View Full Version : About productivity

Innocent Soul
10-26-2011, 02:37 PM

I'll post some articles which I liked and thought that they are beneficial to us in our daily life :). Others can also post any articles related to productivity.

Did you know 95% of your thoughts, beliefs and actions are a result of habit? The results in your life – whether good or bad – are largely a result of habits, consciously or unconsciously acquired.

Your habits will determine whether you reach your goals. This is because habits are actions that are repeated regularly. Most goals require you to perform a behaviour many times before see the result. For example, you won’t become excellent at time management after using your calendar for one day. You need to follow time management principles consistently in order to realise the benefits.

Your current levels of productivity are also a result of your habits in this area. Highly productive people have developed habits such as waking up early, being organised, planning their day in advance and using a time management system – all of which lead to increased productivity.

These new behaviours may seem difficult to learn, however once you have established them as ‘habits’ they will then feel natural and normal, and become ‘automatic’ for you. At this point, you no longer need to think about the activity or motivate yourself to perform it.

By making even small changes to your habits and productivity you can see a dramatic impact over time. For example, if you become just one tenth of one percent more productive each day, you will become two percent more productive each month. This equates to being 26% more productive each year and doubling your productivity and performance every 2.7 years!

The same is also unfortunately true for bad habits. For example, wasting 1 hour per day on TV or surfing the Internet might not seem like much but it adds up to 365 hours per year which is equivalent to 15 full 24-hour days or 45 8-hour work days!

Therefore, it makes sense to establish good productive habits and eliminate unproductive habits as the effects compound over time.

The good news is that you can break a bad habit or create a good habit in as little as 21-30 days. In addition, the positive effects of making small habit changes often spill over into many areas of your life. For example, developing productive work habits may mean you are able to get your work done more quickly meaning you can spend more time with your family, devote more time to religious activities, and result in a job promotion.

Below is a quick overview on how to develop good habits and eliminate poor habits in 7 simple steps.

Step 1 – Develop Self Awareness

The first step in changing your habits is to develop greater awareness around them – after all, you can’t change something you’re not aware of!

You need to identify any bad habits you need to break and good habits you want to create. You then need to develop awareness around the habit itself and record when, why, how and where you do your bad habit or what you are doing instead of your good habit. This will help to identify any likely causes or triggers and help you identify solutions.
Step 2 – Set a Goal

You need to decide what you want instead of your current habit. For example, if your bad habit is getting up late, your new habit goal may be “getting up at 7am on weekday mornings”. Your outcome needs to follow SMART goal setting rules of being Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.
Step 3 – Get Motivated

To perform your new behaviour enough times until it becomes a habit, you need to be sufficiently motivated. Because changing a deeply ingrained habit can be difficult, it is important to have daily motivation to successfully change the habit. Make a list of the benefits and reasons why you want to make the change and read over this daily. Consider the consequences of not following through on your habit – what will you lose if you fail to create this habit?
Step 4 – Planning & Strategy

Next you need to create a plan and strategy for overcoming your bad habit or developing a positive new habit. It is important to write your plan down. This makes it more concrete and real and will enable you to think more clearly, in greater detail and with greater focus.
You will also need to include reminders before your activity becomes a habit. Use external alarms, reminders and sticky notes as appropriate. Put padlocks or obstacles in your way of doing a bad habit. Get support from friends and family members to keep you accountable.
Step 5 – Mental Preparation

To successfully change a habit, it is important to deal with any negative beliefs surrounding your habit; if you don’t do so, then another negative behaviour might emerge to replace it. In addition, it will be much easier to change your habit if you are working with your belief system rather than fighting against it. For example, if you believe you “will never learn” how to be more productive, you won’t be motivated to make any changes. Eliminate any negative self talk and start to reinforce images of yourself successfully completing your new habit.
Step 6 – Implementation

To successfully condition a habit you will need to perform the habit every day for 21-30 days.

