Channel: Muslim Life Hackers
Series: Muslim Life Hackers - Season 3
Joining us on the show today is Abu Muawiyah Ismail Kamdar. He is the head tutorial assistant at Islamic Online University, radio presenter at Radio Al Ansar, creator of the online space islamicselfhelp.com as well as a published writer of multiple books including the one we will be discussing in our interview called “Getting the Barakah: an Islamic Guide to Time Management”.
In this episode we get into a ton of things regarding managing our time and productivity. We also get into how to set 10-20 year long goals, avoid making decisions that you will later regret and finding the perfect time management system for you!
You're listening to the Muslim life hack his podcast
Assalamu alaikum I'm a Malik and welcome to season three of the Muslim life hackers podcast. The Muslim life hack is podcast brings together individuals from all walks of life to give you their insights on different areas to help you live better, achieve more and succeed in this life and the neck. If you're new to the show, make sure to check out our episode archives over at Muslim leprechauns.com, where you'll find all the episodes and seasons one and two. Now let's get started.
Assalamu Alaikum and welcome back. In this interview, I'm talking to Alba muawiya. Ismail convert, let's give you some background. He's the head tutorial assistant and Islamic online university radio presenter at Radio Al Assad, creator of the online space Islamic self help.com as well as a published writer of multiple books, including the one that we're going to be discussing today in this interview, called Getting the Baraka. Now in this episode, we get into a ton of things regarding managing our time and productivity. And also, if you thought that you were doomed to be an eternal procrastinator, then you're not, this may just be the episode you have been waiting for to
get you back on track and heading towards those goals. Additionally, we also get into setting 10 to 20 year long goals and how to avoid making decisions that you're going to regret later. And the perfect time management system for you. Allah has also kindly offered a special gift to all the listeners of this episode as well. So do keep us primed for that loads of good stuff in this one. And with that being said, let's get straight into this interview.
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Assalamualaikum waalaikumsalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh Okay, so Alaya Now I know that you did an interview for a while ago, a while ago with me for on confidence dealing with setbacks and criticisms, which will also link in the show notes for those who haven't listened to it and want to catch up. But for our new listeners, could you tell us what you do in say, one line? Tell us about yourself?
Okay, one line is a bit short, but I'll try to keep it short as possible.
Okay, I'm the head of Twitter, the system that the Islamic online university I've been serving in that role for about six years now. I'm a radio presenter on radio Lancer, an author of multiple books, the founder of Islamic self help a blogger. And I write articles for the German newspaper and the ru insights magazine. And yeah, I think that's the basics of it.
Hello, so I'm actually only recently found out that you are a radio host on Ellen Sarah, um, what do you guys talk about over there? Yeah, I have a program called Living Islam. It started off last year in August. We basically it was about the maqasid of Sharia, but dropped down to a level for the average person, the goal of Islam, and how we can live our life according to those goals. And the past month, I switched over to a new topic, which is basically Islamic self help, you know, a good program on these kind of topics. And I've been the radio station for about eight years. Now. Over the years, we've done programs on the Sierra on Tafseer. on many different topics, hundreds I've
actually been with them. I had my first radio program with them when I was like 21 years old. So for a long time. Yeah. Okay, so it's coming more towards the self help, which you're writing a lot more on as well. Yeah, I'm basically moving all of my work into this direction at the moment. Oh, fantastic. Fantastic. All right. So today, we're gonna dive deep into your recent book, getting the Barca which is on time management and in turn productivity. So let's start off really broad. And so Otherwise, why should our listeners care about time management and in turn being productive?
Well, I think for everybody, we need to worry about time management, because if you don't manage our time, then we're really going to waste our lives away. But for Muslims, there's an even more important reason. And that is because in Islam, time is actually part of our risk part of our sustenance. So most people look at the risk and think of money. But when you actually look at the word risk in the Quran, and its usage in the Hadees, it refers to everything that Allah has provided us with, from our intelligence, to our wealth, to our ability in according to the Hadees our free time, is also a provision that Allah will ask us about. So it's not just a matter of not wasting
your life, but it's a matter of the fact that on the Day of Judgment, Allah is going to ask us about our life and what we did with it, our youth and what we did with it, and our free time and what we did with it. So these are actually things that we as Muslims are accountable for. So this is really
takes things to a whole nother level that for us, time management is not just a matter of worldly productivity, but it's a matter of pleasing Allah subhanho wa Taala by using the resources he has given us in the right way. Like there's no there's no idea of killing time in Islam, because time is from Allah. Right. And it is something that we will be accountable for how we use it. I really like how you said that time is part of our sustenance. And do you think it's because time is not like a tangible thing, you can't hold time in your hand that we don't, for example, see it as a risk or see it as valuable? What what are your thoughts on that? Yeah, well, I think one of the reasons we don't
see it as valuable is because we're too distracted. Yeah, entertainment work, the rat race, you know, we just moving from thing to thing our whole day, we don't really sit back and reflect usually, like, what I like to do is, I like to think about 10 years time, 20 years time where I want to be, and mold my life in that direction. A lot of people don't think about that. They just, you know, going through the motions, you know, you just know you go to school, you go to university, you get a job, you work for 40 years, you retire. There's no thought process involved. It's just doing things without thinking. But I think anybody who actually sits back and think thinks about it, they
realize that time is very important. Number one, we don't even know how long how much time we have. I mean, well, you can check your bank account to check how much we have left. Yeah, but what time nobody really knows how much time they have left in this world. So that creates a sense of urgency in how we spend our time.
