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  1. MashaALLAH, good post..it is how we prioritized our task, and it isn’t simple like we flip our hand. Serious and have consistency in our way, it will lead us to more productive, inshaALLAH.

    JazaakumuLLAH khayran

  2. I have a question. what if in my office I have to answer the phone and then the caller might be another worker who has asked me to do something yet more important? or if the boss bust in and ask to do another task immediately!? what should I do in that situation?

    • @ Plyicyer – depends on the interruption. If it is as you said “more important” than the task you’re working on, then of course you may drop what you’re doing and focus on the new task. But try your best to “shut off” times when you’re focussing on one particular important task of the day. Remove all distractions at this special time, e.g. disconnect your phone line, shut your door..etc. and tell your boss and colleagues that this “special time” they may not contact you unless it’s very urgent. If they know you’re trying to focus on an important task, they’ll support you. Hope this helps.

  3. Allahumdulilliha .. This is surely a good article ..

    However, what you said is also true – 21st century..
    I am from India and work as a software Engineer and here if you dont multi task your are not even considered an average employee also :(

    I never had to do this when I was studying, but corporate life is totally different.

    Any how thats the way it is and I have master it to an extend … but I will surely follow point 5 in your article as much as possible and try to be more productive in multi – tasking ;)

    I love this site …
    Jazakallah.

    •  I am a graphic designer, like your job this to require many kind of things to be done at once. My point is lets not approach it as multitasking but as many micro uni-tasking filling up the day. I call it micro-tasking.

  4. I can definately see this being applicable to situations involving study, work, family time, sport etc (you can’t kick a goal, and be memorising a theory, or be counselling your sister and performing surgery) but for situations where you’re doing things that involve minimal concentration and skill (scanning items at the self help and calling up a friend or printing off papers while having breakfast, or even listening to Quran on the ipod whilst watering the garden etc) you would be saving yourself heaps of time, which you could add onto the time you have for the pursuit of Islamic Knowledge (without multi-tasking :D)

    • Good contribution, Brother. However, I think even for situations that require minimal concentration you should NOT multi-task. This is the start of single-tasking your big actions that require maximum concentration.

    • Sister , its not good to listen to Qur’an, while doing any work because the important thing is to ponder upon the meanings not just mere listneing. if u say that i’ve read or heard the meanings of Allah’s words so i would advice you that u should still read or hear with complete concentration always as it will lead you to the more hidden treasures reside in its meanings, last but not the least its not one’s friends chit chat, it is the word of Allah, If Allah the greatest listens to us with complete concetration then y dont us ?? may Allah guide us to the right path.

  5. I agree with the premise, that the Prophet (s) never multi-tasked in the meaning that we use today. But what about the idea that he was constantly occupied with the remembrance of Allah (swt)? Shouldn’t we also strive to remember Allah every moment? Is that not a form of doing two things at once? And if not, how do we attain a level of constant taqwa/God-consciousness while performing our daily activities without doing both at the same time?

  6. Assalamu Alaikum.
    An excellent write-up, MashaAllah.
    You can do a good deed in an excellent ONLY WHEN you fully concentrate and involve yourself in that single deed. The most excellent example, as rightly mentioned, is that of our glorious Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). He had multi roles to perform, but each role he used to execute by way of single-tasking. And that precisely is the reason why our Prophet (peace be upon him) is the greatest of all humans who ever walked on the face of the earth.
    InshaAllah, I plan to include this write-up in my Seerah blog http://islamcalling.wordpress.com/
    Muqith.

  7. Jazakallah for this article. I am a working mum, in a demanding professional career, I am very involved in Islamic dawah and education and of course working hard at attaining jannat. Previously I was of the opinion that I was doing a lot and that I was a skilled ‘multi-tasker’, but i was working so hard, 14 hours a day to stay on top of everything. In november last year, I listened to a lecture, where I felt the speaker was talking about me – always too busy! But busy doing what? So I took a few steps back and refocused!