During this time you will require both conscious focus and willpower. You will have to ‘consciously focus’ and ‘remember’ to do the new behaviour rather than the default behaviour. You will also need ‘willpower’ to force yourself to do the new behaviour if it something you find difficult or unpleasant. By making small incremental changes you will reduce the amount of willpower required. It is better to make a small change you can sustain than to make a large change that you’ll give up on after a week.
Step 7 – Record, Refine & Review

To ensure you reach your goal, it is essential that you record your progress and refine and review your habit daily. You can then identify any obstacles that may have prevented you from completing your habit and avoid them in the future. Seeing in writing the progress you are making towards you goal will also inspire you to keep going for the full 21-30 days.

Download your free 21 page e-book summary “7 Steps to Make or Break Habits” to learn how apply these 7 steps and for effective strategies, tips and techniques for changing your habits at www.make-or-break-habits.com


Michelle Joseph, author of “7 Steps to Make or Break Habits”. Visit her website http://www.make-or-break-habits.com/


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10-27-2011, 07:29 AM
Productivity and time management go hand in hand.

Some of the points made by Sh al-Shareef in this lec are very beneficial.


Innocent Soul
10-30-2011, 04:22 AM
Stop Making Excuses and Get Productive Today

What is it that keeps us from being the best Muslims, the best human beings possible? Excuses. Excuses are an enormous part of the internal struggle we engage in on a day-to-day basis.

The most common excuses are related to having too many responsibilities, intending to do it later, not having enough energy, or time to get it all done. Now is the time to take control over our excuses.no excuses 266x300 Stop Making Excuses and Get Productive Today
How To Stop Making Excuses

You want to become a better Muslim. You want to start exercising. You want to read and increase your knowledge. You want to engage more in dhikr. But although you may intend for these things, you can’t seem to ever get to them.


It could be because you are letting your excuses control you.

So how does one overcome excuses? The process begins with identifying the type of excuse that is keeping you from performing the act and then using a tailored approach to break it.

So let’s identify the most common excuses that keep us from doing good and see what we can do to break them:

“There’s something else I need to do right now”

This excuse is perhaps the most prevalent when it comes to engaging in an act of dhikr such as reading the Quran or performing nafl (extra voluntary) prayers.

It is rare that we will consciously say such-and-such activity is more important than this extra prayer, but we either subconsciously believe that or follow waswasah (whispers from Shaytan).

Ask yourself, what is the alternative that you are focused on right now? Is it something important, like helping your parents, or is it something leisurely, like watching TV or surfing the Internet?

If it is a matter of fulfilling a responsibility to your parents or another commitment, then perhaps it makes sense to see this not as an excuse, but as a valid reason.

While limited leisurely activities are fine, it is important not to make them the focus of your day. More importantly, do not forgo good deeds for them. The solution to this would be to be very conscious and very wary of such whispers from the Shaytaan and the nafs. When the thought of opening the Quran is immediately followed by this whisper, your mind should stand upright. Seek refuge in Allah, The Exalted, and just dive in.

“I’ll do it, just not right now. I’ll do it later.”

This is closely connected to the excuse of having other things to do, but it should be listed separately because it is perhaps an even more deceptive excuse. By using this reasoning, one is putting a task to an indefinite unwarranted future. The best way to break this excuse would be to focus on the fact that one has the most control over the present.

Realizing the importance of making the most of the present also involves reflecting on the fact that we could be taken from this dunya at any time. Some of the early scholars of Islam used to say, “If the remembrance of death leaves our hearts for an hour, our hearts will become rotten.” [Dham Qaswat al-Qulub – Ibn Rajab)

If we want to strive to be intelligent Muslims, we must reflect on death, and as we do that we realize how important it is to not put off until later what we have the ability to do right now.

“I don’t have the resources.”

“I’ll start learning about fiqh when I can make hijrah and study with scholars.” “I need my own room to concentrate and study, and until that happens I can’t study the Quran.” “My laptop is dying, and until I get that fixed I won’t be able to do the research I was supposed to do.”

To break your excuses, remind yourself that where ‘there is a will, there is a way’. Are there too many distractions at home? Go to the library. Waiting on a book or any other resource? While you are waiting, look elsewhere to start learning about the topic before you receive it.

By making excuses due to your circumstances, you are putting yourself in a state of mind that is not ready to accept knowledge, iman, or self-improvement. If you find that you are lacking something you need to be a better person, pray earnestly to Allah (The Exalted), and at the same time refuse to be dissuaded and actively seek alternative means.

