Ramadan and time management

In conversations with friends, it’s become pretty apparent that not having enough food is definitely not the biggest complaint in Ramadan. We get hungry, sure, but it’s something we do every year, and it’s bearable. (Plus, one of the facets of fasting is to know how it feels to not eat food. It makes us more sympathetic to those who don’t have the same availability of food, and it won’t do to complain about that.)

No, the biggest complaint I’ve heard — and have myself — is lack of time and lack of sleep. This Ramadan has been EXHAUSTING.

For those of us in America, sunset, when we break our fast, is steadily moving further back every year. And, if you’re like me, there comes a point in the day when you’re just simply not productive anymore. I know many people who are lucky enough to work a 9 to 5 job try to take naps after getting home so that they’re a little more refreshed for when they can eat again. But, that means, in Chicago, you have time to do everything you need to do after 8 p.m. And if you attend taraweeh, the night prayers, that time is cut drastically short. And, to top it all off, you have to get up again at 3:30 a.m. or so to eat before daybreak.

It’s a long day, and there aren’t many moments to catch sleep. Plus, it’s not the best time for the Olympics. As much as I try to limit my TV consumption during Ramadan, I always want to catch up on at least a few Olympic events during the day. And, if you’re used to having your cup of coffee in the morning to make you alert for the day, Ramadan is a rude wake-up call to a non-caffeinated life.

But, please don’t think of this as a long list of complaints against Ramadan. It definitely isn’t. It’s just a practical look at the fact that time is an issue during the month.
So, what can be done about it?

First, sacrificing sleep for your faith can be a great thing. It’s a matter of recognizing your priorities.

Second, time management is a great skill to work on in Ramadan. We all feel there simply isn’t enough time to do everything. So, we have to figure out what’s most important to us. And, hopefully, that’s a lesson that will stick with us for the rest of the year as well.

Are you guys facing the same dilemma during Ramadan? What are you doing about it?

Pop Culture Hijabi is a weekly column by Nadia Malik. Malik is a former newspaper reporter based in Chicago who’s now making her way as a freelancer. She spends entirely too much time watching TV and reading pop culture, fashion and TV blogs. She also occasionally consumes serious books and news. No, really. You can reach her at info@hijabtrendz.com with “pop culture hijabi” in the subject line, follow her at www.twitter.com/nadiamalik or simply leave a comment below.

This article has 4 comments

  1. Nadia Malik

    It’s great to hear I’m not the only one who’s having these issues!
    Isabel, you’re right, Ramadan is definitely a time to reflect and realize how much we take for granted the things we normally do.
    qatheworld, I feel like I can easily fall into the “stay away until suhoor” trap as well, but I agree there are days at work where I’m just going through the motions! So I don’t want to do that.
    Amira, I know what you mean, I haven’t been able to go to taraweeh at all this year. It’s a great time to spend with community and get a spiritual uplift, but there are definitely ways to get the most out of Ramadan without losing THAT much sleep. 🙂 Maybe making a goal of going at least once or twice a week is the best route.

  2. Isabel

    This is my Ramadan #5 (since I’m convert Alhamdulillah) and this is one of the most easiest one. So far I has only miss one Suhoor but living in a house that I’m the only one that is muslim and fast, I think is not so bad 🙂 I work full time from 8am to 5pm so I don’t have time to get hungry. Is really a time to reflect not only in the spiritual but too in how much things we eat only because it taste good, not because we are hungry and most of them are junk food and bad for our healthy. I think that Ramadan should be twice a year because is really like a battery charger (spiritual charger) that help us been a better person and to think in all the things that we have and take for granted, like a car, house, work, health, food, family and the opportunity to live and be better persons day by day. On this times we really have to appreciate what we have and help other people that are not to lucky like us. Salams!!
    PS. I love hijabtrendz

  3. Amira

    YES! I have been having difficulties waking up for Suhoor and in general. I’m taking summer classes and have missed two sessions of one class already because I couldn’t wake up! I have skipped Suhoor a few times because to me it is easier to go without food than to sacrifice my sleep. I actually found that I am less hungry if I don’t wake up for Suhoor. . . Strange, I know. I am more productive at work during Ramadan because I keep myself extremely busy so I do not think about how hungry I am. I went to Taraweeh the first 3 days, but couldn’t stay awake for my morning class (the professor’s voice already but me to sleep). Between that and work, I haven’t been to Taraweeh much. Hopefully I can go more often before Ramadan ends. It’s just so difficult because I would be running on only 4 hours of sleep! I’ve seen my sister do that and it wrecked havoc on her.

  4. qatheworld

    This has definitely been an issue for me :/ I have fallen into the bad habit of staying up until suhoor because it’s the only time I have any energy, and after I eat, I finally “wake up.” Yet, I don’t seem to accomplish very much during this time anyway except eating. Napping at home is not an option unless I can also convince my son to nap (not). Luckily he’s now old enough to stay up late for iftar so he sleeps in a little. At work I turn into a zombie :P. I have already overslept and been late to work more than once due to not getting enough sleep. Also this year I’m trying to mediate a medical condition and fast at the same time (I figured since I was fasting before I knew I had it, it should be possible…) but it’s exacerbated by things like dehydration and heat and causes even more exhaustion and mental fog. I really need to get a grip on things.. we’re halfway there! Thank goodness for the “break” we women get, to recuperate 😛 normally the worst time of the month for me, but now, refreshing.

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