    I still do multiple tasks in a day, but for the larger task just one thing at a time. One thing I have cut out is social networking during working hours, and it has really, really helped. It took a while to stop looking at my blackberry, and not to go onto Facebook when I was in a boring meeting.

    And there’s one old fashioned tip that has saved so much time, I make phone calls. Compare how long it takes to go back and forth in emails, it’s amazing the amount of time it takes. Pick up the phone say what you need, get the answers you need and it’s done!

    I do multitask with some activities, like exercise and thikr, driving and memorizing Quran, having picnic lunches at the park – my family eat, my boy plays in the fresh open air, I read a book while watching him.

  8. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) was an incredible statesman,leader – both religious and poilical. He lived and preached Islam every moment in every thing he did. If he was involved in a battle or political discussion, he had Islam in the backdrop. He prayed Salah even if it was in middle of a war or a camp. Multi-tasking is need of the hour, Allah says to do whats dutiful and righteous in adherence to Islamic principles. 

    At a typical work place, there are tasks at hand which perhaps could be finished if multi-tasked and not taking one by one.. Rather, whatever we do, we need to put our thought/consciousness behind it. 

    Summing up, simply don’t take tasks that we would not be able to do within the promised time. If you accept multiple tasks, be confident and give cent percent and finish off all..

    -My perspective 

  9. Indeed in the Messenger of Allâh (Muhammad SAW) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allâh and the Last Day and remembers Allâh much. al ahzab: verse 21

  10. I love this! I never understood the fascination with multi-tasking, but in an ever-distracted world, single-tasking is increasingly important. As Muslims, we should be great proponents of it: aiming to achieve excellence in all that we do, insha’Allah. It was great to read this in the light of our Beloved Rasul ﷺ. JazakAllah khairan, may Allah reward you with the good! 

  11. I agree, but sometimes  like some have said tasks which don’t require our full attention all the time it’s ok…like say if you’re cooking something and while you’re waiting for something to bake or cook you can read, watch…something, but perhaps maybe have an alarm or reminder of some sort, so that you don’t burn anything…great artcile Jazakum Allahu khair…certainly something to try and get into the habit of insha Allah…we’ll definately help us to learn again how to concentrate fully at the task at hand

  12. you guys should really make this whole thing an app :) i would love to read the articles during my travelling time :)

  13. It helped me a lot to deal with my stress I have been going through nowadays being multitasker , what I used to be before but not anymore after having certain health issues,
    Jazakumullahukhairan kaseeran

  14. nice article MASHALLAH ,well hard worked..i just dnt get the sense of last question …CAN U DO BETTER THEN HIM (S.A.W)?…it sounds disrespectful(surely not intended),i red it 2,3 times to make sure i red correct….wat do u mean by it ??

    • Thank you Sr. Sana!

      The last question is meant to be a rhetorical one. The article talks about the fact that Muhammad (SAW) didn’t multi-task, but we – in today’s world -think mastering multi-tasking would help us be more productive as compared to uni-tasking.

      So the rhetorical question is saying when he (SAW) is the best example to follow, do we think we can do better than him (when we erroneously choose to multi-task)?

      Does it make sense now?

  15. Excellent article! One of the huge issues in our communication today is that we find it hard to give someone our undivided attention. That is why, it is so common for us to be chatting with someone on our Smartphones while we spend time with friends, or read a blog while skype chatting with relatives overseas. What ends up happening is that we become distracted and miss important information that they may be sharing. Naturally it affects the quality of your relationship if you are chatting with someone on skype and she is busy telling you about her health concerns, but you are so caught up in the interesting post on FB that all you mutter is a preoccupied ‘hmm’. One of the things I am trying to work on is giving people undivided attention, especially when the communication is taking place online and therefore the person at the other end cannot see that I am sorting laundry while they tell me their problems! Even if you have shorter conversations but really give undivided attention, I think you will feel you had a much more fulfilling conversation if you were not trying to multi-task. Tons of lessons in this article, it is a really good one, jazakumullaahu khairan!

