In How to Plan & Execute an Effective Routine (Part 1), we looked at planning tools. In this part, let’s look at how we can go about making an effective plan.
First it’s important to understand all the facets of a Muslim’s life to be planned for.
Spiritual renewal includes activities that define your true purpose in life and establish your connection with Allah such as salah, Qur’an recitation and reading Islamic texts.
Physical renewal can include a healthy workout routine, contributing to household chores and spending time on personal grooming, hygiene needs and well-balanced meals. Devote a generous amount of time towards polishing mental skills and plan for high achievements; not just to be on the edge.
Additionally, develop creative interests such as blogging, creative writing, public speaking, art, etc. to polish your intellect as well as to contribute effectively to the Ummah. It is also important to develop social/emotional intelligence by keeping in touch with friends and making time for family activities to know what’s going in your house, discuss solutions to problems, and share stories and jokes.
Effective Planning Advice
Planning is more than just jotting down activities on a to-do list. It requires careful thinking, organizing, and prioritizing.
- To begin, write down important deadlines and events against the dates first so you never miss anything. Writing them on a wall calendar, posting it to your bulletin board, or setting a reminder on your mobile calendar will give you a bird’s-eye view of your long term plans.
- Try to incorporate a wholesome mix of spiritual, physical, mental and emotional/social components all in a day to get the best out of your time. They may not have to be big tasks of each but a balance of everything.
- Do not overstuff the daily plan because you’re human and you are bound to wear out. Strike a balance between physical work and desk-work i.e. chores that need exercising of your body and school assignments, etc. Too much of the first will exhaust you physically and too much of the second will exhaust you mentally.
- Break down major projects and bigger tasks. For example, when I’m assigned a research-based article topic from Productive Muslim, I make sure I carefully divide the word count and complete portions of the article on different days.
- Estimate the time each activity will take, being moderate in your decision, and create a time-scheduled to-do list. For example, if you have to vacuum the house and you estimate it will take an hour, record it as “4:00pm-5:00pm – Vacuum the house.” This way you will never run out of time because you will know how much time you have on a particular day.
- Don’t overdo it! Don’t juggle too many tasks on the same day if you are uncertain of your stamina. You may have good time at hand but you may wear out and not be able to complete it. Arrange smaller tasks with bigger projects.
- Don’t forget to review your to-do list at the end of the day. Carry forward the activities you could not complete and tick those that you managed well.