But beyond that, is also the fact that we are getting older, you know, and as you get older, you find that you don't have the same energy you have when you're younger.
That's why the Heidi says that, you know, you'll be asked about your youth and how you spend it. Yeah, because that's when you've got the energy to get things done. And I mean, I'm 29 years old. Now, I thought by 29, I'll still be feeling young, I'll still be feeling energetic. But Wow, from 21 to 29, you really feel a lot older and you feel a lot less energy. So time management becomes crucial. Yeah, for getting things done. You know, I mean, when I was younger, I didn't have time management. But I could still write a book because of the energy that comes with being young. But now, the
coffee. Yeah. But not when you're older, you have to actually discipline yourself and make time and set the time. And you have to you have I mean, I never drink coffee when I was younger, I never needed it. I started uni years ago, because as I got older, I needed some kind of thing to stimulate me to stay awake and to and to stay energetic. When I was younger, I didn't need these things. So you know, the our youth is something we're going to be asked about as well. So, you know, this is something that that a lot of people just don't think about, which so busy moving from object to object in our life. We don't ever sit back and think about where am I headed? How am I using my time
and what's going to happen in the end? Fantastic. Well, so for our listeners who've also grown up in the 90s and noughties in the 80s. And you mentioned the notion of killing time. And also you talked about planning 1020 years ahead, changing the habits and overhauling their current habits sounds very intimidating, like how do we go from someone who is constantly drinking coffee and staying up late to you know, thinking about like lifetime goals, his 10 year long goals and ambitions? Where do you Where do you start with that process? Well, I think for any kind of change in habits or in lifestyle, it comes down to one thing, your motivation, someone's got to be motivated to make to
make that change. And motivation to me comes from having a strong vision and having a set of goals that work towards that vision. I did it a few weeks ago, you'll have an excellent interview with Sergeant Omar on this topic of ambition. And that's really put things in perspective.
Yeah, I seem to go back and listen to that one. Because it really shows just how important having a vision is. And I'm the I agree with the chef, what he said, 100% that we must have a vision, you need to know what you're doing with your life. Because you understand this much. If you don't change your bad habits today, they are going to negatively affect you later on. Let me give you two examples. If today, you have the bad habit of overeating and not exercising, you won't feel the effects of that today. But 10 officially assigned, you're going to have you got no idea going into that 20% are you going to be overweight, but you are going to be have diseases, right? Your life is
going to get cut short. So you have to change your habits now, if you want to be healthy and productive and and fulfilled in the future. It's the same with smoking, you know, those people who smoke they say it doesn't affect me negatively, but 10 2030 years down the line it does. So you know, really you got to think long term. And when you think long term, you begin to realize the importance of changing the habits you have now. So what I would like people to do those people who are feeling a bit lazy to change their habits. What am I going to do is to think about the future. And this is this is what I do I think of what I want to be in 2025 and what I want to be in 2045
long projection. Hmm, yeah. And it's an I trade
Have you backwards from there, right that if I want to be here in 10 years time, then nine years time, I didn't do this HSM death, one year's time this six months time, and that we are able to formulate my goals for the next decade. Right actually, technically, my goals are formulated for next two decades.
But the idea is that you've got to know what you want. In order to get it, this is a excellent quotation from Brian Tracy, one of the world's leading experts on time management, right? One of his quotations is that if you're afraid it's going to take you five or 10 years to accomplish a goal. And the standard was five or 10 years ago are going to pass either way. I'm
chasing the goal is just going to pass because think about it. If you're gonna take you four years to get your bachelor's degree, and you say, you know what, it's four years, it's too long, I'm not going to study it. Yeah, in four years time, you are going to be four years older, those four years would have passed? Well, you don't have to Yeah, exactly. The Times gonna pass Either way, it's up to you, whether you're going to use it in a good way or not. So that that quotation, I found it very powerful in helping me to realize if I want to do something, I need to do it now, even if it's going to take five or 10 years to formulate, because either way, those five or 10 years are going to pass.
Absolutely. And we like how you mentioned that, you know, our day to day habits, you don't feel that effects today, you're gonna feel it five years time, 10 years time and extra minds if another podcast I was listening to, it was on, I think it was on productivity as well. But he was talking about how he does 10,000 steps a day. And he knows that, you know, he's not going to feel the effects today. But in 10 years, 20 to 20 years time is going to thank himself for walking 10,000 steps a day, because you know, the effects just compound and compound. Exactly, and, and that that's the thing that many young people don't think about. They don't think 10 or 20 years ahead, and I'm
asking people to stop doing that. If you start doing that, you'll find the motivation to make change. That's where the motivation comes from long term thinking, to start looking long term. And you see that there's an issue related to this is that most young people growing up in our generation, we brought up with this instant gratification mentality, you know, we want things now. And this is dangerous, you know, because really all good things take time. So this is a very dangerous notion that we have of instant gratification. Yeah, you also mentioned this in your book, getting the Baraka, this issue of instant gratification and what an advertisement uses that it's all
around us. And it also affects our productivity. Could you tell us a bit more about this instant gratification and how it affects us and why we should be more aware of it? Sure, yeah, this topic is something I speak about, not only in time management, but even in spirituality. When I talk about stratification of the soul, I talk about the advertisement industry and this as well, because it's related to our DNA as well. Instant gratification is basically the idea that anything that I want, I have to have it right now. And the opposite is called delayed gratification. And that's knowing that good things take time. So you have to be willing to put in the time to get what you want. Now,
integrative vacation came about with basically the modern world, you know, we want everything at the touch of a button.
