Channel: Ismail Kamdar
How To Stay Productive At Work During Ramadan
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Assalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh al hamdu Lillahi Rabbil alameen wa salatu salam wa rahmatullah alameen. We begin by praising Allah and asking Allah to send his peace and blessings upon the final prophet Mohammed bin Abdullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam and all those who follow his way with righteousness until the last day.
I'd like to welcome you all to the second session of the Ramadan retreat 2017 with the Islamic online university, where today inshallah I will be presenting to you a very important topic, how to remain productive at work during the month of Ramadan. We know that many Muslims face a dilemma, that in the month of Ramadan, we find that our fasting affects our work and we are unable to work properly or we are overworked at work and we are unable to do a bother properly.
So the goal of today's discussion is about finding that balance. How do we make the best of Ramadan and still remain productive at work?
Before we get into the core topic, I want to give you a very brief reminder about democracy, the goals and Sharia objectives of Ramadan. Now I'm sure you've heard many lectures on this topic. So I'm not going to go into details with all of the evidences. But just very briefly, why does Ramadan exist?
Ramadan is a monthly recharge for our demand.
Allah subhanho wa Taala says in the Quran, that he has made fasting in the month of Ramadan obligatory upon us, Allah, Allah coo coo. So that you may increase in your taqwa in your consciousness of Allah in your closeness to Allah subhana wa Taala and two verses after lunch will be handled Allah mentions that the month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed.
So Ramadan is about increasing our taqwa through increased fasting and sola and Quranic recitation is about connecting with the Quran through tarawih. Increased recitation and understanding of the Quran. And the combination of these two factors increasing taqwa and connecting with the Quran is that we emerge from the month of Ramadan as better Muslims. Now, this does not mean we come out from Ramadan as perfect people because we are not angels, we are human beings, we will never attain perfection. But we can be better. We can utilize Ramadan to let go of one or two bad habits to introduce into our lives one or two good habits. And to make this part of who we are. The goal is to
leave Ramadan better than we entered.
So this is a very brief reminder and when we understand the purpose of Ramadan,
how do we fit this in with our work lives? You know, most of us do not have the luxury of taking leave from work for the entire month of Ramadan. So how do we find that?
When people complain to me about the problems they face at work during the month of Ramadan, it's usually one of the following four or five problems. The first and most common is fatigue or exhaustion.
That would be upset sleep schedule, lack of food and water during the daytime. increased the bother. Many people get exhausted during the month of Ramadan, especially in the second half of the month. And they find it very hard to concentrate on work or to do a bother.
linked to that is of course hunger and thirst you cannot fast without experiencing hunger and thirst. And this affects some people's productivity in the workplace. Then, a modern problem that we face is caffeine withdrawal. Many of us myself included are accustomed to drinking coffee during the daytime especially in the afternoon when we are feeling a bit sleepy. A cup of coffee gets us through the afternoon work. So Ramadan afternoons tend to be a bit of a challenge. We face caffeine withdrawal, you may feel sleepy, some people may experience headaches, because our body's not accustomed to going through that time without that energy boost.
A fourth problem that some people face is that because of all of these factors combined, they end up with a temper problem they end up getting more angry in the month of Ramadan.
So if we solve these four problems, then inshallah the problem will be solved automatically.
So what are we going to do in this session, we are going to look at three
have tips that will help you to work better in the month of Ramadan, we are going to look at productivity tips, we are going to look at health tips and we are going to look at ibadah tips. But please note that the guidelines that we are going to mention today are very general. And they may
or may not apply to your specific job.
I set these guidelines keeping in mind the structure of the average job eight to five working in an office.
And the general situation that arise in such a job. Now you may have a very unique job situation, you know, maybe you're working 16 hour shifts, maybe you're working at night, and maybe your work is extremely physical, maybe you are a sports player, whatever, whatever it is, you have a unique situation, we can discuss that in the live q&a segment. But
I hope at least you are able to benefit from the general guidelines I'm about to share with you. So let's get started with those general guidelines.
First, let's take a look at some productivity tips. As you may know, productivity is one of my areas of specialization. I am the founder of Islamic self help calm a website dedicated to providing you with productivity tips from an Islamic perspective. And so I'd like to present to you about five productivity tips that if you apply them in the month of Ramadan, they will inshallah make your work easier in the month of Ramadan.
The first of these steps is to plan ahead.