  16. I read in one book, that women tend to be better at multi-tasking, while man tend to be better at focusing on one task at a time.

  17. What a wonderful post bother…..I also used to think that being multitasking is equal to be more productive but Seerah of our prophet (S.A.W) is the best example for us. We should focus on only one task at a time and concentrate fully on it.

  18. I think it’s important to try and focus on tasks one at a time but as a mother it is hard to do things one at TIME. Focusing on one task with full concentration does make it quicker to do. Also planning is so useful, deciding what to do and when it needs to be done saves a lot of time. Prioritizing allows you to get the things that must be done out of the way and have a sufficient rest i.e not starting jobs/tasks that can wait.

  19. Jazakallah khair for this wonderful wonderful article … Simply Love it… Hope to put it into practice Insha Allah.

  20. Asalaam-a-alaikum.. Thank you for the article.. It’s very helpful.. But I have different type of a problem.. Its having problem focusing on the activities i am doing because of the daydreaming issue that i have since my childhood..In my childhood days, it took only few minutes I hardly notice that it’s problem.. Days go by.. It grew with me.. The lenght increased.. I lost hours, memories and improtant events.. Today daydreaming has become so much a problem for me.. Sometimes I have a task in hand and I am doing it.. Suddenly it happens, I completely forget what I am doing stay lost in daydreaming until someone calls me or I hear a noise… After I am waken, I feel clueless, shame and very scared.. I don’t know how to stop it.. Some of my family members have found me talking to myself.. I talk to myself in my daydreaming.. I feel so sad and upset.. I am uneasy to share it with my friends or family member..coz I think they will find me stupid or crazy.. I need to find help for this.. If you help me I did be grateful..

    • Wa alaikumussalaam warahmatullah Neshoo,

      Thanks for reaching out to us. Just by reading about your experience, I can understand how distressful daydreaming must be for you.

      Here’s an article I found that offers practical tips on how to stop daydreaming: http://www.healthguidance.org/entry/15874/1/How-to-Stop-Daydreaming.html

      In addition to those tips, a key tip that is sure to help, in sha Allah, is this one: try to focus and maintain that focus in your salah. If you try really hard not to let your mind wander during salah and focus on it, it’ll significantly develop your focus muscle help you focus in other areas of life.

      I cannot stress the importance of this exercise and the impact it creates in your life – both spiritually and physically. It will definitely take time, but keep trying sincerely and make lots of dua. It will come, in sha Allah. :)

  21. Assalamualaikum. What if in the case of a house wife? A 3 year old daughter is asking for chocolate-milk and she wont stop asking, another 3 months old son needs a diaper change or else it will leak, the milk is kept over the stove for boiling and a second late will spill it, the husband is asking for food to be served and he is back home tired from work, the salah time is about to end and i need to make wudu cover my awrah and pray urgently before it gets qadaa, some guests are to arrive at home and the home needs cleaning, the phone is ringing….and it goes on! How to handle all of them together? Often this happens with me, when i lie down for sleep at night, i regret for that day that i couldnt fulfill all my roles today as a Muslimah, as a wife, as a mother, as a home-maker, as a Dawah carrier, as a home-schooler. (even sometimes as a human being when i completely forget to eat something – i really get that forgetful!!)

    • Assalamu Alaikum,

      uni-tasking’s efficiency gain stems from good preparation & avoiding unnecessary “changeover time” (time taken to change between one task & another). Our ability to set our own priorities & carry them out may be affected by other wonderful beings such as children, spouses & employers. Our task in life might even be to “buffer” somebody else’s time so that they can be very productive.

      If our role is to multi-task we can improve things by reflecting on disruption & planning routines that take initiative to reduce it. A favourite of mine is to set-up child A to read to child B before washing-up.