I didn't think about it that way. In fact, we don't even just wanted a touch of a button one day a voice command only want to press the button.
I'm like Siri mode. So it's like we just want everything immediately what this has led to is people want to get rich immediately. People want to go to gender immediately. People want to turn the world into a perfect Islamic State immediately. And all of this leads to problems because people who want to get rich immediately. They they take shortcuts, you know they cheat, they deceive, they make up these get rich, quick scams, they they con people, right because of the instant gratification or they take a rebar based loan. All of this is based on instant gratification. These extremists today who think that you violence they can establish an Islamic State overnight with no flaws and every
Muslim is perfected every Muslim is pious and they think they can achieve that overnight through force. This is again instant gratification. They think that you know you basically think the Philippines is like one of those instant noodles you pop it in the pot and immediately
Yeah, yeah, but reality is the prophets loudly and seldom to turn maca into a proper Islamic land took 22 years. And then today we're still people there who are sinners, there are still people there who had doubt they were still people there who had their faults. It wasn't perfect. It didn't it never has been in history, a land with every single person was perfect. You know, and again, you know, this comes down to instant gratification, you find people wanting to take shortcuts to agenda. So they get involved in innovative rituals which have no basis in Islam, because someone promised them if you do this, you will go to gender with immediately and you know, they change their religion
because they looking for shortcuts to agenda. So someone told them if you only pray Juma on the last day of Ramadan, all your Salah for the years forgiven. And this is not from Islam. This is someone made this up. But again, it's a shortcut. And everyone in this in this era are looking for shortcuts. So this is very dangerous.
Not just to our worldly goals, but to our Deen itself. Because when you only looking for shortcuts you are going to take, you know, you're going to do things that are harmful to you and to others. And that goes against the very fundamentals of being a Muslim, because the prophets lifetime stays a Muslim does not harm himself or anybody else, you know, so you can't do anything that's harmful. So this is a very dangerous mindset is instant gratification mindset, go play, go play. Now definitely, and things that are instant gratification instantly gratifying, you know, quick fixes, it's really attractive. But again, it's like thinking long term, we don't think about the consequences later on.
We don't think about this five years down the line, what's gonna happen if I, you know, take all these quick shortcuts and you know, they don't work they fail. Yeah. And then another point related to that, you know, another issue of instant gratification today is some people want to gratify the enough immediately. And what it does is it gives them instant gratification. But it's followed by problem after problem after problem. I mean, just look at the example of Xena, which is so rife in the Muslim world today. That committing Zina is like it's instant gratification, you enjoying yourself for the moment. But the amount of problems it leads to, from depression, to heartbreak, to
broken homes, to dishonor, to STDs, to all kinds of things, you know, the problems mount up. And this is really what happens with any form of instant gratification. It's instant results, followed by lots of problems, while the right way is an upward struggle, and you enjoy the true success at the end. It's complete opposites to each other.
Basically, instant gratification is like you jumping off a cliff and you heading downhill, you know, there's a rush in the beginning, but at the bottom is a mess. And proper work is like climbing a mountain, it's long, it's hard, it's going to take time. But when you get to the top, it's worth it. So you want the complete opposite in that way. So how could I, for example, if our listeners are faced with a decision to make How can they recognize whether this is something that's instantly gratifying? And it's going to be potentially dangerous in the future for them? Or is it something that they should continue to do? Because it's the easy way? Well, the first thing you need to do is
check if it's islamically permissible or not? Because there's one standard across the board in our religion, and that is anything which is haram is harmful for you in the long term. Right? This is a standard principle of Islam. So people wonder, you know, why can I take drugs? Why can't I smoke? Why can't I fornicate? All of this is because it's harmful to you in the long term. So immediately, you know, let me look an example at the interest based loans. That's another thing which people don't take seriously anymore. And again, it's related to instant gratification. You know, I take an interest based loan today, I get the car, I want to get the house, I want to get everything I want.
