Productivity can mean many things to many people. When I look at productivity, I like to think of it as a lifestyle. Often people will look at a person who is active in the community and wonder how it is possible for one person to be so productive, but the reality is that it comes down to the way you live your life than to strategies and tactics.
At one point in my life I made the decision that I wanted to be a specific type of person, I wanted to become more active and involved in the Muslim community. To do this I had to prioritise my life and make sure that everything and everyone I had in my life was there for a reason.
When it came to trying to find a balance in life and being productive on all fronts; family, friendships, dawah and studies; it became essential that I lead a productive lifestyle. This meant that all the different aspects in my life had to serve to increase my productivity. So the company that I keep had to be people who would help me reach my goals. This was easy when it came to friends because friends are by selection – there is no obligation. I don’t have friends, I have companions; people I work with towards achieving my ultimate goal.
However, my family has an obligation upon me. When I started getting overly active in the community, I struggled a little balancing my commitments with meeting the expectations of my family. It got really difficult to ensure my parents were pleased with me while I was out there working with different organisations and doing what I was passionate about.
As this was starting to become a problem, I realised I needed to understand what it was that my parents expected of me, and if I knew their expectations then I could meet those expectations. It turns out all my mum wanted was to have me around, she just wanted to feel my presence around the house. This wasn’t too difficult for me to adhere to and just having that conversation with my parents resolved what was one of the most difficult things for me in trying to attain a productive lifestyle.
Aside from the productive lifestyle, there are always tactics and measures we can take to maintain productivity specifically in Ramadan; here’s what I find works for me in Ramadan:
Planning is a thinking process, if I give it enough thought it makes it more attainable. So making sure I plan what I want to do during Ramadan is really important to me. If I plan to pray taraweeh 30 nights of Ramadan I’m not likely to reach 30, but I will be really close In sha Allah.
Shoot for the stars and you will land on the moon
I believe that if I aim for something and I actually achieve that goal completely, then the original goal I set for myself was too easy. The goals I set for myself need to be just that – goals – not what I already know I will do; I need to be trying extra hard to achieve these goals.
Prioritise your time in Ramadan
For me, Ramadan is essentially the month of worship. I remove as many extra commitments from my life as I possibly can, even if it means taking time off work and making sacrifices with my salary. That’s what Ramadan is all about, making those sacrifices.
Don’t overwhelm yourself to the point that you give up everything
Having something is better than nothing; so although I like to set high goals for myself, I know what my limits are and I know my capabilities. I need to ensure not to overwhelm myself so that by the time I reach the last ten nights I still have the motivation and will to keep going.
Essentially it’s about doing your best to attain that ultimate goal you have set for yourself to achieve; finding the tactics to do that will come along the way and you need to find what is best for you.
Ramzy Alamudi who has been coined as ‘Abu Vision’ by those around him as a result of his continuous aim to see Muslims live a life of impact. He has determined to make this possible by educating students on building personal capacity and leaving a legacy. Previously serving as MSA President at Macquarie University he now plays a significant role as a social entrepreneur in the field of Educational Management.
Originally printed in Podium Magazine Edition 1, published in 2017.