“I don’t have the energy.”

Physically speaking, low energy is often caused by not getting enough sleep or exercise, or by having a diet that is too rich in carbohydrates. To gain physical energy, you owe it to Allah to be in a good state of physical fitness.

You also need to tap into the resource of spiritual energy so that one is charged and fired up and ready to do a good act, regardless of one’s level of physical energy. I find that the most efficient way of breaking the low energy excuse to think of those who are in an incredibly high state of iman. Such people do not get drained by worship and good deeds; they are energized by it. Just like you shouldn’t think that giving zakat or sadaqah reduces your wealth, you shouldn’t think that engaging in good acts and improving yourself as a person will sap your strength. So you can try and emulate such people and make du’a that Allah make good deeds a source of nourishment for you.

Insha’Allah the more effort it takes for you to complete an act, the greater the reward you will receive for it.

“I don’t have enough time”

Have you ever noticed how some people manage to do so many things? How do you think they do it? It’s because they have made the most of the barakah in each given day. If you follow the general steps to being a more productive Muslim,you will find that time is something that can be in great abundance and barakah.

3 Steps to Stop Excuses and Finally Start Being Productive

Go to bed and wake up earlier.

When you sleep after ‘Isha and stay up after (Tahajjud or) Fajr, you will feel that there are much more hours in the day. By giving yourself extra time in the morning before work or school, you do the things you are usually too tired to do in the evenings: recite and reflect on the Quran, doing extra dhikr, exercising, etc.

Be efficient in your tasks

Is something that should take you only 30 minutes taking you 2 hours? Beware of time wasters; focus only on the task at hand and cut yourself off from all possible distractions, whether they involve instant messaging, browsing, or talking on the phone.

Know when to say No

Have you shouldered more than you can handle, or doing any extra activity that will not benefit you in the long run? When the above steps don’t work, you might need to examine your activities and make a decision about which one you will have to let go.

It is not until the ummah understands these excuses, and the power to overcome them, we can truly start benefiting from Allah’s immense mercy and bounty.

To end, I would like to remind us of Surat-ul-Asr:
“By time, Indeed, mankind is in loss, Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” (103:1-3)


Innocent Soul
11-29-2011, 11:18 AM
What Are You Addicted To?

Over the years, I’ve come to believe that each of us is addicted to something (or a number of things) in one way or another. This addiction can be positive or negative; it can be dangerous or completely safe, but it’s an addiction nevertheless.supply chain What Are You Addicted To?

I define addiction as a compulsive feeling that drives you towards a thing or activity, and which if you stopped yourself in one way or another you start feeling some type of withdrawal symptoms.

When we think of addictions, we normally think of drug addicts, alcohol or pornography addiction. Yet there are other forms of addiction which are seemingly ‘harmless’ e.g. addiction to facebook/twitter/Blackberry, addicton to work, addiction to sleep..etc.
Can You Flip Addiction on its Head?

My question today is: since addiction is such a powerful force that sometimes is hard to resist, can we harness this propensity to be addicted & get ourselves addicted to positive things?

Can we get addicted to Salah for example? Or to the Quran? Or to giving Charity? or performing Hajj/Umrah? Or even get addicted to doing something positive in the community or to what we passionately believe in?
Why Are You Addicted?

In order to understand how we can get addicted to such positive activities, we need to understand why we get addicted in the first place:

There are two triggers for addiction:

1) It drives us towards pleasure.


2) It drives away pain and makes us forget our life problems. A lot of the powerful addiction substances have both triggers in them, e.g. alcohol and drugs give pleasure to their users AND numbs their reality helping them forget their problems.

Get Addicted to Positive Habits!

So with that in mind, we can now better answer the question posed above; how can we get addicted to powerful positive habits?

1. We need to derive a great sense of pleasure from them; let’s take reading Quran for example.

If you want to get ‘addicted’ to reading Quran and by addicted, I mean it becomes the habit you love to do all the time and in fact you might even get withdrawal symptoms if you don’t read it for a few days, then you need to understand the Quran, appreciate the Quran, love the Quran and really enjoy reciting it in order to derive immense pleasure from such habit.

Uthman Bin Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) once said: ”If our hearts were pure, we would never be tired from reading the Quran.”

