There seems to be a surge of Ramadan preparation resources – courses, notes, videos, webinars, books – and you may begin to feel a little overwhelmed. That is understandable, so how do you manage this information overload without feeling like it’ll freeze you from taking any action at all?
Firstly, know that all the brothers and sisters who are blogging about Ramadan, tweeting about Ramadan, teaching about Ramadan, really care about you and are doing it out of sincerity and we should be happy that there’s still goodness in the Ummah that drives that. So I think we should pause here and make special dua for all the brothers and sisters worldwide (online and offline) who are helping people prepare for Ramadan, we pray that Allah (glorified and exalted be He) blesses them and accept their deeds and efforts and make them of those whom He is pleased with.
Here are my top 5 tips to overcoming pre-Ramadan information overload:
1. Make a list of things you need to focus on
On an individual level, it really takes introspection from your part to start analyzing which areas of Ramadan you need improvement on. For example, is it learning about rulings of fasting? Or learning how to read Quran in Arabic? Or practicing long night prayers and getting used to Tahajjud? Or in our case for our course, learning how to be productive and stay focused during Ramadan? Discover where you really need development and list all the areas you’d like to improve on.
2. Divide your list
Divide the list into areas that are obligatory to learn about (e.g. rulings of fasting) and areas which would be nice for you to learn about (e.g. how to cook a nice suhoor recipe?).
3. Make folders based on your list
Setup special Bookmark folders in your browser and desktop folders in your computer labeled with each of the areas you defined in step 2 above, e.g. You can have a folder called “Fiqh of Fasting”, another one called “Learning Quran”, a third called “Productivity during Ramadan” and start addling any links you come across to the relevant bookmark folders and any files (pdf/ word files/ mp3, etc.) into the desktop folder.
4. Limit your reading sessions to 30 minutes
Spend 30 minutes per day going through the content of these folders each day. Make sure that you go over the “obligatory” areas first before going through “nice to know” content. Or, you can mix and match in one session, so you can spend the first 20 minutes going through the obligatory material to learn and then spend the last 10 minutes going through other content.
The reason why I suggest 30 minutes is because spending this amount of time will help you not get overwhelmed and stressed about finishing the content. You get a sense of achievement once you’ve completed your 30 minute slot for the day and then you have a choice, either do another 30 minute session or wait until tomorrow.
5. Schedule everything in one calendar
My final point is regarding live events, e.g. classes, webinars or halaqas. Again, schedule them in your calendar just like you schedule an appointment and make sure you don’t double book with other events. I recommend scheduling just two (maximum three) live events to attend per week to avoid being overwhelmed or overbooked.
With the above steps, I’m sure it’ll help you control the pre-Ramadan information overload!