We have a few days left until Ramadan begins. You need to plan now how you're going to manage your schedule in the month of Ramadan. You need to write out a schedule a complete schedule, including your school time, your time, your work times, what are you going to do during work time keeping in mind the different energy levels at different time of the day? Your sleep times? How are you going to get enough sleep, you need to schedule all that you need to be plan. You can't just have Ramadan come upon you. And you don't have a plan for what you're going to do during that time.
So take the time today, to sit and make a schedule. When you're going to sleep, how much sleep you're going to get. Is it going to be enough? Will you require a power nap? When would you have the power nap? And we'll talk a bit more about this in the next slide.
In your schedule, you know your work hours, which times of the day? Do you have higher levels of concentration? When fasting? Or what tasks can you put into that that time of the day, which time of the day are you a bit more exhausted, which tasks are better to be done during that time of the day, make a schedule plan ahead. If you plan ahead, it will make working in the month of Ramadan, so much easier for you. Part of the planning moving on to tip number two is to have for each day of Ramadan, three work tasks that are your highest priority. So you start each day, by the way you can apply this to even outside the month of Ramadan.
You start each day by asking yourself, what are the three things that I have to get done today, that if I do these three things, then I've had a productive day. And I've had a good day at work. Right. So for example for today, on my top three list is this webinar, right? during this session with you was on my top three tasks for today.
That if I complete this and two other tasks that I have scheduled for later in the day, then I've had a productive day. So for each day of your life, start the day by asking yourself what are the three most important things I need to get done today. And then schedule those three things for the time of the day, when you are most productive and you have your highest level of concentration. Now this may differ from person to person. If you are a morning person then you want to schedule those three tasks for after two or if you're an afternoon person like myself, then you may want to schedule those three tasks for the afternoon. You know just before a certain time. If you are a
night owl you may want to schedule it for After all, we you know your your personality and body type best, but schedule those three tasks for the time of the day, when you have your highest level of concentration.
The third task or the third tip is something
which not everybody is going to be able to do. But if possible, then please do it at least try at least ask you never know it may just be possible for you. And that is take on a lighter workload in the month of Ramadan.
How do you take on a lighter workload in the month of Ramadan? Well, it really depends on whether you are your own boss or who you're working for and that person's attitude towards Ramadan. So I can give you a few examples of how different organizations make the workload.
of this stuff easier in the month of Ramadan. Some organizations cut down the work hours from eight hours a day to seven hours a day in Ramadan, thus making things easier for their staff. I myself, make sure that none of my employees have deadlines set in the month of Ramadan. So the deadlines are set for a week before Ramadan, or week or two after Ramadan, meaning their work will continue as usual during Ramadan, but with no specific deadlines to get them stressed out and to overwork them.
So shifting the deadlines around 30 are before and after Ramadan, that can make your workload easier. If you have extra leave days piled up, you know, maybe taking the last 10 days of Ramadan as leader you can apply. So you can apply yourself to doing more ibadah. That's another possibility. Speaking to your boss about giving you a lighter workload for these days, or allowing you to work from home for these days, you know, these are some ways that some people handle this.
Now many other ideas that you can think of. But in general, if work hours could be cut down, if deadlines could be shifted around. If the tasks that you schedule for this month could be lighted in the tasks you do outside of this month, then that will give you more time for a bada that will give you a better
workload that is not going to stress you out and drain you out. And it's not that you're not being productive. It's just that you're being realistic about how productive you can be in the month of Ramadan. So especially if you are an employee or you are a boss of somebody else, and you know that person who is working for you is going to be fasting in the month of Ramadan, then you should make an effort to make it easier for them, either by cutting down their work hours or cutting down their workload or shifting the deadlines around. Do what you can to make it easier for your employees to work in the month of Ramadan and allow will make it easier for you as well. The fourth productivity
tip related to Ramadan is to pace yourself. And this will go in with your scheduling. Pace yourself, don't do too many tasks at once too early in the day.
So if you want to start your day, immediately after fudger with a really extreme workout session, followed by four of your most exhausting work tasks for the day. By 10am, you're going to be exhausted, dehydrated, and unable to do work for the rest of the day. So don't overburden yourself, at any point in the day, spread your workout throughout the day.
schedule some tasks for early morning some for late morning, some for early afternoon, some for late afternoon, with breaks in between paced yourself so that you can get more done and you can maintain your energy levels throughout the day. And by the way, this applies outside the month of Ramadan as well, that people who paced themselves are able to maintain the energy levels for longer and get more done. While people who try to just burn to the task early in the morning. They get tired more easily, and they are unable to work properly in the afternoon. So part of pacing yourself. And this takes us to productivity. Tip number five, part of pacing yourself is to take regular mental breaks.