2. The positive habit needs to be able to drive away pain; let’s take another example, Salah.

If whenever you’re faced with affliction or trial or even a little bit of stress, you turn to Salah, won’t you be addicted to Salah and love Salah?

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to say ”O Bilal, give us comfort with it (i.e. Salah)”.

Not only will your problems wither away with the power of a sincere salah, but you’ll gain reward from Allah and feel much better afterwards.

3. Addicton doesn’t come overnight, it builds over time

This is an important point, if you notice any ‘addiction’ you have, e.g. constantly checking Facebook or e-mails, this didn’t suddenly happen – you gradually developed an addiction to it and then can’t stop yourself (from checking facebook/e-mails, etc.).

So keep in mind that any positive addiction you want to develop needs time, you simply need to constantly build that habit into your life and soon enough it’ll become a positive addiction that you’ll enjoy, insha’Allah.

I want you today to take a good look at your life and ask yourself what are you really addicted to?

What are the things that you can’t stop doing, or feel depressed/down/frustrated if you stop yourself from doing? If these are good/positive addictions, that’s great, keep them and harness them. If these are bad/negative addictions, try to replace them with new positive ones and work your way to gradually unwind/withdraw from the negative addiction until it disappears from your life, insha’Allah.

(P.S. Speaking of addiction, if you or someone you know is finding themselves addicted to pornography or haram sites, I highly recommend my good friend Zeyad Ramadan’s website www.PurifyYourGaze.com He’s got a great program with proven results to help you get out of this addiction, insha’Allah!)


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11-29-2011, 11:58 AM
Avoid NATO

No Action Talk Only

Innocent Soul
01-01-2012, 07:04 AM
5 Productive Qualities for Effective Studying

Many people read books but when asked to recall, they struggle to recall. Are you one of them? Have you been attending classes of knowledge, eager to learn about the deen, but feel you’re not retaining anything? During the lesson do you say to yourself “there’s no way I’m going to forget this point so no need writing it down”; and then a week later you cannot recall a line of the session you attended?

Whenever you go to a class or read a book, or even listen to an Islamic talk on your mp3 player, there are some productive attitudes before studying you should try to implement. Below are just a few attitudes one should have:


You need to ask yourself “why am I learning or reading this book”? “Is it so people can call me a knowledgeable person”? “Is it to win in debates”? Is it to draw people’s faces towards you? If any of these questions apply this is the case then you will not benefit at all in your studies.
Ibn Masud said, “Knowledge is not constant narration, rather it is a light that is placed in the heart.
“Indeed those who fear Allah are those who have knowledge.” [Surah Fatir verse 28]
Sufyaan Ath-Thawree said: ”The excellence of knowledge is due only to the fact that it causes a person to fear and obey Allah, otherwise it is just like anything else.”


The very first thing one must take into consideration is that the knowledge you are about to learn is ibadah, it is a form of private worship, an action between you and Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
Sufyaan Ath-Thawree said: ”I have never found anything more difficult than my own intentions.”
Look at your deeds, those that are done in public and those done secretly, are your public deeds more than your secret deeds, do you enjoy the public deeds more than the secret? If that is the case you need to deeply look at your intention. Who are you doing it for, the people or Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)?


The likeness of the one who remembers his Rabb and the one who doesn’t is like the living and the dead.
The student of knowledge should begin with the Name of Allah and be aware that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) is watching them. This will bring barakah to your studies insha’Allah.
“Whoever attempts to be successful in seeking knowledge while insisting upon excessive eating, drinking, and sleeping is attempting the impossible.” [Excerpts taken from book ‘The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker’]


Sometimes when you learn and have studied you are tempted to make your tongue loose, and you sometimes like to talk more than you like to listen.
“Whoever believes in the last day let him say what is good or remain silent” [Bukhari]
Imam Shafi’ee said if you wish to say something, let him think, if you conclude that there is no harm, speak. If you conclude that your words will bring about harm, do not speak.
Luqman (may Allah be pleased with him) was asked “How did you become so wise? He replied: I do not ask for what I don’t need, and I don’t speak about what does not concern me.” [Excerpts taken from book ‘The Manners of the Knowledge Seeker’]


Another attitude we should have is to respect our teachers and know that there is someone always more knowledgeable than ourselves.
Imam Shafi’ee said, ”I would turn the pages of my books in front of Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) in a very soft and quite way so that he wouldn’t be bothered by noise, out of respect for him.”
Ibn Abbas: “I humbled myself as a student so I became honourable as a teacher.”


