know for me, sometimes I just wanted to go out there and see for myself that I wasn’t alone. That there really were other “practicing” Muslims out there. But honestly, that reason was/is not enough. I am telling you, you’re not alone. There are others out there just like you.

Now that we understand that, begin to take advantage of what you have available at your fingertips. You can order Islamic books online instead of going to the bookstore. You can listen to online lectures and full series on websites. You can even attend classes and earn degrees, right out of the comfort of your home! It really is an amazing time that we are living in, in terms of technological advancements and using it to learn the deen.

This doesn’t mean that you should give up attending Islamic courses and gatherings of dhikr. Don’t completely isolate yourself from the community. Attend, but with moderation. And continue to make du’aa and appeal to your parents. But don’t sit around and wait for them to say “yes,” when you know that you have other outlets of Islamic knowledge that they would be more accepting of. (You can check out my right-side bar for links that will lead you to what you are in search for inshaa Allah.)

waAllahu Alam


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Little-known time managing technique!

Bismillah walhamdulillah

This time-managing technique just popped in my head one day, walhamdulillah, and I’ve been using it ever since!

Often, we waste time checking our emails, facebooks, blogs, twitters, etc. (I might have another post on just those things, inshaAllah)

What’s one thing they all have in common?

They all require a password for entry.

That password is supposed to be so that others don’t gain access, but my proposition is to use this password in such a way that you don’t gain access.

There are two things you can do:

  1. Make the password a complicated set of numbers, letters, and symbols. Make it long and write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t make it meaningful, make it like a mess of things like: g6%h3!(>kde&03f    ….  (You think this is bad? Listen man, desperate times call for desperate measures.) After you write it down on a piece of paper, put that piece of paper in a hard-to-reach place (like the abyss in your closet). Keep in mind that if you are someone who gets important emails daily, you still want to keep the paper in a hard-to-reach place, but don’t put it somewhere too difficult to find, because you might lock yourself out entirely (and wouldn’t that be interesting?). However, the paper with your password for facebook, which probably takes way more time, and is of little to no benefit, should be flushed — I mean, should be placed in a more difficult-to-reach place.
  2. Make the password something meaningful, that will induce guilt whenever you type it. The trick here is to associate the password with a goal you have (if you don’t really have goals, you have to get those first). For example, if you are memorizing Surah al Baqarah, you can make your password surahalbaqarah286  >> every time you type this in, you will be reminded of your goal, and you will ask yourself: Did I fulfill my work related to this goal today? If the answer is “no,” you will feel too guilty to continue typing in the password, and it will encourage you to return to your work.

Try this out and let me know how it goes inshaAllah!

~ommal muqarraboon

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