There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance next time. – Malcolm X
Adversity. We all face it, we all live through it, some more than others. We lose focus, our purpose becomes disheveled in the rigours of life. Eventually, we end up in a state of disarray, overworked, and ultimately unhappy. Every so often, we complain about not having enough ‘time’ or ‘hours in the day’ to complete our tasks. Easily, the control that we have in our lives begins to slip through the cracks, ending up in a state of chaos. The destination being a rut, where our pattern of behaviour becomes dull and unproductive and difficult to change. Its time….to take control of your life.
The realization of a loss of control is the first step in taking it back. Learning to plan the time you have effectively, having a clear focus on the result, and planning accordingly is how you will take control. The aim is to develop our own skills, desires, and understanding of a situation so we can live a rich, well-organized life.
As difficult as it may seem, taking control of your life on a spiritual, intellectual, and organizational level is something that can be accomplished. Bringing yourself back to the basics is essential, the following are quick and simple tips on life management:
Re-establish Your Purpose & Renew Your Intentions.
Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawzeeyah (ra) once said:
“The actions of the heart are the foundation (of belief), and the actions of the limbs follow them and complete them. Intention is like the soul, and actions like the body: If the soul leaves the body, the body dies…”
Start out with a purpose in mind and renew your intentions. Our intentions should precede over everything we do. The intention is the seed for sprouting every action, thought, and feeling that we act upon.
Set realistic goals for yourself. Goals that can be achieved in a day, a week, a month, and in a year. Once you set both short term and long-term goals, you will be able to make space for further thinking on how to execute those goals. If a year seems too long, begin by setting goals for the day, and then a week, and then two weeks, and so on. The purpose here is for you to step outside of your shell and set attainable goals.
Invest in a planner. Take out 30 minutes over the weekend to plan your week out. Before you even start your day, take 10 minutes to review your plan, and tweak your day plan as needed. Doing these two things regularly will save you hours of time in your week. This will also allow you to create of breakdown of your tasks, having a visual of your tasks will also save you from becoming overwhelmed. It will help you review what needs to be accomplished, be aware of your obligations, prevent surprises, and the ability to get those little things done.
Early Bird Gets the Worm.
Rasul (saws) said:
“O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e. what they do early in the morning).” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
A restful mind, enhanced memory, improved metabolism, and positive performance are just a few of the health benefits and blessings of waking up early. It may take some training but waking up early will add time in your day, all in the while reviving a sunnah.
Quality Over Quantity.
There is the notion that multitasking is a great way to get a lot done at once. While it may seem like you are accomplishing many things at once, research has shown that our brains are not nearly as good at handling multiple tasks as we like to think we are. In fact, some researchers suggest that multitasking can reduce productivity by as much as 40%! The goal is not to succeed in everything. The goal is to succeed in at least one thing at a time.
Completing each task in its entirety, as opposed to starting a few different tasks and not being able to accomplish them is the goal. Moreover, this way you make sure you don’t compromise the quality of your work. Spreading your energy across many tasks reduces your focus and decreases the overall quality of your work.
According to the Harvard Business Review, studies indicate that our mental firepower is directly linked to our physical regimen. There are several cognitive benefits, all of which can be expected as a result of incorporating regular exercise in your routine. Improved concentration, sharper memory, prolonged mental stamina, lower stress, faster learning, and enhanced creativity are to name a few.
Exercise also has mental health benefits, as chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin are released while exercising, improving your overall mood.
Embrace a Positive Attitude & Mindset.
We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves. – Malcolm X
It is part and parcel of life to have difficulties and challenges. Everyone is going through some sort of adversity. The key here is to remain positive and not let adverse situations affect the productivity and quality of our lives.
Having a positive mindset and view on life helps prevent negativity, ill thoughts, and feelings. The only thing we can control in our lives is our own attitude. We choose our own happiness while Allah (SWT) controls our affairs. Once we can alter our attitudes and shift our mindset into that of acceptance and task ourselves with growth, things will naturally begin to fall into place.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said “How amazing is the case of the believer; there is good for him in everything, and this characteristic is exclusively for him alone. If he experiences something pleasant, he is thankful, and that is good for him; and if he comes across some diversity, he is patient, and that is good for him.” [Muslim]
Keep looking out for more articles in the coming months for the exclusive series, “Exiting Cruise Control: Life Management Edition”.
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