When one learns knowledge, it should humble them. If you say, I see knowledgeable people with bad manners, what you see is mere speech that they concoct up with their tongues at times, and reject at times with their hearts. This is not sincere knowledge that has penetrated into their lives.

In order to be productive we need to learn manners, manners with knowledge. Abdullah ibn Mubarak said: “I spent thirty years learning manners and twenty years learning knowledge.”

The next time we want to study let us see if we can have these 5 simple productive attitudes to increase the benefits of our efforts.

Innocent Soul
01-01-2012, 07:15 AM
Are You Doing Good Deeds with Great Rewards?

When we think about our day-to-day actions, chances are they reside in separate compartments in our mind. This may not necessarily be the outcome of any conscious effort, but simply the result of how we habitually tend to perceive the act.
I help with chores to do my part around the house.
I eat because I am hungry.
I take a nap because I am bored.
I study because I need good grades.
But what if you could make all of those actions a source of reward insha’Allah?

How!? By our intention.

Yahya Ibn Abu Kathir said: “Learn about intentions, for their importance is greater than the importance of actions”

In a hadeeth, on the authority of Umar Ibn Al-Khattab who said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) say:

“Actions are but by intention and every man shall have but that which he intended. Thus he whose migration was for Allah and His messenger, his migration was for Allah and His messenger, and he whose migration was to achieve some worldly benefit or to take some woman in marriage, his migration was for that for which he migrated.” [Related by Bukhari and Muslim]

Our ‘niyyah’, or intention, is what dictates the value and the reward we hope to obtain, so the first thing we need to do is ‘un-categorize’ our day to day actions. View them as actions we can use to advance us in our journey towards Jannah insha’Allah. Treat these actions as deeds (big or small), as a valid opportunity to bank some ajr (reward). In order to keep the good deed counter ticking, we need to make a conscious effort to adjust our perspective. This will help you reap the maximum benefits from your daily routines!

What Is Niyyah?

Niyyah, which is the arabic word for intention comes from the root word نوى which means: Decided/intended purpose; Destination/direction (when used with reference to traveling).

The beauty of your niyyah is that it is between you and Allah. Your intention before the actions we will discuss do not have to be communicated openly. It is an intended purpose made in your heart and mind prior to engaging in an act, to acknowledge that it is for the sake of Allah.
How Does Niyyah Relate to Productivity?

Simply put, your niyyah is what enables you to cash in on previously untapped tresasure chests of reward!

There are two ways for you to do this:

Make sure you renew your intention

Bring it to the surface of your efforts for energy and remind yourself that even the most routine, mindless acts can be done with the aakhirah in mind. Remind yourself that an act made with pure intentions can become an act of worship bi’ithnillah.
Make niyyah to do good even when you are not sure you will be able to do it
”Allah has written down the good deeds and the bad ones.” Then, he explained it [by saying that]: ”He who has intended a good deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as from ten good deeds to seven hundred times, or many times over. But if he has intended a bad deed and has not done it, Allah writes it down with Himself as a full good deed, but if he has intended it and has done it, Allah writes it down as one bad deed.” [related by Bukhari and Muslim]
The above hadeeth is an indication of Allah’s Mercy; it also goes to show us the significance of intending to do a good deed. Reward simply for intending to do good – how awesome is that!? SubhanAllah.

Let’s Keep that Counter Ticking!

There are a number of ways you can aim to ensure that your niyyah is an active, snd not passive, element of your actions; here are two ways through which you can begin to adjust your perspective on day-to-day tasks:

Du’a for acts and following the Sunnah

There are so many acts that we do on a daily basis for which we can recite an assigned du’a. I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Dar-us-Salaam’s Fortress of the Muslim.
Change your perspective from worldly gain to akhiraah. For eg. Recite the supplication before you begin a meal. Make an intention to practice the sunnah eating etiquette, a conscious effort to please Allah.
[For complete access to the arabic text, transliteration and translation of all of the supplications a Muslim can make go to: http://iknowledge.islamicnature.com/duas/]

Multiply the reward!

