Productivity is often looked upon as something unattainable. After all, each person is overwhelmed by their own life’s responsibilities, and thinking about what to do next constantly is yet another stress to be dealt with! However, the message of the day is: productivity is not about perfection. It is not about complaining about all the things gone astray, but about building a stronger you in order to mould your life’s message, and contribute positively to the Ummah to the best of your abilities.
Defining Your Personal Struggles
Nit-picking over the details of your life can be frustrating. Thinking about whether everything will fall into place (or not) can be overwhelming. Taking in the information coming at you from all angles can be consuming and heart breaking. You’re constantly thinking about the pressures from your family and friends. You want to pass your exams. You want to advance in your career. You want to run a loving and fulfilling household.
Each and every one of us is experiencing a different phase of life; and whatever phase you find yourself in has its own unique struggles and challenges.
Defining your personal struggles is the first step to overcoming such difficulties, and there is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself.
Too often, we are told we have to think of others before ourselves. However, if our personal affairs are a mess, how are we to become productive individuals? If we are not at peace with ourselves, with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) how can we make peace with our circumstance, or our community?
We cannot. Do not feel ashamed to take time for yourself. Get yourself in shape mentally, physically and spiritually because they all work together to create a healthy you.
The Collective Struggles of the Ummah
Not only are we dealing with our personal struggles but for many Muslims the collective struggles of the Ummah are on our mind. It would be silly not to acknowledge the change occurring in many predominately Muslim nations. Some of us are experiencing the shift first-hand; others are consumed by thoughts of families and their safety in these countries; and some of us watch from afar with a heavy heart – a mix of apprehension and hope for what is yet to come.
We carry these thoughts with us every day. We are conscious that there is something much bigger going on. But we may not always know how to relate, or know what we can do to make things better.
If you are thousands of miles away from a situation what can you do to impact change? Nothing?
You have more power than you think. As Shaikh Haitham Al-Haddad states: “Be effective people wherever we go, being proactive is a mentality.”
You may not have the power to change other people, or other situations, but you have the power to revolutionize your own life.
Kindly keep the whining and complaining to yourself. When you see something you are unhappy with, step up and make change.
The era of the helpless Muslim is over. You are in charge of your life. You are in charge of the actions you make, and every single action you take either enhances your life, or adds no value to it. It is your choice.
The Details of Productivity
In addition to the responsibilities and weight of our personal and collective struggles many of us try to press forward with a productive outlook on this life and beyond. We try to gather and learn time-management techniques and other such tools that will help us make the most of our limited capacity in this world. For the most part, we know that no matter how hard we work, regardless of our accomplishments without a higher purpose – the direction of akhira – it is all meaningless.
For most of us, the path we are on is not about the details of productivity. For most of us it is understood that we cannot master every single time-management or productivity hack; nor is productivity about that, nor is it about doing something/anything to fill up your time. The focus is much larger than the details of productivity.
The importance is in the by-product of productivity – success in this life (whatever that may mean for you at your particular stage of life), and peace with our Creator, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
Moving beyond the details and nit-picking and looking through your personal Grand Lens, what do you see?
Productivity is not about perfection. Productivity is not about preaching, looking down upon or reshaping others, which is outside of your control. Productivity is about taking the applicable information available to you in a 21st century world and grafting a life worth living in this world, with your gaze constantly focused on akhira.
Take the lessons of productivity found on this website and build a stronger you, so you are able to overcome your personal struggles. Let us overcome our personal battles so we may step up and solve the collective problems of the Ummah, bi’ithni Allah.
About the Author
Ahlam Yassin is a freelance writer, mom and imperfect Muslimah trying her best to live productively. You can find out more at www.prowriterinc.com.