Now why do I say mental breaks because in the 21st century, most jobs are mental jobs. Right? They are jobs that require a lot of brainpower. And for many of us, we take physical breaks, we take lunch breaks, we take coffee breaks, but we don't give our mind a break. We still thinking about work during that time we are still focused on work, whether we at home, whether you're playing a game, whether you're drinking your coffee, whether you having your lunch, and sadly, even while we are praying, our minds are still busy with work.
Now, just like your body needs a break, your mind also needs a break. So one of the ways to maintain your energy level throughout the day is to take a regular mental break that every one hour, you work for 15 to 45 minutes, and you take a five to 10 minute mental break where you do nothing. You take a walk, you sit back and close your eyes. You make thicker.
You do something completely unrelated to your work for five minutes.
Think of it as rebooting your brain
so that it does not get overburdened and overtired. If you get into the habit of having regular mental breaks, you will notice that you will have stronger energy levels throughout the workday, both in and out of Ramadan.
So these are my five productivity tips to help you get through the workday in Ramadan. Make your schedule before Ramadan begins everyday focus on your three priority tasks. Take on a lighter workload if possible. Patient
yourself and make sure that you're giving your mind a break at least once every one or two hours.
Now, productivity is not just related to how you work, but also how you take care of yourself. And that takes us to our second set of tips, which are
the health tips, right? That productivity is also related to how healthy we are in the month of Ramadan.
Now health can be divided into four areas. And all four areas affect our productivity at work. There is our food and drink, how much we eat and what we eat, that affects our health and our energy levels. There is our exercise or physical activity, how much of it we do that affects our health and our productivity at work. Number three, which we spoke about in the previous slide, our mental health, resting the brain, working the brain giving the brain a break, that also affects our productivity level. But there's a fourth area of health which many people ignore, and that is sleep, making sure your body has enough sleep to be recharged and re energized for the next day. Too much
sleep and you'll be fatigued, too little sleep and you will be groggy, you need to work out how much sleep your body needs, and make sure you are getting enough sleep every day. For the average person, it's six to eight hours. Right some people need less, some people need more, but the average person needs six to eight hours of sleep every day to maintain productivity.
So I want to focus on two out of these four areas I want to focus on health tips and sleep tips.
As far as exercise is concerned, you know your body best you know which time of the day is best for you to exercise. So all I would advise you to do is to make sure you remain physically put in the month of Ramadan. And in a way that does not make you dehydrated while fasting. Right. So just be intelligent about the time of the day and the type of physical activity you do in the month of Ramadan. As far as mental health is concerned, we've already discussed that in the previous slide. So now our focus is on food and sleep.
So what can we say about food.
We know in Ramadan, we have two problems when it comes to food. The first is that we overeat. The second is that we eat very unhealthy food. And when you combine those two things, we end up with a lack of energy and we end up
getting more sick in the month of Ramadan.
So especially for sure you want to eat a healthy breakfast before you start fasting.
If your breakfast is made up of coffee or tea without any water separately, then you will experience dehydration early in the day. If you are having coffee or tea so whole time, make sure you have enough water as well to balance it out. Because those drinks dehydrate us. So you need water to balance it out.
If you are having sugary food for sure.
you will experience a peak in energy for an hour or two followed by a crash for the rest of the day. So avoid sugary snacks so whole time.
If you are eating oily food First of all, you will experience an upset tummy and that of course will affect your productivity. So what should you do about sure Well, firstly, Don't drink too much water extra overtime.
Rather spread out the amount of water you drink throughout the night. From a start time to time spread out the water that you drink that will help you to retain it throughout the day. Number two, eat something healthy. fruit, vegetables, milk, cereal, something healthy, something that gives you long term energy. In fact, just a shoehorn of dates in water is better for you in terms of health and energy than a suhu made up of oily food and sugars. So if you have a healthy soul that will help you to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
The second health tip related to Ramadan is to avoid oily food. Now I know in many cultures including my own, our star is made up of oily foods. And for me to tell you to avoid it completely is unrealistic. It's not going to happen. So instead, I'm not going to tell you to avoid it completely. Rather,
limit how much of it you eat right. Don't eat the entire
Have a dozen some losers have one or two.
Right and then make sure the rest of your food is healthy.
