Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fasting v Productivity

Does Fasting Kill Your Productivity?
Customarily while fasting you will probably try to do as little as you have to, sleep as long as you can and keep your mind off from food by any means – even if this consists of playing games, listening to nasheeds, entertaining yourself with idle talk. Psychologically we may very well feel that fasting is impedes productivity…well for a true and sincere believer this is far from true!

'How many of those who fast get nothing from it but hunger and thirst?!'(hadith)

This saying should be taken as a warning. Many Muslims are fasting without any benefit to themselves, neither experiencing any spiritual elevation nor being able to leave sin and draw closer to Allah, The Exalted. Fasting becomes a matter of merely skipping meals, and at iftar the missed food is 'made up for' in the form of a feast.

However, if you are practicing a truly Islamic fasting then it is a completely different experience. Ramadan is the month in which the rewards for good actions have no limits, the month in which we discipline ourselves and thus increase our productivity!

Understanding Productivity Boosters and Productivity Drainers

1. What are your productivity boosters?

Sincere intentions, clear plans, a sense of purpose and responsibility, sustained focus, high motivation and a positive attitude help you achieve your goals.

2. What are your productivity drainers?

Productivity drainers include procrastination, emails and spam management, tedious office tasks, negativity, unclear aims, and interruptions.

If you analyze these elements you'll realize that they have nothing to do with food intake or physical energy levels!

The purpose of this article, in part, is to enlist in detail the numerous health benefits of fasting, but we do want to emphasize that such a correlation between fasting and productivity exists.

Fasting may just be the perfect solution to overcome your productivity drainers.

5 Major Factors on How Fasting Enhances Your Productivity:

1. You become more conscious of your behaviour and thought patterns.

In the first three days in particular, you will realize how our minds are put on "automatic", most of the time we don't actually pay attention to everything we do. Reminding ourselves that we are fasting makes us more conscious of Allah, and aware of our actions and thoughts. This 'consciousness' we experience whilst fasting enables us to eliminate any unproductive behaviour you may want to engage in.

2. Breaking habits is facilitated.

Many Muslims give up smoking during this month, for example. Unproductive habits are nothing but actions done so often that they become part of our lives. When we refrain from such a basic and innate need such as eating and drinking, we realize we also have the ability to stop those nasty habits which we thought we 'needed'. We truly witness the strength of the mind and heart during Ramadan and are reminded that we are capable and obligated to be doing better and less bad. Which habits are you willing to take up and which do you decide to let go?

3. Fasting reduces common time wasters such as coffee, cigarettes or snack breaks.

If you think about it, we do spend a lot of time preparing snacks/meals, and then eating, and then washing up, so on and so forth. The simple fact that you are not interrupting your work will help you stay on track and finish sooner and give you more free time. On average it takes us 15 to 30 minutes to recapture the same level of concentration we had before the interruption and sometimes we feel we have just missed the necessary 'mood' to complete the activity.

4. Fasting improves concentration and focus.

One of the most beautiful effects that fasting has is the channelling of your energies into productive projects. We learn to say "No" to our impulses thus improving the control of the mind over the body. When we discipline ourselves, for a determined period, we are in fact reinstating control over our limbs. We start breaking the mental barriers that held us off in the past.

5. Fasting allows your body to start the healing and regenerating process.

If you suffer from health problems, fasting is often required to put your body in the right environment to start healing. When you think back to a time when you were ill, you will also remember your lack of appetite. This is necessary so that your body takes advantage of every bit of energy for the curative process. Also, you will likely feel younger and healthier (yet another great productivity booster).