Identify your goals
You must identify your goals in order to spend time on the most important matters in your life. Your goals should be specific, measurable, and documented for frequent review. Also, every goal should have a specific deadline. Your goal should not be “to memorize some of the Qur’an”, for instance; rather it should be something like “memorize Surah Al-Anfal by August 15, 2017”. Other goals could be losing 20 pounds in three months, or reading an identified list of eight books during the year 2017. At the beginning of every year, review your achievements and set yearly goals.

Also, your long-term goals are part of the bigger picture – your mission in life. Your mission is the answer to the question: “What do I really want in life?” “What is the purpose of my existence?” “Why did Allah create me?” As a Muslim, you have a mission in life. Your goals must be focused on this mission.

Plan ahead
Planning offers two elements that bring order to your life. First, it tells you how to get from where you are to where you want to be. Second, it identifies the required tasks and resources to get you there. Planning is the key to controlling events in your life. Through planning, you can be proactive in achieving your goals. Set a course for your future and lay out a well-structured plan of action. Form the habit of starting each day with a planning session. During this time you should set a ‘to-do list’ and focus your attention on it throughout the day. This daily planning should be part of your long-term planning aimed at achieving your goals. Monthly and yearly reviews of your plans are a must to stay on track, modifying your behavior accordingly.

Set your priorities
Prioritizing is the key to relieving the stress of too little time. Because what we want to do requires more time then we have, we must decide what to leave undone. To do so, you have to identify the ‘must-do’, ‘should-do’, and ‘nice-to-do’ tasks. Then, you have to start with the ‘must-do’ tasks and complete them before doing any of the other two priority levels. This is because once we choose to make an investment in one task, we automatically delay all others. The process of prioritizing is deciding which task will produce the greatest return on investment for a specific period of time, to justify saying ‘No’ to all other tasks. Prioritizing is a way to focus your energy on the most important tasks until they are complete.
– AlJumuah magazine