And you spend the rest of your life as a slave to the bank paying it off. Yes, sir. It's instant gratification, followed by a lifetime of harm. So really, the first thing you have to look at is does Islam allow it? Because Islam, if Islam does not allow it, then there's some harm in it, even if I as a young person can see it. Right. The second thing you want to do is speak to an expert in that field. This is something everyone needs to you need to speak to experts. Whatever field of life you get involved with, you must have mentors, you must have experts that you speak to, you can build up the experience. Yeah,
exactly. They'll tell you listen, when I was your age, I tried this. And it messed up big time, because this is what happened. And you learn without having to make the mistake yourself. So speak to an expert to speak to someone who has experience and listen to what they have to say. And so if you do these two things, if you check the dean, and then you check with the people of experience, that people have wisdom issue, you'll be able to avoid all of these problems. Because between wisdom and Dean, you, you have what's needed to avoid the problematic areas of life. Fantastic. So first tickets permissible, and then speak to experts and go from there and shallow diving further into our
questions. Also, within the book, you mentioned about how not not all hours of the day at the same you know, sometimes your concentration is revving you could take on a mountain. And other times you're fighting to focus and you know, you're trying to reach for the coffee. Can you explain this further and how it can use these concepts of different hours of the day to advantage to get certain tasks finished? This idea that is basically that all of us, somebody we experience, all of us have certain times of the day where we have full of energy, we revved up, we can get things done. And we have other times of the day we are completely and utterly exhausted. We just can't think straight.
So the first thing you need to do is identify those hours, because it's not the same for everyone. Some people are early birds, some people are night owls. Right? Whichever one you are, you're going to be able to identify like, for some people, their productive hours is 2am. You they can literally sit and write a book at 2am. So it's not it's not better to be it's not better or worse to be a night owl or an early bird. It's whatever suits you. It really comes down to your nature when I realize these these things change over time.
People people change like when I was younger, I would be up from 5am every day and I will get everything done in the mornings. As I'm getting older and waking up a bit later. And the most
My work gets on in the afternoon, right?
Yeah, so this happens like people's productive hours change based on where they live based on what's going on in their lives, based on their age based on the seasons, right? All of these things make a difference. So you need to be constantly assessing yourself to figure out what are your productive hours. So like, I know, from 3pm to 4pm, I'm in a writing mode. So that's my writing time, that's when I sit and write my books. And I know that in the night, I just want to chill. So I don't schedule anything in the night unless it's really important, or at least a find a way to make sure that I that I that I have at night, right? So for example, if I know certain nights, I have a
lecture or an interview like this, or something else, on those days, I take a break, but earlier, so they have energy tonight to work. So it's all about getting to know yourself, really, and I think a lot of people don't do this, when other people don't get to know themselves, they are really afraid of what you're going to find out. Or they just, they're just too lazy to make an effort. But all aspects of personal development and self help begin with getting to know yourself, getting to know who you are inside. And this is knowing yourself, you know, at this hour of the day, I can do this at that hour today. I can't. Now, let me give this into a practical work example. Yeah, just say you
work eight hours a day and your normal nine to five jobs. Yeah, nine to five job. And you know, when you arrive nine o'clock in the morning, you full of energy, and you know, you're ready to get going. And you know, by the time you finish, have your lunch break, you're starting to dip, and about one hour before work loses you. Your mind is shut down, right?
Yeah, so how do you plan your day. So what you're going to do is you're going to take your high concentration tasks, and plan them from nine to 12. from nine to 12, I'm going to do all my high concentration tasks, the thing which requires the most brain powers, you know, the research the, the creative parts of your job, the things that really gonna push you to your level, you're going to do it then. Because you know, that's the time when you're ready to do that. And then the easier work. You know, maybe you need to answer some emails, maybe you need to read somebody else's report. Maybe you need to make a phone call somebody, you know, the easiest stuff. You leave it for the afternoon
when you're retired, right? Because when you're tired, I mean, you may not be in the mood to write a research paper. But you still have the energy to reply to someone's email or chat to someone on the phone. Yeah, something that's not to mind. The taxi? Yeah, yeah. And so this is the way you're gonna plan your day, you know, these are the hours that I'm productive. And so these are the hours when I'm going to get this done. And these are the hours when I'm not productive. So in these hours, I'm going to schedule those things which don't take up too much brainpower. You know, for example, in my job, sometimes a lot of copy and paste from one file to another, like a whole hour of just copying
and pasting. So what is it that you're copying pasting for an hour? I'm curious now.
It's basically XLS. Yes, yeah. Yeah. Lots of numbers. It's up from one sheet to another one Excel? Yeah. Yeah, like that. Yeah. So it's
actually for me, it's more of, it's more of just copy, paste, copy, paste, copy, paste, and I find it very boring. So that work I did for for in my mind is like bored. I will listen to a podcast and listen to Muslim life hackers, while copying and pasting. But I won't do that during the hour when I'm excited, because that's gonna kill all my excitement.
copy pasting is definitely not exciting at all. That's like the most frustrating part of my job. But
that's how you leave it to a time where, you know, your mind is a little bit more like, relaxed. Ideally, from a time management perspective. You want to delegate that to somebody else. But sometimes I think to myself that this is something so boring and so difficult, how can I bring somebody else with it, let me just be myself.
I feel sorry for the other person being too kind. Hamidullah. So what what we can take away from this is that, you know, you really have to get to know yourself and know what times of the day your energy levels are high, what times they're peaking, what times they're a bit lower, and really allocate what tasks go with what hour if things require a lot of concentration and head work, it should really go at the times a day, you know, when you're, when you're when you're quite active, your mind is like going going going? Yeah, and again, I said for everybody that differs. So don't think that there's one set time for everybody to work. If you're a night owl, then do that at night.