And especially, you know, if you're having oily food for if data and you limit yourself to one or two, that's fine, but don't have it for sure, right don't have this oily stuff extra overtime. Because what you eat at your time is going to affect your energy levels throughout the workday. So you cannot afford to be eating oily food at a time because it's going to negatively affect you throughout the day. So those are my two terms related to food, have a healthy suhoor and cut down on the oily food
when it comes to sleep, which is a very important thing, because in Ramadan, our sleep schedule is completely changed. Right? Especially in those countries where you are experiencing summer in the month of Ramadan, you're may not have enough time to sleep at night, and I empathize with you. I mean, our country, we have more than enough time, our FAFSA from 5am to 5pm. Right, so we have more than enough time to sleep. But for those of you in some countries, I know it's going to be difficult. So you need to adjust your sleep schedule to make sure you are getting enough sleep and the right type of sleep to be energized throughout the day.
And if the nights are so short that you are unable to do that, then you need to put in power naps throughout the day to make up for it. What is the power nap? A power nap can be a 10 minute or 20 minutes, or one and a half hour nap that re energizes your body. You could have it up to her you could have it after fudger you could have it up the answer depending on your work hours. But if you are not getting enough sleep at night at night, you need to throw in a power nap at some point in the day to make up for it.
So the first thing you want to do is adjust your sleep schedule. Make sure you are still getting your six to eight hours sleep every day.
Even if it means sleeping getting used to sleeping at a different time and waking up at a different time or breaking it up you having three hours sleep and then having two hours sleep again later. And if you are unable to get enough sleep and you find yourself getting groggy, then start scheduling in power naps. The power nap will go a long way to recharging your productivity for the day.
So those are my health tips related to the month of Ramadan.
The final set of tips before we conclude this presentation
we know Ramadan is all about ibadah and many of us feel guilty that we spend the month of Ramadan working and providing for our families and we are unable to do as much a bother as we generally would like to do.
But they are a bother that we can do while working right fasting is a bother so if you are fasting while working you are still being rewarded for that fast, you can make thicker you can make a steak or you can send the root upon the Prophet slowly yourself you can do all of that while working without it affecting your work at all you can make do our while working. So do our and other forms of verbal ibadah are a body of the heart like patience and good character and humility. All of that can be done while working.
And we know that do it in the month of Ramadan accepted. So why not start the month with a dua asking Allah to make fasting in the month of Ramadan easy for you and making your work easy for you.
Another way to increase your ibadah in the month of Ramadan is to make your work itself into a bada how
understand that earning it Halla income to provide for your family and to give you enough money to be able to assist others as well. All of this is a bada when it is done for the sake of Allah.
So you can make your work into a bada by having the right intention.
So remember that working while fasting is a bother if that was the correct intentions,
that you are fasting for the sake of Allah and you are working to earn the halal income and provide for your family for the sake of Allah. At the same time you are practicing Islamic character and Islamic manners for the sake of Allah. All of that is a bother in the month of Ramadan.
So do not feel guilty to be working in the month of Ramadan. No you are engaged in a battle it's just a different type of ibadah.
So the key is especially if you work long hours in the month of Ramadan is to focus on quality ibadah instead of quantity rather focus on taraweeh with concentration and horseshoe rather than praying a lot of the wrong way and not understanding a word of it and daydreaming focus on fasting that is productive and helpful.
To become a better Muslim, instead of fasting just for the sake of getting over with it, focus on reciting a bit of Quran understanding it and applying it to your life. Instead of read reciting a lot of Quran and not understanding a word of it, focus on practicing Islamic manners and and bring into your heart Islamic character, reforming your heart getting rid of jealousy and, and arrogance and all of these other bad qualities from your heart, the internal ibadah
focus on the quality of your ibadah and a lot of this can be done while working good at work is where we get the opportunities to practice humility, to practice patience to practice modesty all of this we have the opportunity to practice these forms of internal Avada while at work
and we do all of this our work becomes a bada and we will be rewarded for it inshallah as doing things for the sake of Allah during the month of Ramadan.
So to summarize this presentation,
prepare ahead of time for the month of Ramadan, and how you're going to manage your work and sleep and eating schedule in the month of Ramadan. Paste yourself spread your workout throughout the day said you do not get too exhausted. Make dua to Allah to make it easy for you and take each day as it comes setting your three tasks for the day. Making sure you get enough sleep if you do not get enough sleep, putting in a power nap, doing whatever it takes to make sure each state remains productive. And each day remains a source of reward for you. By making sure whatever you do do it for the sake of Allah. Word that we come to the end of this presentation is Allah Hi, Ron Walker
Davina and your hamdulillahi Rabbil alameen wa salam aleikum wa rahmatullah wa he wabarakatuh