Going to an Islamic class? How can you supersize the reward – invite friends, bring family members, take notes and share them after, etc
Reciting the Quran? Aim to do it for not just the ajr you receive for every letter, but make niyyah to be able to purify your heart and improve your relationship with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), to learn and understand and then implement this guidance and way of life from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala).
Going to eat lunch? Recite the supplication before and after eating your meal for gratitude. Eat with the intention to energize yourself for other acts of worship. Follow the sunnah of eating etiquette to multiply the ajr. Don’t eat simply because you’re hungry.
Putting on some clothes? Read the supplication for it. Remind yourself of the importance of looking presentable as well being modest with the intention to please Allah.

The Good Deed Effect

The best part of your niyyah is that has a knock-on effect to other areas of your life. The conscious effort results in your mind switching into a ‘zone’ that allows you to see opportunities for ajr where you may never have looked before. The more we try to practically apply the concept to our lives, the more easily we can ensure that we’re always maintaining the right level of focus needed for this life.

Our niyyah is the heartbeat of our efforts and at the end of the day, purifying and upgrading our niyyah is a way to make good deeds apart of our daily routine.

And finally, to answer the question posed in the heading of this post – How fast is your good deed counter ticking? The answer is…..never fast enough!

Innocent Soul
01-01-2012, 07:15 AM

If you think these articles are long then please read at least some part of it because I think these tips can only help us when we are determined to live a life like a true muslim. Islam is the only religion in which its followers can gain good deeds in our day-to-day actions" You cannot help someone unless they want to help themselves"

I will not let the deeds of any doer among you go to waste, male or female-you are both the same in that respect. Those who have left their homes and were driven from their homes, and [who] suffered harm in My Way and fought and were killed,
I will erase their bad actions and admit them into Gardens with rivers flowing under them, as a reward from Allah. The best of all rewards is with Allah.
(Surah Al 'Imran: 195)

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said,
"If any one of you improve (follows strictly) his Islamic religion then his good deeds will be rewarded ten times to seven hundred times for each good deed and a bad deed will be recorded as it is."
(Sahih Bukhari: Book #2, Hadith #40)

Innocent Soul
01-08-2012, 07:15 AM
9 Mistakes Unproductive People Make

I’ve often wondered what makes people successful. What is it that motivates them to want more, to be more? Is there a secret recipe for success? So in my quest to find these answers, I’ve read many books that talk about the keys to unlocking a successful life, and I’ve found a general theme: successful people are PRODUCTIVE people!

They are the proverbial ‘go getters’ who don’t just sit around and bide their time, waiting for something to happen or for things to change. They are creative and innovative in their thinking, and they know that one of the main ingredients to being successful is working smarter, not harder.

Unproductive people seem trapped in a world that is moving in slow motion. For the majority of ‘unproductives’ out there, there are common mistakes, and while they try desperately to sever the bonds of lethargy that keep them prisoner, life swiftly passes them by as they watch helplessly through the rear-view mirror.

While the literary market is flooded with millions of books and manuals which serve as excellent references to leading a productive, successful life, I think that, as Muslims, our most essential references lie in the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the Hadith.

Mistake #1: Procrastination and Laziness

“Procrastination is the thief of time” – indeed it is! Many times we put things off because we’re tired or just don’t feel like it. These are all tell-tale signs of laziness, and unfortunately the more we procrastinate, the lazier we become. The Quran mentions repeatedly the issue of procrastination: “Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! Send me back so that I may do good in that which I have left behind” [23:99-100].

The time for doing is NOW! Those who procrastinate and waste precious time are doing themselves a grave injustice. Time is an Amaanah (gift given in trust) from Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), so use it wisely! Laziness is an unbecoming characteristic of a Muslim – rid yourself of it, Insha’Allah. Ask Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) to remove this vice.

