Over the past 3 and half years I have been on an immense journey, one which has changed my attitude and treatment towards living life as a useful and beneficial person. Stumbling upon ProductiveMuslim in summer 2009 was one of the best online moments I could have had – as a result of it I ended up working for ProductiveMuslim, alhamdulillah!
Working for ProductiveMuslim, which was a sleek black and white blog back then, was truly a new venture upon which I was ready to apply my small amount of skills and knowledge to (you might vaguely remember the skinny man below!). It was the vision and mission of the organisation which drove me to read the articles shared, listen to the videos we know so well as the good ol’ ‘Friday Naseeha’ and then in a spontaneous meeting at university in late 2009 I decided I’d contact the Founder directly to offer my ‘suggestions and ideas’ for ProductiveMuslim to see how I could contribute to the vision for productivity in the Ummah, a vision I felt compelled to share.
Since then, I’ve been able to work with an online, dedicated global team. A team that has gone from being a small group of individuals using simple innovations such as gmail to super cool online project management tools to make it the efficient and effectively led organisation that it is today in spreading its message to thousands around the world. I’ve had some of the VERY best moments whilst working in what can be classed as a rather unusually structured online organisation yet it has taught me some of the most profound lessons which I share below. An organisation which brought me to meet some of the most productive Muslims I’ve known who live by the motto:
‘Have sincere intentions & work hard’.
Behind the Scenes at ProductiveMuslim.com
Who we are:
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t all have square faces when we’re working behind the screens! So who are we I hear you ask? (This video gives you a good insight into what we stand for) yet we’re all full-time working professionals or students from different parts of the world who haven’t all ever even met each other in person (amazingly!) but we feel like a virtual family. ProductiveMuslim.com is our shared passion or vision which makes our work together so eccentrically exciting, innovative and addictive at times! Here’s an insight into what our day to day project space looks like..
Highlights from My Journey
I have multiple highlights from being on this journey and it would not be possible to list them all in this short space or even be able to do justice in mentioning them, so here’s the top 10 I’ve chosen to share with you all:
- Sincerity always reaps benefits
I have seen the motto of the organisation shared above at work with the guys I worked with at ProductiveMuslim.com over the past couple of years, and it truly is by the Grace of Allah that I have witnessed the benefits of the work which has been testified to through emails we’ve received and when I meet PM fans. It truly is the testimonials and continued positive response we get from our fans that motivates us to do more and be of as much benefit as we can to the Ummah!
- Teamwork is the key to success
Watching every team member contribute their skills, talents and work together like clockwork has taught me that so much can be achieved when the synergy of talented individuals come together for one noble vision. There is also the added benefit of having team members from all over the world so work is done throughout the 24 hour clock and there’s definitely been times when I’ve gone to sleep or woken up thinking about ProductiveMuslim!
- Self-leadership is the secret
Whilst many of us may not consider ourselves leaders, it is the secret of self-leadership that has been evident in my work with the team, where everyone has contributed ideas, initiatives and delivered on these so the secret to success when you join any organisation is in taking self-lead to get the best out of your role.
- Embrace creativity and innovation
One of the aspects of work life I love is the opportunity for creativity and innovation, these are the wheels that keep PM going mA! This can be seen in the many new born ideas which have then manifested themselves into real tools such as the iPhone App, ProductiveRamadan amongst the many other innovations from within!
- Don’t settle for less than excellence
There’s a beautiful hadith that has sparked the level of professionalism and excellence instilled in the work at ProductiveMuslim as an organisation which I always feel should be at the forefront of our minds, it is that: “Allah loves, when one of you is doing something, that he/she does it in the most excellent manner” [Muslim]. Over these past years I have watched the persistence of striving for excellence in all we do amongst the team members which is essential for the success of any organisation so we’ve never been happy to settle for anything less!
- The ‘magic’ of feedback and honesty
There has been another important learning curve in ensuring we take on board feedback from our fans as well as within the team about our work which is part of the magic formula in bettering ourselves. I have truly appreciated opportunities for feedback from others and the open and honest environment to do this. An environment which has been essential to my own learning and development as well as that of the organisation, because we value every individual’s opinion when making decisions. Also, making mistakes is part and parcel of how we have improved at what we’re doing, by not being afraid to fail in the first place.
- Rule of the great few
Most people may be under the assumption that we have many resources at our disposal, but I’ve learnt that we can make the best of the few resources we do have when there’s a passion and mission! The few individuals who amount to no more than 10-15 at any given time working for the organisation in their spare hours is testimony to what a few talented individuals can do with the assets of ideas and skills – the recipe for success in an organisation.
- The power of planning ahead
There’s no principle I live by more or perhaps skill useful in life than the need to organise ourselves! It is the ability to think ahead and plan in life, this has definitely been the focus as we prepare to give you, our dear readers, the advice needed in order to increase your productivity whenever we plan our projects and content. Here’s a sneak-peak at the editorial calendar we use to manage it all!
- Investing in personal development pays:
ProductiveMuslim.com has a culture of sharing valuable lessons and learning as a collective which is extremely powerful for any organisation’s growth and development. As a team we’ve been fortunate to take part in courses that enhanced my knowledge of the online world to deep content development courses that have engaged us all on how to increase our own self-productivity whilst bringing those best practices back into our work so we continually seek to be more productive personally.
- Work hard, pray hard!
Finally, although we have an ethos of work hard, there’s definitely an element of play hard approach to our day to day work; these are what we call our ‘watercooler’ moments that allow us to discuss, share ideas and bounce off hopes and dreams whilst still staying focused on our work. However, we truly wouldn’t have been able to achieve many of magnificent things we have over the past couple of years without Allah’s Help and His Grace, thus our prayers and duas have been immensely important in this journey!
Some of my best memories at ProductiveMuslim.com are of the early morning email exchanges, our excitement at starting new projects (and of course finding new online tools to try out!), the tireless night time hours invested in making a project happen, having the ProductivestRamadan, uber-efficient meetings, working with individuals who simply share a world where the Ummah can be more productive as well as meeting fans like yourselves from across the globe in workshops or seminars which has been an invaluable opportunity to hear the benefits and impact our work has on you, alhamdulillah.
Life is forever a learning journey
Ultimately, we are on a journey of continual learning and applying throughout our lives which has been something we’ve experienced at ProductiveMuslim.com over the past couple of years. It has been a wonderful journey and most definitely one of the best pursuits of my time have been involved in this amazing organisation. For those who ever considered working for an online platform to stretch their skills and talents, ProductiveMuslim.com is a good example of how seeking to learn and apply can bring about powerful results.
What action can you take for ProductiveMuslim.com?
My request then to you, is to make sincere dua for ProductiveMuslim.com and share it far and wide with anyone who can benefit from it! There are multiple ways you too can contribute to this Ummah by using your skills, talents and time in a creative way.
Here’s the essential 3 things I’d like you to do once you’ve read this article to support ProductiveMuslim.com:
1. Share the article via Facebook/Twitter/Email
2. Make sincere intention to do something useful for this Ummah
3. Pray for the success of ProductiveMuslim.com
Former Head of Content & Research