Cultures and faiths aside, if you look at any sorority or sisterhood group for mommies, one commonality that you’ll find is their collective struggle with time management as busy moms with young kids. And from the headline, you know by now that Muslim moms are no different.
The struggle is both predictable and universal. How? As soon as they wake up, they find themselves thinking about getting done with household chores, all while entertaining young children and being tasked with keeping another human alive. (A big responsibility, we might add!) So these supermoms get up in the morning, make breakfast, do the laundry, make the beds, feed the kids, the cat, manage the household — and the list goes on.
Once the breakfast is over and cleaned up, they start cooking lunch, and by the time they’re done, they’re too drained to do anything else. But does that stop them? Nope; they still have a ton of work-related tasks that needs to be done.
It can get really overwhelming. Sometimes it may even feel like the world is conspiring against you; especially when you complete one task only to have something else pop up that adds an additional five tasks to your “to-do” list.
This can be a never-ending loop and a vicious cycle. If this sounds familiar to you — even in the slightest bit — then know this post was really written with you in mind.
The Main 8 Areas of Life
We can never take care of anything that we can’t pinpoint. So even if we know that we have to take care of ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually, and financially — to name a few, we need to put the main eight areas of our lives before our eyes.
These main areas are:
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Social life
A healthy, balanced life comes from feeding these eight parts of our lives equally and consistently. And even though it sounds unattainable with all the mess that you feel surrounding you on every side, rest assured that you can with the help of Allah (ﷻ).
Here are five time management tips for you to follow as a busy Muslim mom with young kids.
1. Wake up Early
Kick-starting your day early in the morning is not only the habit of “high-achievers,” but it’s also a sunnah. The Prophet (ﷺ) would be up for tahajjud and wouldn’t sleep after dawn.
Waking up early in the morning means that you’re up before everyone else — especially your young kids. This allows you to get your most important work done when you’re most energetic.
And the good news is that Allah blesses the work you do in the early morning, so you’ll be amazed at how productive you are during that time.
2. Put Everything on a Calendar
Perhaps this means that Google Calendar will become your new best friend; whatever app or means you prefer, make sure you have things scheduled.
By putting everything on your calendar, you’ll get clarity on whether you’re setting realistic goals for your day, or you’re simply adding more tasks than your timeline can handle. This will help you tremendously with setting the right priorities for your day.
And it doesn’t matter what to, or what not to, include; it could be meals, exercises, studies, work-related tasks, house chores, hobbies, prayer, adhkar, Quran, meetings, and/or deadlines. The rule is: whatever it is that needs to be done, put it on the calendar, set the time frames, and voilà!
3. Spirituality Then Career!
Naysayers can sit aside for now. Never start your day with anything that’s not spiritual; you want to set the right mood for the rest of your day. And feeding your spiritual aspect is the best way to start your day.
So once you wake up, don’t pick up your phone and check your emails, or messages; perform your prayer, thank Allah for His blessings, and ask Him to help you get productive for the rest of the day. You can also read a few pages of the Quran, and breathe mindfully.
When you’re done, say “Bismillah,” and start working on your most important work-related tasks.
Once you’re done with nourishing your soul and with the tasks that have actual deadlines, focus on the areas in your life that you want to work on, depending on your situation.
4. Leverage the Power of Technology
Yes, technology is our main source of distraction, but it’s also our main source of blocking those distractions. Using apps like Evernote, Todoist, and Forest (a Pomodoro timer that also prevents you from going to other apps once the timer is on) can help you stay organized, focused, and productive throughout the day.
By using apps that block you from your distractions, next time you find yourself tempted to pick up your phone to your check your messages or scroll through your social media, you’ll remember that you need to get the task at hand done first.
5. Don’t Think Too Much!
I know this sounds pretty weird, but the truth is, the moment you start thinking about the fact that you need to do every single thing that’s on your to-do list, you lose your momentum.
For one, thinking about your tasks as a big, fat chunk that needs to be done will overwhelm you before you even get started. On the contrary, if you have your laser focus on each moment you are in, you’ll spontaneously finish each small chunk without procrastinating.
That’s why, if you don’t want to feel lazy or procrastinate, stay in the present moment. Not five minutes from now, not 10; focus on this particular moment and this moment only. (However, don’t expect to be perfect. It’s okay if things don’t go as we planned because Allah always has a better plan. Either way, just tie your camel first.)
The Bottom Line
Managing your time as a busy Muslim mom with young kids is not an easy task. You’re admired and respected for your ability to juggle everything during your cramped day for the sake of your family.
And because it can get really depleting if you always feel like you’re running in circles, it’s important that you tweak your day so that it flows smoothly and becomes more organized for you.