      Jazakallah khair to the author for a helpful article.

  22. Assalamu alaikum

    Very very interesting article. I do have a question about the definition of multi-tasking. I just read your article on benefiting from your commute time, which I also find important because I spend 3 hours a day on some form of transport on the days I go to my university. But then isn’t listening to something during that time also multi-tasking, especially if we’re combining it with driving or cycling?

    I don’t disagree with this article at all. In fact I very much agree with it, and I can’t think of an example of the prophet peace be upon him multi-tasking either.

    I have sometimes felt that there are certain types of multi-tasking that are possible. Or at least one, that I usually feel works for me, which is a physical action + a mental action. For example, cleaning while listening to a lecture. Cleaning is something that with practice is mostly done automatically so little thought is needed. Or driving a well known road while listening to something. But I think that if you’re driving somewhere new or maybe there’s an accident or something, this requires some thought and attention.

    Do you think this is a reasonable argument?

  23. Salamo 3alekom
    Dear Brother

    Thank You so much for this good article.
    No one can reach our prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).

    I am software engineer and have to be multitasking in work and personal life.
    It is so difficult.

  24. Thanks for the advice… I just discovered the blog and hope to keep up with it. Since it cover the biggest concern in my life. Balance between this world and hereafter.
    When I get into practising religion, I usually gets really obsessed. But when I think of taking a breath, I get involved in Dunya so much I lose touch of aakhirah.
    I hope this blog helps me become a productive muslim as well.
    I am aiming to become a novelist and share the greatest message of Mankind wrapped up in fiction.
    Wish me well ;)

  25. Cool article brother, thank you it really puts perspective on things for me InshaAllah. I hope to get that book you might be working on… jazuk AllahKhai3r

  26. I refer to this a few times a week just to try to get it in thought Al-hamdillah. One thing I noticed is about the prophet (Peacebe upon him), “focussed on each of his (Peace be upon him) role individually, at the present moment, and didn’t get distracted” this to me answers what people keep saying that their situation is complicated. like when you focus on a task, focus on your role if your task is too complicated, like your role as being a teacher. I think that’s right..

    Click to read more: http://productivemuslim.com/did-muhammad-peace-be-upon-him-multi-task/#ixzz3gn4LdOkw
    Follow us: @AbuProductive on Twitter | ProductiveMuslim on Facebook

  27. I am guilty of multitasking, was doing about 3 other things while reading the article before I realised. Thanks a lot for this article. InshaAllah shall work on it.

  28. Assalamualikum. JazakaAllah Khair for this great thoughtful post. I read this post a while back and have been thinking about it ever since. I finally wrote a post regarding this on my blog ( http://dropofinkling.com/beingme/?p=302 ). Your post was my inspiration and I included a link to this post :D So just dropped by to thank you :)
    May Allah blessings be with you :D

  29. I may not do better than the prophet (peace be upon him), but as the fith advice telles us to do, I m gog to start learning and practicig it right now ! Insh’ALLAH

  30. Being productive should be oe of the main goal of the ummah i this dunya… JazakaAllah Khair for all these good good advices, may ALLAH make it a success for you and your team in dunya and akhira

  31. jazakallahou khair bro really i like what i read here do you allow me to take these ideas to make them small videos with any local imams ?

  32. SubhanAllaah :) May Allaah guide us all closer and closer and closer to Islam.

    This article has (Alhamdlillaah) sparked a new layer of Guidance.

    Sincerely, JazakumAllaahu Khairan :)

    Salaam Akhee Faris.

    Allaah bless you.

  33. I have had real time focusing because I was doing one thing wrong that is, multi-tasking. Reading your article about mode of life that is Sunnah will definitely, definitely help in regaining focus. Jazak Allaah for sharing this wonderful peace of information. You will be rewarded. In Shaa Allaah and Aameen.