The Importance of a Schedule
Mawlana Muhammad Asif Iqbal Attari Madani
The universe with its remarkable system is truly awe-inspiring. Despite its complexity, every mechanism in nature is linked to time. Whether it is the cycle of the moon or the rising and setting of the sun, the coming and going of the night, or the beginning and end of the day, it all points to the existence of one God and highlights the significance of organizing time. Allah Almighty states:
لَا الشَّمۡسُ یَنۡۢبَغِیۡ لَہَاۤ اَنۡ تُدۡرِکَ الۡقَمَرَ وَ لَا الَّیۡلُ سَابِقُ النَّہَارِ ؕ وَ کُلٌّ فِیۡ فَلَکٍ یَّسۡبَحُوۡنَ (۴۰)
“It is not befitting for the sun to overtake the moon [during the night], nor does the night surpass the day; and each one of them is floating in orbit.”
There is a fixed time for the sun and moon to appear; the sun appears in the day and the moon in the night. The day and night come and go at appointed times; they do not arrive before their time.
Allah Almighty states about the day and night:
وَ مِنۡ رَّحۡمَتِہٖ جَعَلَ لَکُمُ الَّیۡلَ وَ النَّہَارَ لِتَسۡکُنُوۡا فِیۡہِ وَ لِتَبۡتَغُوۡا مِنۡ فَضۡلِہٖ وَ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَشۡکُرُوۡنَ (۷۳)
“And with His Mercy, He made the night and the day for you, so that you may rest during the night and seek His benevolence (sustenance) during the day, and in order that you may appreciate.”
The day has been created for us to work and earn, while the night is for resting. So do not stay awake needlessly during the night and do not be idle during the day. There is no harm if you must rest during the day and work in the night.
The importance of carefully scheduling our time is clear from the life of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم , as explored in the earlier issue. We also see that most worship is arranged by time, like prayer, fasting, Hajj, zakat, and qurbani. There is a lesson in this for us to live our lives by organising time and making a schedule. Many people complain of a lack of time and an excess of chores and work: “We are so busy these days,” they aver, “that even if we worked for 24 hours, we would not complete all our tasks.” However, there are people who use the same 24 hours to complete their business, office, family, and religious duties; they have no chaos in their lives. This is the excellence and virtue of time management.
The principles of scheduling
If we adopt these principles, we will be successful in managing our time effectively and free our minds of tension and worry. Here are some time management tips:
1. Be serious in your work; no one of intelligence can deny the importance of this.
2. Plan your tasks and activities. Otherwise, a lot of time will be wasted, and tasks will go uncompleted.
3. Work on one task at a time. This principle will ensure you direct your entire focus and effort on completing a task quickly and efficiently.
4. Set yourself deadlines and daily, monthly, and yearly targets. Give yourself enough flexibility so the task can be completed. When making a schedule, keep the nature of the work in mind too.
5. Sometimes, two tasks can be completed at once with ease. Hence, do not forego this opportunity. You can listen to the Quran and its translation whilst driving/travelling to the office/exercising. You can recite litanies, perform dhikr, recite durood, or even listen to a speech or naat.
6. Think of tomorrow’s most important task today and complete it before anything else the next day.
7. Begin important and mentally demanding work in the morning as your mind will be fresh. It is mentioned in a hadith: “Seek sustenance and necessities at the beginning of the day as there are blessings and success in the morning.” The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم prayed for the morning: “O Allah! Grant blessings in the morning for my Ummah.” Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه states about this hadith: “˹It means˺ ‘Grant blessings in all the worldly and religious works my Ummah performs in the morning, such as traveling, seeking knowledge, and trade.’”
8. Some large tasks cannot be completed at once. Divide them into smaller milestones.
9. Whilst working on important and sensitive tasks, switch your phone and internet off so you are not distracted.
10. If one or two emails or messages are not sufficient, make a phone call instead of wasting time sending a plethora of messages.
11. Some people make their message inbox their to-do list, i.e., they do not make a separate list of work to complete. Keep a separate list of work that needs completing and print out your inbox list so your focus only remains in one place.
12. Create separate folders in your emails for actionable items and reference items. Do the same for the data on your laptop or desktop. Protect your data by saving a backup on an external hard drive, USB, or cloud storage.
13. Take regular short breaks. When working on a computer, take a break after 20-25 minutes.
14. People who work late into the night should instead rest in the night and complete their work early in the morning.
Try to schedule all your morning and evening activities. Schedule times for tahajjud, written work, praying Fajr and other prayers in congregation with the initial takbir, breakfast, work or university, lunch, household matters, evening tasks (academy/tuition), good company (if this is not possible, then remaining alone is better), necessary meetings, etc. This level of organisation may be challenging in the beginning but with a little perseverance, you will see transformational benefits, blessings, and success. Here are some of the benefits of making a schedule:
Benefits of making a schedule:
1. Setting priorities becomes much easier.
2. Important and non-important tasks are identified.
3. Important tasks are completed on time, correctly and efficiently.
4. You will gain satisfaction and will be capable of doing more work in less time as you will not be focused on non-essential work.
5. Making a schedule will allow you to save time and motivate yourself to take on new tasks.
6. You will be able to fulfil your promises if you can manage your time. Otherwise, people who are late with payments or do not deliver on orders cause havoc for their business.
7. Fix a time for meeting people so you are not affected by untimely visitors.
8. It will help in achieving the purpose of life.
9. The difficulties of life will reduce, and the eases will increase.
 [Kanz al-Īmān (translation of Quran)] (Part 23, Surah Yasin, verse 40)
 Tafsīr Khazain al-Irfan, p. 820, Para 23, Surah Yaseen, Ayat 40
 [Kanz al-Īmān (translation of Quran)] (Part 20, Surah Al-Qasas, verse 73)
 Nur al-Irfan, p. 629, Para 20, Surah Al-Qasas, Ayat 73
 Jāmi’ al-Ṣaghīr, p. 187, Hadith 3123
 Jāmi’ al-Tirmidhi, vol. 3, p. 6, Hadith 1216
 Mirāt al-Manājīh, vol. 5, p. 491