“That no bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another. That man have nothing except what he strives for. That (the fruit) of his striving will soon come to sight. Then will he be rewarded with a reward complete.” (Quran 53:38-41)
When I came to realize how important time is, I began to be ruthless about my time. I do not tolerate time wasting and time wasters at home, work, the masjid or university. Productivity is the goal of my day. I have seen and read biographies of successful people, Muslims and non Muslims. The most common quality is their ability to manage time. To find ways to increase our productivity we should look at what we are doing with our time right now. What did you do today? Where did your time go? To find out exactly where it went I suggest logging your time for a normal day. Grab a pen and a notepad. Now, tomorrow or any day that fits your schedule write down every activity you do from the moment you wake up in the morning until you go to bed at night. Write it all down. Also make sure that you measure the time of each activity. Take note of how much time you spend talking to someone, surfing facebook, reading blogs etc. Also take note of how much time you spend studying Islam, getting tasks completed at work, or with your family. The results of keeping a time log can be both a little surprising and a little disturbing. I, for instance felt that I spent more time than I should have checking emails, surfing the web for research than I should have. And that I used more time than imagined having a casual conversation at work or ramping up for studying.
Keeping a log if only for one day can help you identify time-thieves. It can also help you become better at realistically estimating how much time an activity will actually take. Of course, you can also expand and track a whole week to get more information and a better overview of your life.
Here is a 2005 article on how Americans waste their time at work. According to this survey by America Online and Salary.com, the average office-worker admits wasting or spacing out for 2.09 hours every 8-hour day. And that doesn’t include the lunch break. The biggest time-waster is, not surprisingly, surfing the internet. It accounts for 44.7% of the wasted time. However, the 10 000 employees interviewed probably didn’t log their time and therefore gave a rough and most likely overly optimistic estimations.
Many people are going nowhere fast in life and they want company. They say; “come with me and let’s waste our lives together.” In the next post Insha Allah I will write about the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) and productivity.