And if you're early bird type of person, do it in the morning, everyone's different you need to figure out for yourself which time of the day you are most productive and schedule your most high concentration tasks for that time of the day. Fantastic. Now I'm additionally in your book, you have a lot of strategies and great tips and things like that. But one thing that I think that would really benefit our listeners as well is your your daily planning and your weekly planning. So you talk about you mentioned in your book like two different strategies you currently use a hybrid of a seven day planner and the to do list to manage your time. So a few questions on this. Can you
explain these two for us and are you still using them? Firstly, actually, I have a bit of a gift for the
You listeners, and that is both of these tools I have, I can give them away for free. So I'm actually going to give it away for free for the listeners to this program will be a link inshallah, in the in the podcast page where they can click on the link. And if they send you the email address, I will email them these tools and a couple others as well one and figuring out your, your productive time related time being wasted. And another free seven day planner, another one your daily planner and another to do list. So inshallah, once you see exactly how it is, you'll be able to understand better how these things work. Now just to give you an idea of both the to do list is the most simple
form of time management, which basically means you write down everything that you need to do. And as you complete each task, you just tick it off. Right. That's like the most primitive form of time management. It's also the most effective in my opinion. The seven day planner is a bit more complex and the seven day planners I've got this from Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which really everybody must read correctly, one must read that book. I don't think I've ever met anybody who asked me what book they should read. And I didn't include that in the list of reading books. So this panic actually comes from there, right. And basically, you're going to divide
your week into seven days and divide your seven days into hours and schedule something for each hour. And you asked if I still use this system. Yes, I still use the to do list every single day of my life. Except Sundays, but not in a planner, the seven day planner I ended up last year for very specific reason. I believe the seven day planner is perfect for people who have a fixed work schedule, right? That if you are working nine to five, six days a week or five days a week, and you have fixed tasks, it's it's it's easy to manage your time with a seven day planner, you can mark it off on Monday at this time is a meeting on Tuesday. At that time, you've got to do this certain type
of answering my emails certain time I'm liking my reports, you can you can work it out like that. It gives you a full picture of your week and everything you need to do for every hour for the entire week. And that's a marvelous way to plan your day. But and he worked perfectly for me when I was just working for you and not doing anything else. Yeah. But at the moment, I'm homeschooling my kids, I'm writing my books, I'm a
radio presenter, I'm writing articles and meeting people and helping them personally I'm, I'm doing so many things, that having a fixed schedule in that way. It's, it's a bit too tightening. For me, it's not flexible enough. So I like a seven day planner to do is a bit more flexible. Yeah, I basically, I now have a to do list, I have a weekly to do list for each day of the week I have marked the most important thing I need to do. And then I have the daily to do list, which basically means every day, before I finish work, I make a list of everything I need to do the next day at work. And I organize it according to level of priority. Now I tell people to do this the day before,
okay, why? Because what happens is, if you do it the day before, then when you go to sleep, your subconscious mind works on it. And when you wake up, you know exactly what you've got to get done.
This is everything that needs to get done today. And this is the order I'm going to do it. And this is how I'm going to do it. But if you wake up in the morning, and you have your breakfast, and now you're going to sit and think okay, what do I need to do today, let me make my to do list, it's going to take up time, and only that you're going to forget a lot of things. Because if your boss told you something yesterday that you need to do tomorrow, don't write it down, he's gonna slip your mind the next morning. So you might end up taking half an hour to an hour trying to remember and trying to get you to do this together. What I notice if you do the day before, it takes about five
minutes, because you know, you put it around. So and also, what happens if you forgot something to add to your to do list, you've got the entire night to remember quickly added. So it's a real lifesaver that way. So the most important part here is that it plays on your subconscious, that you might be enjoying your evenings with your family, you might be sleeping, you might be eating your meals, but the back of your mind, right, the back of your mind is working your to do list and figuring out ways to get everything done the next day. So this is why I tell people make your to do list the day before. So ideally, what I would say is is that if you are someone with a fixed
schedule, you want to look into the seven day planner is an excellent tool for people who have a fixed schedule. And inshallah, if you sign up to my email, you will receive the seven day planner, you also receive the weekly to do lists and the daily to do list, right and how to use it. So if you're someone who's juggling a lot of responsibilities, so for example, working moms, generally a working mother, I would recommend for her to do list instead of a seven day plan. Yeah, because really, you can't have fixed hours if you got your kids needing your attention. And you've got to deal with clients and you've got to cook and you've got if you're doing all these things, you'd
rather have a to do list saying I've got to get all of this done, you know in the day, rather than saying for this hour, I'm only going to do that because it doesn't work like that. Yeah, for for working others or for people who work from home or from people who are on the road all the time. People who are traveling all the time. Right. So yeah, absolutely. Yeah, but people that you've listed better. Also when I also find with like the seven day plan out concept. If for example, I don't get something done by set an hour I feel like disappointed in myself. But if it's a to do list then
I've got a to do list. And I know that I've got to get this done today and a lot gentler. It's not exactly setting the timeframe. But I know, I know, roughly that I've got to get it done, how much time it's going to take as well. Actually, when I had my 70 panel, when I used that I actually had a way of getting around that. I got a cheap for the seven day planner. Yeah, yeah, I was about to hack into the hacker data, which was, every day in my in my plan, I had marked out one hour as flexible time, like a buffer time. Yes. So basically, if anything goes off, really anything gets derailed, I know I've got a one hour to catch up and you get it done. So that way, the 70 penalty flexible
enough that if you had a flat tire or a medical emergency, or whatever the case may be, you know, you've got an hour later to catch up or whatever you must that sounds really good. So if someone with a fixed schedule, go for the seven day planner. And if you're if you've got a lot of demands and a lot of things on your plate at the same time, then more properly the to do list and where can our listeners find these extra resources that you've got for us? And where can they sign up to a list so they can visit my website Islamic South hub.com slash Muslim life hackers. Right. So that's a special page for those listening in Islamic South Africa calm, which is my website slash Muslim
life hackers. And you will see a signup form where you sign in with your email address, and you will receive all four of the templates and also some time management activities that are sometimes activities that you will receive to help you think about how you are using your time and how you can use it more productively. These are all tools, which I prepared myself, specifically for anyone who's interested in learning time management under me. Fantastic. So I'll link that also in the show notes. And while we thank you so much for putting that together. We're getting towards the end of the interview. Now, what would you take things up a bit? What would you say to someone who says to
you, you know, otherwise? Yeah, I'm so sorry. But I couldn't get this task done for you. I'll get it tomorrow. I'm just a procrastinator. You know how it is? What would you say to someone who says that? You fired? Oh, gosh.
