The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi sallallahu) said, “The ones from among you with the best faith are the ones with the best inner knowledge.” [Jami-al-Ahkbar]
Productivity is something we usually associate with taking actions; with “doing” something. As women, we often judge ourselves on how much we get done in a day, don’t we? However, being productive can be far more than that.
If you look at the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi sallallahu) hadith, you will notice that inner-knowledge and faith go together. The more we know ourselves, the closer we come to Allah, in shaa’ Allah. The question is, why is this so? The answer is quite simple; by knowing who we are, and what makes us tick, are we truly able to take the necessary actions in our life. Without this awareness, we will take actions, but they may steer us in the opposite direction
Hence, instead of thinking about being a better Muslimah in terms of action, I invite you to think of it in terms of attitude. With the right mindset, you will be able to take the actions that you need to truly fulfil your potential. For the purpose of our conversation, we will refer to this as an ‘attitude of productivity’.
Productivity means that you cultivate a particular mindset; a mindset that allows you to fulfill your potential for this world, and the hereafter insha’Allah.
Simply put, productivity means that you decide, within your mind, that you will head towards something specific. For many of us, that would be both success in this life, and closeness to Allah.
Now that you have this concept in mind, ask yourself the question:
“What does being a productive Muslimah mean to me?” In other words, “How should I think, act and speak that would make me totally productive?”
You may come up with a number of answers, so be sure to write them down. Productivity means different things to different people, so come up with your own definition. You can think of productivity in terms of spirituality, or in terms of another realm of your life. You can adapt it to a number of contexts such as spiritual growth, work, parenting or even home life. Once you have your own definition, take some time to explore how you wish to use it to motivate you in various areas of your life.
Let us take an example. Suppose, for a Muslimah, being productive means that she is actively making a difference.
Now that you have a definition of what true productivity looks and feels like, let’s explore some strategies that would help you in gaining this inner awareness more effectively.
Cultivate Your Inspiration Journey To Productivity
I’ve heard lots of people say that they lack motivation. It is human to feel a little bit de-motivated from time to time, but there is something very essential that makes staying motivated much easier; that is to be inspired. To inspire, literally means, ‘to breathe in’. Take a minute to observe this- when we breathe in, we actually expand, don’t we? In the same way, when we find something really exciting, it engages us, makes us feel good, and entices the desire to do something. The mind is either heading towards something, or away from something; it never stands still. So, the whole idea of being productive is to give your mind something to aim for. Find aims and ideals that excite you. Start to think about where you would like to be in 10 years from now. Let the ideas flow!
Learn To Adjust
One of the biggest obstacles to being productive is when we find ourselves overwhelmed with life, or even with a particular task. Life can send us a curve ball or two and really set our focus off. If you’re finding yourself feeling overwhelmed, or unable to focus on your vision, then make adjustments to your goal. Either break things down, or focus on one thing at a time. Cultivating a productive attitude also means that we know our limits and honour them as we live life. Remember, having respect for your own limits is also linked to your own inner knowledge. The more you honour who you are, the more likely you are to succeed, insha’Allah.
There will be times when we will go off-track, or things won’t turn out as we would have wanted. Disappointments happen, but if we truly want to live a productive life, then we would definitely need to learn to let go and move on. These setbacks may take away your desire to continue. When you find yourself in this situation, take some time out, rest, and then get back on track. Re-connect to your vision. The inspiration will slowly creep back into your life and set you back on the journey to your goal.
Life brings disappointments as well as victories. There may be times when things just aren’t going your way, but if you keep your focus on what’s wrong in your life, then your productivity or any desire to act will be washed away. Now, telling yourself that everything is “OK” won’t work either. So, how do you keep yourself feeling inspired, even when things are challenging? The answer is to practice gratitude for anything and everything that you can think of.
Take 5 minutes at the end of each day and write down 5 things that you are truly grateful for. It could be anything from getting something done, or a good cup of tea. It doesn’t need to be big-but it does need to be something you are truly grateful for. This practice will not only help you cope in your hard times, but it will also bring with it a sense of inspiration and productivity to your daily life. Living in gratitude is wonderful for our minds, bodies, and of course, our spirit.
Living a productive life begins with inner knowledge and awareness. It begins with exploring what we want, and then giving ourselves a purpose to move towards. Once we have these in place, taking actions follows automatically.
I hope that you have found these tips useful. Do create your own definition first, and then focus on the tips that resonate with you. Insha’Allah you will find that building a productive mindset takes a little practice, but it is easier than one would initially expect. I wish you all the best for the journey!
About the Author:
Sayeda Habib is a professional life coach who works with Muslim sisters to help them achieve their potential in all areas of their lives. To find out more, log on to www.makelifehappen.com or email email@example.com