5 Essential Hacks for a Professional Muslimah

Productive Muslimah

5 Essential Hacks for a Professional Muslimah | Productive Muslim

As a Muslimah working in the West, I know the demands of managing work life, giving quality time at home and then being involved in contributing to the wider community. This is one of the biggest challenges I hear from working Muslimahs, which often leads to sisters burning out before they get to put dinner on the table! In light of these challenges, I thought I’d share some of the life hacks which have helped me improve my life as a Professional Muslimah. I work full-time for a leading international charity as the Campaigns & Education Coordinator (a long title for a big job!), but one thing I always tell people is that alhamdulillah I have been blessed in regards to my job – because I absolutely love it! I am always trying to become a ‘Productive Muslimah’, like many of you!

Here are some of the ‘life hacks’ that have helped boost my productivity both at work and home. In sha Allah I hope it will also allow you to gain more control over your time to do the things that matter most in your working day:   

1. Do a “Week Ahead View”

For me, preparation starts on most Sunday evenings. I start to plan and assess my forthcoming week, by doing simple things like looking at my calendar plans for the week for any important meetings or deadlines, to help me get a sense of what my week will look like. This allows me to factor in a ‘buffer zone’, which is the time needed to prepare for a meeting or travel somewhere. If I know that the week ahead will be particularly busy in meetings or other deadlines, then I am very careful to accept any ‘non-urgent’ tasks – sometimes it is better to say no! Additionally, I almost always leave my weekend for family and social events and try to divide my time between late evenings and early evenings at work, so I can spend quality time at home.   This “week ahead view” also helps me to set my intentions and think positively about getting into the office at the start of the week with an action plan, instead of dreading that Monday morning!   

2. Create Priority Task List 

As soon as I get into the office, I write a task list for the day. Whether it is in the form of an (evergrowing!) to-do list, or using ProductiveMuslim resources like the Taskinator, having a hand written list to stick on your desk is an immensely helpful tool to keep your day focussed. Answering emails is a tempting thing to do as soon as you reach the office, but it might be helpful to extract key tasks from emails and add them to your task list. For example, our Content Co-ordinator, Sister Samira, checks her daily emails by reading the subject line and email preview, and tagging the most important ones, like articles she is expecting etc. This way, her most important emails stand out and she doesn’t get too bogged down with non-urgent emails.

Usually by the time the afternoon comes, you have all sorts of unexpected interruptions so it’s essential you get the most important task done, or at least started, in the morning. It is also useful to use breaks between tasks to catch up with colleagues (work-related talk only!) to give you an idea about what is going on in your organisation.  

3. Don’t Forget Family Tasks! 

As women, I share the pain that there isn’t enough time in the working day to take care of unmet family tasks, especially in the West where working hours tend to take a large part of your day. So in order to get tasks done for my family, I usually list any important family errands on my way to work like ‘call doctors to book an appointment’ or ‘pay bills over phone’ – I usually then complete these during my lunch hour, breaks or commute from work. This ensures the family-related duties are completed and are not forgotten in my list of priority tasks for the day.The worst thing is when you have been asked by your spouse or parent to do something and then forgetting to do it, or running out of time.   

4. Get a Workplace Mentor

Since I got into the working world, having an experienced mentor has been invaluable. Most companies and organisations are very understanding and accommodating in giving new employees a mentor to shadow. My manager is a female who has 10+ years of experience and so alhamdulilah, she is more like a mentor than a manager. We have a very special relationship as she offers me advice on how to progress professionally, advising me on how not to make the mistakes she has made, right down to personal advice in my life choices which I truly value and cherish. Within 2 years of joining the company, I got a promotion and raise in my salary which was due to having a supportive mentor in my manager, alhamdulilah. Having someone who sees your work day in day out and can advise you to improve in certain areas of your career is essential for growth.

5. Pursue a ‘Passion Project’

It is essential to make time to pursue your passions and interests outside of work to boost your energy and creativity as a Muslimah! These are what I call ‘passion projects’ which are causes or projects outside of work, usually limited to 3 per year to avoid burnout! Having a hobby (sports, art, reading, knitting, baking, etc.) and volunteering are great projects to pursue, giving you something to look forward to during the working week. Throughout my working life I have always been involved actively in community projects and, of course, the best is getting to work with ProductiveMuslimah! Research has shown that when people lead lives with projects they care about without any incentive of being paid, they are motivated to do well in other areas of life including their paid work.

Last but not least, the best advice to a  working Muslimah would be to make sincere dua to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for success in every aspect of your life, for barakah in your time and work, and to make you of benefit to the Ummah. This has undoubtedly helped me throughout my life, academic, working and family life. Ultimately, there is no success except by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).

What other hacks can you think of for professional Muslimahs? Share your thoughts with us below! 

 
About the Author:

Productive Muslimah is a Muslimah who is striving for the highest station in Jannah by making the best of all the resources around her. Sister Lotifa Begum serves as Head of Productive Muslimah at ProductiveMuslim.com. She has gained a huge insight into a wide range of productivity-related issues and has delivered workshops for sisters on issues relating to time management, personal development and productivity. She is passionate about sisters excelling in their pursuit of productivity.


12 thoughts on “5 Essential Hacks for a Professional Muslimah

  1. If you are working full time, and especially if your income is greater than, say 30% of total household income, then I think Productivity Hack #6 is “Get husband to help”. Now since I am a brother and do not want to be excommunicated from the circle of brothers I must let you know in advance that we will procrastinate when it comes to helping with dinner, dishes, etc, so don’t lean on us too heavily. However, assuming our wives are also working, it is completely acceptable for most of us to be on dinner duty twice a week or so, take the kids out for some Dad time, as well as consistently help with chores. Just drop a few subtle hints in advance, here and there and you will find that we are more than happy to shoulder some of the burden.

    1. Assalamu alaikum

      Productive Muslimah Content Co-ordinator here – JazakAllah khayr for this comment! Very refreshing :) may Allah reward you for supporting your wife in such a manner :)

      Samira

  2. Alhamdulillah.. this is what i need to rearrange my time to be better single mum, civil servant, and muslimah.. Khairan katsiira sister.. May Allah bless you and your beloved people for this kindness.. Salaam from Indonesia..

  3. Great tips barakallahu fiki, I use my lunch break walking while doing dikr, or listening to
    Inspiring scholars, it boosts my energy for the rest of the day,
    Also, I am applying a great tip that I read 2 years ago on productive Muslim, I wake up every morning half an hour before fair pray a couple of rakaas and read a couple of pages of Quran, the best energizing part of the morning, it is calm and peaceful,
    Also reading 2 pages or more after every prayer makes it 10 pages a day and keeps quran alive in our hearts.
    I have a son who has autism, so once a week, I run a sports program for him and other kids with autism, it is the best part of my week, seeing these kids growing and learning great skills while having fun is so rewarding Alhamdoulilah
    May Allah keep us all patient and grateful in all situations

  4. Jazak Allah sister. I particularly like the idea of planning for the week ahead as opposed to the day ahead. I am excited to try it. Insha Allah

  5. @Sister A: Here are some practical tips on finding a mentor – write up a list of people who are in your circles of influence, these could range from family, friends, colleagues etc Then ask yourself, which of these people do I respect and admire? Do they have strengths in the areas I have weaknesses? Then shortlist some of these people to ask them for their time and advice as a mentor, at first it could just be one hour a month but then if you needed more advice of assistance from them you could arrange to meet them more regularly. The role of the mentor is to guide you and help you excel iA in your goals. Hope that helps! Thank you all for your wonderful comments and tips above, I pray we can all be productive in our work using these tips! ;)

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