**FEATURE ARTICLE OF THE MONTH**
The depths to which we can explore, and the limitless things we can do leave us spending hours on end surfing the net, playing games, and updating our Facebook statuses! We are failing to use this great development to educate ourselves and to become more productive. Rather than benefiting from it, we have allowed it to become our biggest distraction and productivity killer of all time.
Many distractions are often a route towards haram from the use of the Internet; social networking sites, games, public forums, chat-rooms, and even pornography, A’oodhubillah.
With a world of fitna before our very eyes, Shaytan is always ready to attack. Be aware that it is his trick and his plan to distract the believer and even the best of us can become lured into these distractions.
Focussing on the Task at Hand
When you sit at your computer with a mental to-do list, you are very vulnerable to becoming distracted. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, we lose track of what we have come to do and find ourselves doing something else, or often in the case of computers – many other things!
Before you begin, ask yourself – What have I come here to do? Write it down.
As basic as this may sound, it is very important to always set one’s intentions clearly before doing anything. Islam places much emphasis on making intention, and there is always wisdom behind the teachings of our deen.
“Actions are by their intentions” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Start in the Name of Allah
As with anything, we should begin every task with the name of Allah. As you switch on your computer, say “Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim” (In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.) As a reminder to myself, I often have the Basmalah written on the desktop wallpaper of my computer.
Be Aware of Allah
Remember that Allah is watching everything you do. Your every action is being recorded, and one day you will be questioned for all of your actions. I mention this because many computer related distractions we face today fall within the haram category.
We are all prone to falling off track, so we should always seek protection from Shaytan with the Ta’awwudh, “Aoozu Billahi Min Ashshaytanir Rajim” (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan).
More Practical Tips to Avoid Distraction
You switch on your PC and, as you’re searching for your ‘work’ folder, you come across a sea of distraction. You notice your favorite song on your playlist, MSN has just automatically signed you in, and notifications begin to pop up.. All before you have even begun your work!
- Make all distracting avenues most difficult to access.
- Nothing with little urgency should be set to ‘automatic sign-in’.
- Nothing haram or distracting should be ‘readily available’.
How often do we see a friend update their Facebook status with “So much to do, so little time”? Not only does this ironic statement puncture negativity into your approach, it also leaves you distracted, less productive and it does not at all lift your workload! In fact, this is a huge distraction as it triggers the urge to return often and check for updates.
- Discuss less, and do more.
- Only do what you know is beneficial and makes you more productive.
- Close every application, website and file, other than what you are working on.
- If you don’t need the Internet, just switch it off! Use Freedom software to block off the internet. Prevention is better than cure.
- Check that you have a pop-up blocker installed.
- Use the Internet in a safe, or child-protection mode to reduce inappropriate search results.
- Take time to just disconnect every hour.
- Do not become hypnotic to the computer – regular breaks are a must.
- Use beneficial computer programmes, like ‘salah reminders’ that call out the adhan when it is time to pray.
We are most productive when we do things in moderation. If your day’s to-do list is work, work, work, then you are more likely to be distracted throughout your day.
To organise your time online try the following:
- Create a work timetable.
- Don’t set yourself up for ‘all work, no play’, because that’s when distraction will kick in most.
- Balancing your workload with some in-between activities will help you focus better when working.
- Set time-limits for your relaxing time, and time-slots for your workload.
External things, other than the computer, can also often cause distraction from work. The way we sit to do our work, the work-setting, and the things around us, all affect the quality of work that we produce, and our surroundings can become a distraction to us.
- Create a work-space with relevant resources.
- Stay clutter-free.
- Remove any distractions from your work-desk.
Finally, remember that Allah (Subhanahu wa’Tala) is Al-Basir (All Seeing), and Ar-Raqib (The Watchful).
There are many things that we do on the computer which we would be ashamed and embarrassed to do before others. We should never forget our adab towards Allah, even when we are engrossed in the virtual world. Sometimes we can become so engrossed in our workload that we forget to eat, sleep and pray! Our work itself becomes a distraction from our duty towards Allah, and our attentiveness towards ourselves and those around us. If you are tired, hungry and have forgotten Allah, then the work you are doing is not going to be as productive as it can be.
Do you have any distraction-busting tips to share? Share your tips in the comments section below!
About the author
Sania recently graduated with a BSc in Public Health Nutrition. She is currently undertaking a Classical Islamic Studies Diploma course. Her focus as a new writer is to delve into her fields of interest; in Health and Nutrition, and Islam.
Having a personal passion from a young age to read and write, she has dedicated much time to writing personal articles, poems, and short novels, and enjoys entertaining the mini-crowd with her children’s stories.
You can find Sania at the Feesabeelillah Sister’s Club, where she will be offering sister-to-sister advice on health and nutrition, and will be available for weekly counselling sessions.