Sunday, 6 May 2012

Procrastination: How To Defeat It

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 

This post comes to you thanks to a phone call from a friend of mine the other day. How we can all fall trap to the 'P' word.
Let's face it, we've all feel victim to that black hole at one time or another, so I decided to share my thought's. It can be fun for a short while doing those thing's that you don't normally get to do and relaxing for longer than usual, but you can have too much of a good thing! Once it turn's ugly it's hard to turn back. I hope you enjoy this post, help is on it's way! This also gives me an excuse to dig out some note's I made on a webinar by Zohra Sawari not too long ago;  "Time Management for Muslim's" (21/01/2012 23:00 GMT). 

I've found that human's are naturally lazy being's or if not lazy, obtain lazy habit's, especially in this modern day when technology generally does all the work for us; washing machines, dish washer's, all the way down to an electric whisk! We want thing's done in the easiest and most quickest way possible. Remember when we had dial-up internet and how long an internet page used to take to load? Now, if a web page takes a few second's more than normal to load we get frustrated and over click the mouse to an inch of it's life! Technology has wonderful uses but if we aren't careful we will all be turning into the lazy lump's that you see on Wall-E (it's a great movie if you haven't seen it FYI). Not being able to move, stuck in a chair with a screen in front of our face. If that's too close for comfort you may want to read the rest of this blog post ; ) 

Your attitude is everything! e.g. two people apply for the same job and they both have the same qualification's. One is a little defeated because of being knocked back by other recruiter's and uninterested in the business, the other is smiling, enthusiastic and asking question's about the business. Who do you think get's the job? The latter of course! We cannot control the situation but what we can control is our ATTITUDE.

A Muslim who is profitable is one whose today is better than his yesterday.
It's never too late to change and self improve.

Higher iman = improved attitude
Remember that everything good and bad comes from Allah (SWT). We have all been hurt in the past but it should make you better not bitter. When you expect the best but prepare for the worst it build's your stamina because if something does go wrong then you are prepared, have a plan and can push back just as strong as it was quick to hit you. As Muslim's we should always say "Alhamdulilah!" no matter the situation as it could always be worse, that is the beauty of Islam. Follower's of the Sunnah should always view the cup as half full! Take a look at people who have less than you, who have had much harder struggle's to deal with because when it's time to complain, you should have nothing to complain about. 

A big killer of a great positive attitude is negativity.
Negativity breed's negativity, to better your self and soul, let go of friend's and sister's who may drag you down. Whether it's: gossiping, back biting, or just plain old moaning. I know we all let a little moan out sometimes (due to habit!) but if it's a constant drain, reduce time with that sister, or just 'hide' those whiny unnecessary facebook update's! If it is a close friend who can be a bit of a "Debbie downer" or "negative Nelly", give dawah. Let them know that back biting isn't acceptable. Tell them it's not right to talk about someone when they are not in the conversation with you to defend themselves. It maybe that they don't know so you could be doing good in two fold.

Reason's for Procrastination:
  1. When we don't understand the difference between urgent and important - misunderstanding priorities
  2. When we are overwhelmed by the task (or having too many at once) so we put it off 
  3. No interest or have a dislike of the task 
  4. Fear of failure
  5. Bad organisation skill's and lack of planning
  6. Perfectionist's, if you feel only an 'A+' is accepted or if you feel the need to excel at everything
  7. Personal problem's or being pre-occupied with emotional trouble's, (Grief, Boredom, Stress, Tiredness, Guilt, Anger, Frustration, Lack of Concentration)
  8. Laziness 
  9. Low self esteem
  10. No clear, set goal's

“Do the thing and you will have the power.” 
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Imam Al Ghazali (May Allah have mercy on him) wrote this in his book: 'The Beginning of Guidance' 

"You should not neglect your time or use it haphazardly; on the contrary you should bring yourself to account, structure your litanies and other practices during each day and night, and assign to each period a fixed and specific function. This is how to bring out the spiritual blessing (barakah) in each period. 

But if you leave yourself adrift, aimlessly wandering as cattle do, not knowing how to occupy yourself at every moment, your time will be lost. It is nothing other than your life, and your life is the capital that you make use of to reach perpetual felicity in the proximity of God the Exalted. 

Each of your breaths is a priceless jewel, since each of them is irreplaceable and, once gone, can never be retrieved. Do not be like that deceived fools who are joyous because each day their wealth increases while their life shortens. 

What good is an increase in wealth when life grows ever shorter? Therefore be joyous only for an increase in knowledge or in good works, for they are your two companions who will accompany you in your grave when your family, wealth, children and friends stay behind."

How to get over procrastinating:
  1. Acceptance! Accept that you are procrastinating, because as soon as you spot it, you can do something about it!
  2. Know that you need to get it done; PRIORITISE. Otherwise there will be consequences that you could have avoided
  3. Learn to delegate task's if you feel overwhelmed (get the children involved!), and plan out what you want to achieve in that day/week/month/year 
  4. Reward yourself after completing a task
  5. Remember to do it for the sake of Allah (SWT) and don't forget to make Dua for help!
  6. Have the vision and then work out how you will complete the task in hand 
  7. Have patience, don't over do it. Little by little is better than nothing at all e.g. learning Arabic. The brain can only take in so much in a certain amount of time. Work smarter - not harder
  8. Give yourself a time frame or realistic deadline to get a task done; create a schedule! You'd be surprised at what you can do in 24 hour's!
  9. Be aware of time stealer's and idle activities e.g. too much time on the internet
  10. Remember that you will be asked how you spent your time in this world, how do you want to answer that question?? Narrated Abdullah Bin Mas`ud Allah's Messenger said, “ A man shall be asked concerning four things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had.” (Tirmidhî 5197)

"Do you know what really makes you tired? The things you don’t do, not the things you do!
Procrastination–worrying about the things you need to get done, putting them off because you dread them or because you would rather be doing something else–makes you tired, not work.” 
 From Get More Done in Less Time by Donna Otto. 

Of course scrubbing the floor, cleaning the bathroom and making dinner will make you tired but that's a physically, well earned, hard working type of exhaustion not mental fatigue. Plus once you have all those chore's done, it's easier to let go and relax as you can see the result's of a hard days work infront of you. Time to chill on the sofa with a good book and a twinning's tea! Whereas if you leave all the thing's on your to-do list unchecked then there's a big fat cloud of procrastination hanging over you, and that is not budging until you do something about it.

Don’t do what you want to do.  Do what you will want to have done  i.e. complete all the thing's you dislike or dread first to get them over with so you can enjoy the rest of your day! 

Blog's to help you get moving:
Productive Muslim
The Nest Effect 
Fly Lady
Organized Home

REMEMBER: There's no greater satisfaction than looking at your to-do list with everything crossed off!

“ Prepare for your hereafter needs as though you will die tomorrow and prepare for your worldly needs as though you will live forever.”

I will leave you with my favourite hadith. It has such meaning, taking us through different stages of our life. Imam Suhaib Webb explain's it in a such a great way: "This hadith summarises the phases which we may go through throughout life, youth, parenthood, middle age, old age. If we sit back and think, throughout these phases, we gain and lose. This hadith advises us, to take advantage of what is of it's highest during these phases, all aimed at; the worship of Allah SWT. " 

The Prophet (saw) advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death(Narrated by Ibn Abbas and reported by Al Hakim)

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~~La ilaha il Allah~~

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