All Muslims around the world are celebrating fasting in the Holy Month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It means that followers of the religion refrain from consuming any food and beverages from sun-up to sun-down. Ideally, they should spend this time in prayer, engage in charitable activities. Also, spend time with family and friends to celebrate.
While it is an important month, it is also a challenging one for Muslims in corporate office environments and entrepreneurs. Because without food and drinks for such a prolonged period of time, our bodies will start losing energy. Lack of energy often leads to being tired and unfocused as the day wears on. Not only tired, but it goes hand in hand with less productivity and motivation.
However, with a few smart changes and strategic adjustments to our task scheduling, behaviors and priorities. We can still get plenty of productive work done before becoming too tired. It’s whether you’re working in an office setting or are on your own as an entrepreneur.
In this article we explore some tips and tricks that may help all of us to stay motivated and productive during Ramadan to get the most out of our work-day while fasting.
1. Plan and Manage your Time, Prioritize your Tasks.
Keeping your mind focused can sometimes be a challenge during Ramadan, especially later in the day when hunger pangs can become very distracting. Most people feel most energetic in the morning. While that is true in general, it becomes more relevant during the fasting time since that fact can be used as a planning and prioritizing tool.
During fasting it is beneficial to put your high priority or also the most difficult tasks first. Make a to-do-list of the most important tasks, then prioritize them in order of their urgency from high to low, and focus on finishing them one by one in the morning while still fresh.
Similarly, schedule all crucial meetings in advance to prepare for the day ahead. Make sure to state your reasons for scheduling the meetings early to your colleagues and team members, so that they have plenty of time to plan their own schedules accordingly.
Less pressing, non-challenging work and non-essential meetings can be scheduled in the afternoon when energy levels drop, productivity slows and focus wanes. This will help you make the most of your time and achieve your deadlines more efficiently.
2. Get Enough sleep and rest
Getting enough restful sleep during the night is crucial during Ramadan. This is either said than done as many shift their usual sleep and wake patterns during this time and stay up later. While it may be necessary to adjust sleeping hours, maintaining 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is essential in order to feel fresh and energetic throughout the day.
Despite anyones best efforts, the afternoon and early evening can be the toughest times for energetic work during fasting, so don’t be afraid to take a power nap to recharge. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a 30 minute rest can help restore mental fatigue, enhance performance, and boost information retention five-fold.
This will be particularly helpful if you’ve opted to stay awake after the morning meal. A lunch or early afternoon nap will give you a short burst of energy upon waking and may help reverse the productivity-blasting effects of a poor night’s rest.
3. Eat Healthy Food and Don’t Miss Out the Suhoor
During non-fasting hours, eat a balanced and nutritious diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber and protein but also carbohydrates. This will help to maintain energy levels throughout the day. It would be best to avoid overeating during Suhoor and Iftar as it can lead to digestive issues, sleep problems, and may make you feel drowsy or lethargic. Similar effects can be attributed to fatty and sugary meals.
Never skip your Suhoor either. Instead opt for healthy and moderate portions in the morning and include foods that keep you energized for the day. Oats, Eggs, Avocados, Quinoa are among the healthy foods that are good to eat. Fiber-rich foods will keep you full and satisfied longer and release energy slowly.
A balanced iftar is equally important as it is the meal that restocks your energy levels and helps to prepare the next fasting day. So an extra effort on the proper food and nutrients your body needs is a must. It may even be helpful to establish good eating habits that can continue after Ramadan.
A note on hydration: plenty of fluids including water, fresh juices and milk are a must to prevent dehydration. Water should be your first choice with 1-2 glasses of it before meals (not during). While sugary and caffeinated drinks are a popular choice for a quick energy boost, they should be avoided as they can lead to dehydration, interfere with digestion and sleep in the long run.
4. Teamwork: Communicate with your Co-worker and Manager
Employees who are fasting will normally attend work as usual. Although fasting should not be used as an excuse for not performing your best at work, it’s normal to feel exhausted and a little extra low at times.
Fasting for such a long time does take a toll on the body. It is important to not be shy with your team and to let them know when you’re struggling to complete a certain task or need a little support to get things done. An open communication policy will not only help you get through the day, but will improve teamwork and cooperation which is always a plus point.
An important factor during this period is a positive attitude and determined mindset. We have a choice, how we take each day. We can focus on the tiredness or view every day as a rewarding challenge. Overcoming challenges makes us stronger and more confident. By choosing to focus on the benefits of fasting such as increased spirituality, self-discipline, and empathy towards others, it is easier to greet each day with excitement and motivation.
5. Keep Focus
While fasting, choose wisely how to spend your lunch and other breaks. Since you won’t be eating or drinking you have lots of choices on what to do during your lunch break. How you spend that time is entirely up to you and will depend on whether you are feeling strong or weak that day.
While some of your breaks should be kept as usual, you can choose others to stay active or resting. You could for a quick walk, do a quick office exercise, meditate, stretch, have a friendly chat or play games with colleagues. Anything that keeps you engaged, active and motivated for the rest of the day ahead.
Alternatively, you could also use the extra hour as an advantage to power through some work tasks when feeling fresh. You can also take a quick nap to recharge when feeling tired.
Staying productive and motivated during Ramadan requires a combination of physical and mental preparation together with a Can do attitude. Managing your tasks, taking breaks, eating healthy and getting enough sleep are all tips that add up to a simple formula that can help you to make most of your time and achieve your goals efficiently.
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