A dear friend of mine, Mai ElFarnawany, gave an amazing talk on productivity during Ramadan recently. We constantly hear about the importance of productivity during Ramadan, protecting our time and filling it with forms of worship. Many of us feel inspired with Ramadan approaching, yet when we begin fasting and days pass, we slowly drift into old habits or find it difficult to achieve the goals we were hoping to. Before we know it, Ramadan is over and we feel like we fell short and the disappointment and guilt overtakes us. So therefore, we know that we must do things differently if we are not achieving success, but how, and where do we start? The main idea behind achieving productivity is to prepare and set goals. So here is where Mai's talk comes in. Not only was she incredibly inspiring and informative, but also extremely practical. Mai mentioned the idea of using the word Ramadan as a criterion on how to set our goals. Each letter standing for a different way on how we should set our goals, what our goals should look like, and how to maintain them. Seems fairly straight forward and easy to remember right? So let's start setting and accomplishing our goals for this Ramadan inshallah.
R: Relevant. We need to find goals that are relevant. These goals are relevant if they help us achieve our ultimate goal which is to get closer to Allah (SWT). These goals also have to therefore be relevant to you personally. Is this goal going to work for your life and allow you to build that connection with Allah? This relevance has to also be linked to the Quran in some way as Ramadan itself is linked to the Quran.
A: Aspirational. We always hear about setting goals to be achievable, but in Ramadan our goals should not just be achievable, but aspirational. We should push ourselves out of our comfort zone, to improve and reach new heights and maintain that level throughout the rest of the year until the next Ramadan.
M: Measurable. To be able to successfully achieve our goals during Ramadan, they have to be something we can specifically keep track of and hold ourselves accountable to. For example, I will read 1 page of Quran every day, or I will read for 15 minutes every day. The more specific you get as well, the easier it will be to maintain it, as you will set this goal into your mind and into your day.
A: Assess. We have to be able to assess our goals and it can be whenever and however we chose. Whether that means at the end of the day you write in your journal or have a spreadsheet you check off everyday, the importance is that you're able to track if you're meeting these goals. Umar Ibn Khattab (ra) said, "bring yourself to account before you are taken to account, and weigh your deeds before you deeds are weighed". If you record and keep track of your actions today before the day of judgment, then you will become more aware of what will be presented to Allah on that very day.
D: Definite. Make things clear, precise and relate it to yourself and include the word "I" into your goal sentence. For example, "I want to read 1 Juz from the Quran every day". Mai mentions in her talk that your brain registers the "I" and continues to remind you to complete this task.
A: Appointment/Agenda. Just as we would set doctors appointments into our schedule so that we remember to go, we also need to set specific appointments with Allah in our day. Find an empty spot in your day, even if it is 15 minutes on your way to work, or 30 minutes before you go to sleep, and block that time. We're more inclined to complete our goals when we have set appointments with them.
N: Novelty. Have you been stuck setting the same goals and not been able to achieve them? This year, set new goals so that you're able to achieve what you're wanting to this Ramadan. There are many pathways of connection to Allah, so try a different path if your other ones are not working. Your brain registers previous goals that were unsuccessful as just that, not successful, and therefore pushes you away from achieving them as they reside in a negative mindset. Negative goals have the same affect on your productivity. Try to set goals that use the terms "I am going to do___" rather than "I am not going to do ___". A negative goal can become very consuming in your mind and thats all you may start to think about. A positive, new goal can help change your mindset and aid in achieving your goal and ultimately bring you closer to Allah, which is our main purpose.
So using these 7 letters from the word Ramadan, Mai continued in her talk to give advise about how to practically implement these types of goals into our schedule:
1. Look at your calendar and find the times where goals can be placed.
2. Look at your daily consistent routines and identify which routines can allow for you to accomplish a goal. If you attach a goal to this routine that is already in your schedule then you know you are more likely to achieve this goal during this time.
3. Have a different plan for the weekend and the weekdays as these days may be different.
4. Remember about barakah. If you are finding your schedule to be extremely busy and it appears that there is no time to fit goals into, remember that when you're intentions are for Allah and you're doing something to get closer to Allah, then there will be baraqah in it and you'll be able to achieve this goal even if it doesn't appear possible. Time will become longer you will be able to be more productive, efficient and achieve more. Therefore even if your schedule doesn't appear to have the space, block in your goal anyways with the intention for Allah and inshallah you will be able to achieve it.
A big shoutout and credit goes towards Mai who gave great insight into how to be productive and set effective goals during Ramadan! I'm just glad to have been there to pass these tips onto you and inshallah you will find them helpful. Remember, even though Ramadan has started, it is not too late if you did not get off on the right foot. Start now and end Ramadan the way you intended to!
Here at J.Veil we believe in supporting community and our Ummah. Therefore we are proud to let you know that a portion of our profits go towards Islamic Relief's Orphan Sponsorship Program.
Discount Code: "blog20"