Even the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon Him) would often pray, “O Allah! I seek Your protection from anxiety and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from stinginess and cowardice, and from the burden of debt and domination of people.” [Bukhari]

Mistake #2: Ingratitude to Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala)

How often do we thank Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) for all that He has given us? Unproductive people are so focused on the things they desire that they overlook the bounties that He has bestowed upon them. “O Mankind, remember the favour of Allah upon you. Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and the earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?” [35:3]

Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has granted us countless blessings, lest we forget! His promise to the believers is that He will increase favours upon those who are grateful to Him:“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]; but if you deny, indeed My punishment is severe.” [14:7]

Try to write down five things each day, that you are truly grateful to Allah for; soon you’ll find that your list far exceeds just five things!

Mistake #3: Arrogance in prayer

Human beings have not come into existence by their own accord. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), in His infinite wisdom, has created man to worship Him and to work righteousness on this Earth; “I created not the Jinns and mankind except to worship me.” [51:56].

Nothing can ever be, except by the Divine Decree of the Almighty. We cannot expect to do things on our own without saying “Insha’Allah” (if Allah wills).”And never say of anything, ‘I shall do such and such thing tomorrow. Except (with the saying): ‘If Allah wills!’ and remember your Lord when you forget.” [18:23]

Therefore, it is the duty of a Muslim to pray to Allah, to seek sincerely and to remain hopeful of the mercy of Allah. You can’t do it on your own – turn to Allah, in Him is our ultimate refuge.

Mistake #4: Lack of responsibility and ownership

Part of a Muslim’s fundamental beliefs is Qadr (Divine Decree), but we need to take responsibility at some point, for our actions. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has given man the gift of reasoning and choice, “He giveth wisdom unto whom He will, and he unto whom wisdom is given, he truly hath received abundant good. But none remember except men of understanding” [2:269];

and therefore man knows the difference between right and wrong. On the Day of Accountability (Youmul Hisaab), we will all be questioned as to our deeds and actions, as well as how we have spent our time.

Mistake #5: A dwindling desire to seek knowledge

To become successful, you need to possess some type of skill, and this means an active pursuit in acquiring knowledge. It is narrated in al-Bukhari that the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) has said, “Whoever follows a path in the pursuit of knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him.” It is thus the responsibility of a Muslim to seek beneficial knowledge, “And say: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge” [20:114],

and to pass it on to others, as this will benefit him in Akhira. Once people lose their desire to learn new things, the battle is as good as lost.

Mistake #6: “I wish I may, I wish I might”

Wishing doesn’t make it so! Waiting for something to change without making an effort is a futile exercise. In order to break the vicious cycle of unproductiveness, you need to do things differently. Einstein said “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity” – take risks, do things differently. Nothing will change unless YOU do! “Truly, Allah does not change the condition of a person until they change what is in themselves” [13:11].

Mistake # 7: Holding on to regrets

Let it go! “And whoever does a wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness from Allah, he will find Allah forgiving and merciful” [4:110].

The past is over and Allah does not want you to dwell in it. Allah is ar-Rahmaan (the Forgiving), ar-Raheem (the Merciful). “Say: O My Servants who have transgressed against their own souls, despair not of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful” [39:53].

Mistakes happen to teach us a lesson – take the lesson and move on. A common denominator among unproductive people is their inability to move forward once they have hit a stumbling block. Pick yourself up and keep moving.

Mistake # 8: Purpose

Many unproductives wander aimlessly through life, without the slightest inclination of what their purpose on this earth is. Snap out of it! Ask yourself why you are here. Surely, Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) does not create without purpose; He has placed you here for a very specific reason. Your challenge is to find that purpose. Don’t waste precious moments on trivialities, rather seek out things that will earn you the pleasure of Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) and bring you closer to Him.

Mistake # 9: Fear of hard work

There are no shortcuts on the road to success. Man must work hard in order to achieve success, both in Dunya and Aakhira – “There is nothing for man but what he strives for” [53:39]. Both physical and intellectual labour are recognized in Islam.

So work hard – Allah has ordained it for you! ”As to those who believe and work righteousness, Allah will pay them (in full) their reward; but Allah loveth not those who do wrong.”[3:57].

I hope these words will inspire you to make the changes necessary in your life, Insha’Allah. Let go of negative thoughts and rid yourself of bad habits. Find your purpose and make every minute worthwhile. “Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”
– Lord Chesterfield

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