Career coaching: Top 5 ways to remain productive during Ramadan
Shorter working hours and low energy levels can increase the pressures on productivity
The holy month of Ramadan is a time for deep-introspection, empathy, fasting, prayer and gratitude. It’s a personal journey of enlightenment which requires much focus and dedicated time.
This can be challenging for anyone who has a full-time job with an expected level of productivity to be met.
The shorter working hours and low energy levels from fasting can increase the pressures on productivity even further. So what steps can you take to ensure you maintain good levels of productivity at work?
1) Practice self-care
Fasting and lack of sleep can really impact your energy levels and ability to concentrate. Not only could this affect your productivity but could result in you falling asleep at work – or worse in a client meeting.
While most employers will be sensitive to your situation, remember they are under serious pressure to meet targets. If they see you are continuously late to work, asleep or being unproductive – while others who are fasting are still managing to keep up their productivity levels – they might not be too impressed. This might affect how you are viewed within the company – and subsequently your career advancement.
To ensure maximum energy levels and productivity, it’s crucial you practice as much self-care as possible. This includes getting enough sleep when you can - both at night and after work – and eating the right foods at iftar and suhoor. Sugary and processed foods can play havoc with our blood glucose and energy levels.
Opt for nutritious foods that are high in fibre, complex carbohydrate, protein and good fats instead. Also take the time to exercise – even a 30-minute walk can do wonders for both body and mind.
2) Plan your day
First thing in the morning, plan exactly what you want to achieve that day and how much time you need to accomplish each task. Prioritise your workload, blocking out time in your diary for each task. Do your most important tasks at the time of day you have the most energy. Remember to also block out time for breaks, and prayer times.
3) Communicate with your manager
Most bosses don’t really care about when you work – as long as you get the work done. Speaking to your boss about flexible hours – so you can work when you are most productive – is an option. For example, if you have more energy in the morning, you might ask to work 6am – 12pm instead of 9am – 3pm.
Alternatively if you are at your best after iftar, you could agree with your boss to do some work in the evenings and start work a bit later the next day (agreeing on work deadlines would be met). Most decent bosses will allow for some flexibility. And if you have a difficult boss and they say no, then at least have taken steps to manage their expectations in terms of your productivity during the standard hours.
If there was ever a time to learn how to delegate, this is it. Shorter working hours means you need to have razor sharp focus on the work that will bring results. If you have any tasks that can be done by someone else in your team, delegate them.
Not only are you freeing up your time, but you are giving your team members an opportunity to grow from more responsibility and further learning. If you have nobody to delegate too, speak to your boss about sharing the workload with someone else.
5) Make effective use of your time
During Ramadan it’s not uncommon for some employees and key decision-makers to be out of the office on vacation. This could mean your projects and tasks might be put on hold. For some this can be frustrating. However, what this means is that you might have some extra time on your hands to focus on increasing efficiencies within your role, department or company.
Looking at what processes and procedures could be changed or streamlined is a great use of time during what might be a quieter month at work. Opportunities like this don’t come along very often, so make the most of them while you can!
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