Tips on Using Time Effectively
Mawlana Muhammad Asif Iqbal Attari Madani
Instead of regretting the time you wasted in the past, seize the time you have now. You may want to make up for lost time but feel that your current engagements and commitments do not allow that. So, you make excuses like, “If my circumstances change, I will definitely do what I should have done a long time ago.” Well, instead of succumbing to such excuses, try to follow these tips:
1. Make a list of all the things which waste time, which should be and should not be done, and which you can delegate to others. A pious man stated, “Do what must be done, otherwise you will fall into that which should not be done.”
2. List all of your unfinished tasks and complete them in order of priority. Make a fresh start from here and do not let unfinished tasks accumulate in future.
3. Plan in accordance with your life goals. Make separate lists for daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly tasks. Periodically, review these lists, amending and adjusting them when needed.
4. Some people think it is enough to arrive and leave work on time. They do not give much attention to their performance, productivity, or skills, even though these are essential for personal success. Keep the following principle in mind: if the company progresses, then our employment/position will be strengthened. Keep the difference between attendance and performance in mind and strive to improve both.
5. Punctuality is key. Some people have excellent performance, but they continuously turn up late to work and appointments. Remember that if the people affected by this shortcoming do not rectify their ways, many companies do not hesitate in sacking them.
6. Try to carry out a great amount of effective work in a short space of time. To achieve this, you will have to struggle in the beginning, but once you start completing work to a high standard in a short space of time, it will eventually become easy for you. Difficulty engenders success.
7. Carry out the most important tasks in your best time, i.e., prime time. This is usually in the early morning, and the beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم made du’a for this: “O Allah! Grant my ummah blessings in their mornings.” By extension, this means, “Grant my ummah blessings in all religious and worldly tasks that they carry out in the morning.” (For example, travelling, seeking knowledge, trading, working, etc.)
8. The significance of being on time when going to the office, shop, college, university, academy, for example, is like that of the spine in the human body. It is apparent that when the backbone is weak or if a vertebra moves from its place, it will affect the entire body.
9. Try to carry out work in accordance with your skills and expertise, but do not become obsessed with completing it and making it perfect. There is an Arabic adage that states, “The effort is from us but success is from Allah.”
10. Take yourself to account, because those who learn lessons from their past make the best of their present and future. Those who do not take themselves to account, remain set in their ways.
11. It is true that “the knots of destiny are not opened with the nails of planning,” but you must plan and then leave destiny to Allah Almighty, who is the Creator of both destiny and planning, and He is the One who manages the heavens and the earth. Stay away from things that you have no knowledge of, for example: Will such-and-such happen tomorrow or not? How will this happen? Likewise, avoid “perhaps,” “if,” etc., as this achieves nothing except wasting time and distressing the heart. It is possible that tomorrow will bring such a situation that you had not even conceived, and nothing of the plan you were making and the matters you were pondering over come to pass. Therefore, hand over these matters of the future to Allah Almighty.