But to be honest with you, how I run my workplace is as the head teacher is, if someone says something like that to me, I give them personal time management training, and we work on what's causing them to be a procrastinator, and we help them to overcome that and we get them to use it to do this or to read seven habits or to use the seven day planner and to get their stuff in order and then again, if six months down the line if they still procrastinator then if I
can you tell if someone is a procrastinator, what are the signs, it's not really about signs, but I think every procrastinator knows they are procrastinator. I mean if you're sitting and watching YouTube or browsing Facebook or looking at cat means when you're supposed to be working, then you procrastinating right, procrastination is more about the reasons why are you procrastinating figuring out why and that's the big one. Yeah, so getting into the whys like I know, I've always wanted to write books. But between 2011 and 2014, I didn't write any books. And I was procrastinating I had all the ideas in my head, but I just didn't get it done. And I finally figured
out my why. And when I figured out my why I was able to overcome it. And my wife is one that many people have. And that is perfectionism. I would start writing a book, I would write the first chapter, and then I would read it and I will tell myself, there's no way in the world anyone's gonna read this. And I will just give up I did, I saw the first chapter for a different book. And the same thing would happen just
because because you want your writing to be perfect. You know, I mean, you're gonna give this to the whole world to see for the whole world read. And you know that perfectionism drive me to not write anything. And then finally, last year, I just saw myself let it go, write the book, get it done. Doesn't matter if it's perfect or not. If you find errors, you can publish a second edition. Yeah, a third edition, which was needed, you know, as long as it's out there and people are benefiting. That's what matters people can afford to discard. And so once exactly, once I let go of this idea of perfectionism, I stopped procrastinating 100. I published four books this year. That's incredible,
Mashallah. And that just shows how powerful it is to to find your reason and to overcome it. Right? That you can just do a complete transformation from someone who never write one book in four years, to someone who wrote four books in one years, it was all down to just letting go of that perfectionism and stopping my procrastination as to something for most people. Perfect. perfectionism is what's causing the procrastination. And this excellent book on this topic, which I read, it's a very rare book, I found the book sale, right? It's called the art of procrastination. Yeah, for anyone who's stuck in procrastination, read this book. It teaches you when to
procrastinate, and when not to procrastinate because, because really, there's actually times when you should progressing. I mean, if you know that tomorrow, during your productive hours, you will do a better job of something. Don't do it. Now, leave it for tomorrow, especially if you die, you know. So it's better to let your mind rest now and then do a better job tomorrow. If you know for example, right now, I am too tired to conduct this interview. Let's schedule it for another day. That will be perfectly cool because you'd rather do a quality job than just do it now because you feel you have to do it now. Right. So that's kind of procrastination is fine. But were you missing a deadline.
