Some of us have high aspirations to get closer to Allah s.w.t through Islamic goals such as wanting to learn the Quran, learn Arabic, and do more charity work, and so on. However, these goals often get shelved because of our own time constraints. We often come up with the excuse that we don’w have time and we’re too busy with work.
So how to manage your time better and improve your time management to accomplish the goals and be more productive?
We asked Tushar Imdad, an Islamic Time Management Coach, about time management and Islam.
Halalop founder, Shahfizal Musa, spoke with brother Tushar Imdad, wbo is a Certified High-Performance Coach and Leader in Islamic Time Management who specializes in helping busy Muslim professionals. to overcome overwhelm and achieve clarity, organization and progress.
How He started the Islamic Time Management Coaching
From university, he started reading self-help books and time management books, such as the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. He was also getting more Islamic. At the same time, Sheikh Hamza Yusuf did a talk on Seven Habits of Highly Effective Muslims which was very popular with Muslims.
“It resonated with me because it was Islamic in a way that Begin with the end in mind – starts with thinking about death. “
“I implemented the steps into action using their planner calendar to schedule my activities. “
Later on, he attended a free workshop for entrepreneurship and decided he wanted to teach about effective time management skills. As his background was in teaching in schools, and as he had teaching skills, and had written and published two books on time management. His books were titled ‘Principled Time Management’ and ‘Efficient and Effective Time Management’ which were related to success habits of productivity and how to get things done.
As his audience for his Time Management business workshop were all Muslim attendees, he started off his presentation with an Islamic perspective on good time management based on the Quran and Hadiths of the prophet pbuh. This first segment on the Islamic perspective were very well received .
That was more than ten years ago. In 2018, Tushar decided to develop his Islamic Time Management coaching and consulting business fully. His time management workshop and online webinar is called Principles of Islamic Time Management.
During the ten year period, he spent a part of it learning more about Islam with Islamic scholars in Jordan, including learning Arabic.
Planning and Time Management Skills
“The essence of time management is planning.”
“If a person has never been coached on a productivity program, or has not been on a time management course by an expert, then it is likely that he’s not learned through the process.”
“That’s what I do for my coaching sessions: I take them through a process. My clients then see the benefits and they carry on. Most people’s idea of planning is scheduling where they say they’ll block out a time do do certain tasks.”
“It takes a huge amount of discipline to make schedules work. For some people it works, as some people who naturally love order and structure. However, most of us, myself included, we like to have a bit of freedom.”So its good to have a variety of time management strategies.:
According to Tushar, one of the strategies is the ‘Three Highly Important Tasks’, or the ‘3 HITs’.
“Your not creating a schedule, you’re just saying these are my top three priorities or goals for the day. You’ll say, no matter what, I’ll achieve these and get important tasks done for the day.”
It doesn’t matter when in the day the tasks are to be completed, as long as its get done for the day. Tushar is convinced that this method of time management is much more productive than other systems because you prioritize your tasks, you’ll be able to manage your time better compared to scheduling tasks for a full week.
How Time Management Relates to Islamic Principles
“The worst thing a person can do with his time is to go through the day, unthinkingly, just like going on a hamster wheel. By doing this is the opposite of high performance and opposite of Islam.”
“In Islam, there’s the concept of ‘Inni a’mallahu bin niyah‘ (every action begins with an intention). We need to have direction, attention and focus. If we’re not thinking, then all the actions are just like useless.”
“So we want to be intentional, and have a plan. It doesn’t have to be an elaborately written plan.”
“Say that one of your priorities is to do a lot of additional Qadha’ solah (to replace solah that have been missed), with coaching in time management, you could make a lot of progress and save much time, by highlighting your priorities and progress.”
“Even if you planned every minute of the day, but haven’t thought of your priority, you’re wasting your time.”
Also Read: Tushar Imdad’s article on Halalop: Sunnah: a Good Example or a Superpower?
The Secret of Time Management
“Deep Work are big jobs like finishing that project, creating that report, creating that website. They are the big jobs, the deep work. The little but necessary stuff like the emails, phone calls are the Shallow Work which are daily tasks.”
To put things into perspective, he used the analogy of Deep Work as the big rocks, and the little tasks as the sand.
“If you put in the sand first into a jar and then try to fit in the big rocks, you won’t be able to fit them all in. However, if you put it the big rocks first and then pour in the sand, they will all fit into the jar.”
“You will find that the top performers are so focused on the big rocks, that even though they may be disorganized, that they are so focused on the big stuff that the little tasks don’t really matter. Whereas the rest of us are drowning in the shallow work and don’t really get started on the important things.”
Tushar puts the secret to time management skills as “stress about the big things, the Deep Work, and the little things will take care of themselves.”
Tushar currently has a Quran course, called 80-20 How to Connect with the Quran.
Farah Ishak is a Content Writer at Halalop. She grew up in the United Kingdom where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Management. Later, she completed her MBA and held senior-level positions in Malaysian based MNC. She left the corporate world to be with her young kids. She is passionate about issues concerning Muslim women, Startups and Muslim businesses in general.