And you're just not getting things done and you're sitting and wasting time. Now Now we have a problem. Right? So I said, perfectionism is one cause of procrastination give two more famous causes of procrastination. One is lack of motivation. So if you're not motivated to do something, you're gonna procrastinate forever. There has to be motivation. And this is why for people who are in positions of authority, if you are giving people tasks to do, the best way to get the tasks done, is to give them motivation, to give them a reason to do it, give them a why. And if you get if you're just assigning work randomly, and people don't know how that works, gonna benefit them or anybody
else. They're not, they're either gonna procrastinate miss the deadlines, or they're gonna do a shoddy job, right? But if you can show them the why that if you do this, you will benefit all of these people in this way. Yeah, they now feel that energy to get it done. They'll feel that excitement, you can eat them because they have motivation. And likewise for yourself, you need to have motivation. And you can see I'm doing this because this is what's going to happen if I get it done. And the motivation will it'll just kill that procrastination, because it's a very powerful force. Motivation is a very powerful force. And the third cause of procrastination is just plain
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Yeah, some people are just lazy. And as I said, when I when I recognize laziness in people, I don't work with them, I don't hire them, I don't deal with them. Because it's something someone can only cure themselves. Nobody can force you to give up laziness. It really has to come from inside. Yeah, since a lot of productivity, like what you said before, it's really about knowing yourself and knowing the signs and knowing your own why's and how you fit into, say, a certain project and how your work contributes Yeah, this is why we call it self help. You are helping yourself, I'm just giving you the tools. You've got to use the children yourself to
help yourself become a better person. That's why these comics are all called self help topics. Absolutely. So while we've talked a lot about productivity, time management, finding the whys motivating yourself so does having manage that time and getting the Baraka mean having a constantly feel to do list and calendar like always doing doing doing, where does relaxation and fun and he mentioned fund early off, and procrastination even fit into the equation? It's a really good question. Firstly, we need to understand the difference between being productive and being busy. Right? There's a lot of people who are very busy, but they busy doing nothing, nothing that's going
to benefit them or anybody else. Think about if you're working all day and all night on some mundane job that's, that's that's just, you know, not benefiting you not uplifting your soul, you're just working, working, working, that that's not being productive, right, someone who spends an hour a day reading books, that is productive, someone who spends all day doing something, which is a waste of time, even if it's keeping them busy, that's not productive. So for me, time management, really the the key sign of, of true time management, is that you are able in a day, to get all of your tasks done to meet your goals, and you still have time to play with your kids to spend time with your wife
to hang out with your friends, or to just relax and have a cup of coffee. I mean, I gave you a list of all the things I'm doing. Yeah, those are the things I do in my work hours. I mean, I'm still hanging out with my kids, meeting my friends at the masjid and chatting, me just sometimes just sitting in a coffee shop and enjoying the atmosphere, you know, yeah, and a cup of coffee, that that's time management, the fact that you're able to make time for that and still make time to meet your goals. Because what's going to happen is if you're just working all day, all night, you're going to get burnt out. Or when you burn out, you're not going to get to be able to do anything,
you're not going to have the energy or the motivation to do anything. And so proper time management includes noticing when you need a timeout. So I do this, sometimes you'll be working for an hour, and I realize my brain is getting tired. I'll take a five minute break to watch a YouTube video or funny video. And I won't feel guilty about it, I won't feel guilty about it. Because I know it's gonna make me more productive than if I don't take this break. It's all going to take a toll on me. And within three hours, I'm gonna be burnt out. But if I take a five minute break every hour, my energy stays many hours longer. So this is being productive. I'm actually realizing Hold on, I need
a break. For example, sometimes I will, I will tell my boss that Listen, I'm very burnt out. I'm taking my wife and kids for a one week vacation Is that fine and you say go because you need a vacation so you can come back and do your job better. Because he understands that you need timeout to recover from burnout and do your work better. And so you need to realize, Oh, hold on, I need to take a break. I need to take a weekend off. I need to spend the evening relaxing. I need to take a vacation in my family. All of that is part of proper time management. Because what's going to happen is if you don't do that, you will burn out you will you will get demotivated, you'll stop chasing
your goals and you just give up right because you won't have the energy to move on. We are humans we are not robots. So we shouldn't feel guilty for you know taking time out to do these things either. never and never feel guilty or you know even with the Sahaba we know the story of Solomon alfonsina Buddha, the Buddha would just pray at night and fast in a day we didn't spend time with his wife etc. And someone finally shouted him for this. He told him listen, your body has a right over you. Your wife has a right over you. Your religion has the right oh
For you to give everything right. And a Buddha he went and he complained to the prophet SAW him about this. And the Prophet sallallahu Elisa replied, someone is right. You're just says Allah has rights over you that you worship Him, your wife has right over you that you spend time with her. Your body has rights over you that you sleep, and that you relax. All of this is part of being human. And to our religion does not allow us to pray all night and not sleep. It doesn't allow us to fast every day of our lives out taking a break, because Allah knows that we need breaks to function properly. Yeah, absolutely. You know, great points, great points. Don't not feeling guilty. Knowing
when your mind needs a break, knowing your body needs a break, when you should be spending time and just relaxing as well as you know, working towards those goals as well. That is proper time management. So just wrapping up a while. Yeah, so I know we mentioned a lot of books. During the interview with like the Opera House nation, we mentioned Stephen Covey as well. But there's something we ask all of our guests. So what are three books that you that you recommend to everyone, it could be in on the topic, or it could be just about anything, I'm not gonna plug my own books, because inshallah the listeners will buy it anyway. I'm going to talk about three time management
books that really made a huge difference in my life and in shaping my time management. Right. The first one, my personal favorite, is the four hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss. Oh, that's a great.
That's an amazing book, it really completely changed my whole concept of how to earn income and how to use my time and about dedication. There's just so much brilliant time management tips in it. The second one is Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, Brian Tracy is again, I mentioned, he's one of the experts in time management. And he's written like, I think half a dozen books on this topic. He's written like over a dozen books, but he's in like, just a half a dozen books on the topics of time management. But from all these time management books, Eat That Frog deal, specifically, what the tasks you don't want to do the work that you don't want to do. How do you get that done? How do you
put that into your time management? Right? How do you stop procrastinating those things? So for anyone who's dealing with work, or tasks or goals that you just don't want to do? Eat That Frog is the right book to read. I will teach you how to Eat That Frog. Metaphorically. The final book is by jack Canfield, right? The author of the famous series Chicken Soup for the Soul, right? Yeah. But now he wrote another book as well that many people might not be familiar with called the power of focus. Okay, now, our focus. Yeah, I know there's a lot of people don't know about this book of his and I read this book last year. It's, it's really brilliant, because it focuses on the lesson
focuses on focus, and the importance of it. Because really, when it comes to time management, many people's main problem is I can't concentrate, I can't focus, I'm getting distracted. And this book teaches you how to focus how to avoid distractions, how to get things done, how to be in the moment, how to stay on task. So for anyone whose time management problem is the inability to focus, the power of focus is a brilliant book to read. It's very well written very funny. It's got a lot of humor in it. A lot of brilliant tools. So really, these books they've shaped my time management and other what I've written is taken from all of them and put it together. But yeah, Timothy Ferriss,
the four hour workweek, Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog and the power of focus by jack Canfield. And if I didn't mention the fourth book, of course, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, fantastic, I'm definitely gonna check out the power of focus. That sounds really good, actually. Oh, yeah. Finally, where can our listeners find you on the worldwide web, your work and your books and getting the burqa and the other books that you've written recently this year as well? Sure, my website is Islamic self help calm, right. So we will Islamic self help.com join my mailing list over there. You'll also find they have a section they call the bookstore where all of my books
are available for purchasing and downloading. I actually published four books this year one you get for free by joining our mailing list. And the other three you can purchase from the bookstore once on self confidence one two and time management and the third one which I published this month is on homeschooling. Right? So these are written and of course you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram thing basically any social media website that I know about, I'm on it, but mostly on Facebook and Twitter, Facebook, some of my handled so I boom, boom Alia Ismail calm down on on Facebook. That's where I do most of my posting. Twitter's my second favorite place is smile calm
down. Yeah. And beyond that. I've recently started using Instagram. But LinkedIn is another thing that I use often. But of course, you know, the main place would be my blog, subscribe to my blog. So you get my articles everything immediately. Islamic self help calm that and Facebook are the two main places to find me fantastic and will make everything and makes it sound like self help.com your books and the extra resources that you have available for the person life hackers, audience in US, China. And finally, everywhere we are any last words any life hacks that you'd like to leave for our listeners? Okay, a life hack, speed listening. We all know about speed reading how many people know
about speed listening, right. A few years ago, I was teaching at a youth camp me and a friend of mine. he's a he's a life coach. We had two of us were teaching at a youth camp. And we are talking about you know that I'm not I'm not getting enough time.
To listen to all the lectures and podcasts I want to listen to, yeah, so he told me, why don't you speed Listen, like what in the world is speed Listen, he told me use VLC player and play the lecture at garbled speed. At times to speed, the entire one hour lecture will be complete in half an hour, and you will get the entire thing. And it's actually it was a very major life hack for me. Because at that time, I was studying online lectures. And those online lectures were like one hour, two hours each, and I can listen to like three of them a day. And it cut down to one and a half hours of listening to lectures, when I started thinking a double speed. So you know, this is something that's
a major life hack or take a lecture, play the double the speed. And what you know, what I noticed is most lecturers when they speak, they don't speak at the normal speaking voice. They speak slowly, right? Yes.
When you speak a double speed, it's actually a normal speaking voice, your normal level of speech. So you can still understand every word they are saying can still get the full message. And you and you do it in half the time. This is a huge time management. Sounds like a hacking time. Yep. Yeah. You feel like you're hacking time. You can tell people I listened to three hours of lectures in one and a half hours, then think you're a wizard or something. So yeah, well, the Muslim ban hackers out there that's the last hacker like legal word, speed listening, check it out, use VLC player or some similar tool. Use speed times to on any audio clip, and you'll see how quickly you can get things
done each channel for guys to get speed listening and start hacking time. Sorry. Oh, yeah, that is all we have time for for this interview today. Thank you so much for joining us and giving us a better understanding of time management, productivity, and how to hack our life even more just like that, okay.
for having me, salam, alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. Alright, so that wraps up our episode on time management and productivity with Abu merliah a smile counter. Here's something that really struck me that Abu Maria mentioned in the interview was the issue of long term goals, and how we're always looking for instant gratification in our everyday lives, you know, not being afraid to go at those long term goals, even if they might take years because the time is gonna pass anyway. And the question is, what do we have to show for it? It's still blowing my mind right now. So there were many great resources mentioned in the talk, as well as the time management resources and tools that
otherwise Leah has kindly put together exclusively for Muslim life hackers, listeners, which can find over at Islamic self help.com forward slash Muslim FAQs. So do check it out, as well as above Maria's latest books, including getting the burqa, which we spoke about during the interview, and start taking your time inshallah, that ends our episode until next time with some life, I guess. Assalamu alaikum.
Thank you for listening to the Muslim life hackers podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave a review for us on iTunes by going to Muslim life hackers.com forward slash iTunes