Category Archives: Fajr Habit

How To Wake Up For Fajr – Days 6 – 12

Day 6 – Monday 24th January

On Day 6, I got woken up by some random noises at about 5:30am. This was very annoying and although I continued to rest, I don’t think I actually slept much at all before the alarm went off at 7am. This was bound to happen at some point during this 30 day trial, and I’m glad I got it out of the way early on. I was grumpy for about the first hour of the day, but after waking up fully & showering, the day continued as normal. I’m going to blame the grumpiness for why I didn’t manage to get myself to my 10:30am Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, which I’m meant to take on Mondays & Fridays. Finally, I taught Module 3 of the “Time For Quran” program tonight.

Day 7 – Tuesday 25th January

I knew Tuesday would be a challenge (not in the morning – I woke up completely fine), but at night. As well as a pretty full day of work, I had a tele-conference at 1am on Tuesday night/ Wednesday morning. It was at this ridiculous time because most of the online marketing guru types live in California. I slept 1.5 hours, from 11:30pm to 1am, got up (shattered) and made it to the conference. It was worth my while – I got some valuable tips on blogging & ideas on where to go next in my online business.

After the tele-conference I hit the sack, and woke up at 7am sharp the next day…

Day 8 – Wednesday 26th January

I was quite pleased with myself on Day 8, because I would have allowed myself to sleep in until 9am, due to last night’s activites, but when the alarm went of at 7am, it felt easy & natural to react to it as normal. I had meetings from 10am onwards, and was doing Quran Coaching until about 9:30pm

After that I was well & truly shattered, and crashed.

Day 9 – Thursday 27th January

On Thursday 27th Jan 2011, everything ran quite smoothly. I woke up very refreshed at 7am, and it seems that sleeping for a solid 7.5 hours makes up for any ‘glitches’ or erratic sleeping on previous nights. I kind of took the day off from work, which seems to naturally happen after the ‘hard-core’ day of non-stop Quran Coaching on Wednesday. Besides, I had to get stuff from IKEA, which is more ‘work’ than anything I do at my desk ;)

Day 10 – Friday 28th January

Friday was great – I always take Fridays off and do a Tajweed class, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, followed by Jummah, and then spend the afternoon/ evening chilling with Erika, my wife. Sometimes after Jummah I spend a couple of hours sorting out my priorities for the upcoming week, and doing the “7 Steps To Maximize Relaxed Productivity”, a variation of the GTD Weekly Review Process, explained in Module 3 of the “Time For Quran” program. It’s a nice way to wrap up the week.

Day 11 – Saturday 29th January

Saturday was ridiculously productive. I jumped out of bed at 7am, had a good breakfast, showered & was coaching from 9am – 11am. I then took an hour break, and returned to work from 12pm – 2pm. This is my optimum working pattern – 2 hours of un-interrupted focus time, with 1 hour breaks for recovery, meals, prayer, etc. If you have freedom in your schedule I’d highly recommend giving it a go. It fits in with our natural circadian rhythms, and keeps you in the ‘zone’ for as long as possible.

I think knowing that I don’t have to work, makes me feel like doing it more. It’s probably related to my personality type (Type 9 – Mediator). When stressed for time, I tend to become reflective; when in a phase of ease, I tend to be extremely productive.

Day 12 – Sunday 30th January

Woke up at 7am. My wife and I started to watch the TV show 24, from the very first episode yesterday. Last night I was very tempted to stay up late watching it – it’s sooooo addictive. Instead we agreed that she would stay up and watch an episode, and I’d catch it up in the morning, which I just did ;)

This is where most people (including me, a couple of years ago) would probably slip up in installing the wake up from Fajr habit. By trying to wake up and forcing yourself to be super-productive first thing in the morning, you restrict yourself from meeting certain emotional needs. The needs that get met the night before when you’re hanging out with friends and family, watching a show, or just talking. If in your mind you “have to” go to bed because you “have to” wake up early and you “have to” do productive things, you’re much more likely to stay up late, because in reality you need to emotionally connect with your loved ones and want to enjoy the next episode of the TV show or read the next chapter of the book. Don’t be in denial or fight these natural desires – work with them.

By allowing yourself to take it easy when you wake up, and do what you would have done the night before, waking up early becomes easy, and before you know it, it will be a habit. At that point you can gently start introducing new habits, such as using the first waking hour productively.

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How To Wake Up For Fajr Habit: Days 1-5

If you want to wake up for Fajr every day of the week, you need to know 2 things. First, how to install a new habit. Second, how to train your mind and body to react when you first wake up, so you don’t stay in bed or fall back to sleep. Both of these will be covered in other posts. This one jumps ahead a little and give you an insight into how I’m installing the Fajr habit personally.

You see, about a week ago, I decided that 2011 would be the year I consciously decide to improve my personal self-discipline, using 30-day new habit trials.  I’ll explain how you can install any habit in 30 days in a future post. This post is going to explore the first 5 days of the first 30-day habit trial I do this year – waking up and staying up from Fajr.

This is something I’ve done consistently in the past, but in all honesty it’s been a bit rocky since summer 2010. When you work from home and only have deadlines you set yourself, there’s no real reason to wake up early. Well, except for all the baraqa, blessings, and productivity 🙂

Anyway, since I’m re-installing it, I thought it would be beneficial to share the experience with you, so when you do it yourself, you know what to expect.

Defining the Habit

In order for this new habit to work, I decided not to put any ‘rules’ on what I have to do when I wake up. Some people advise having a morning ritual, which is a good idea usually. However, the morning routine I want to ultimately put in place is quite gruelling, involving dhikr, exercise, Quran and other stuff, and it will instantly collapse if I don’t wake up early. So, my only goal for the next 25 days is to wake up every day at 7am and stay up.

By the way, if that seems ridiculously easy to you, bear a couple of things in mind: first, I work from home with a completely flexible schedule, so no-one’s going to tell me off, or fire me if I don’t get up; second, I selected 7am because that’s the ‘sweet spot’ – the time when I can pray Fajr every day for 3/4 of the year, without missing it. In the UK the ‘sweet spot’ is probably 6am, depending on where you are (I live in Spain).You can check prayer times to find out what the ‘sweet spot’ is where you live. Finally, we’re talking about doing this every single day, including weekends. Waking up for Fajr is a life-style change, not a habit done in a zombie-like state.

Also, training myself to wake up at 7am is the same difficulty as waking up at 5am, from where I am right now. But that would just create 2 extra hours in the morning that I’m awake and my wife is asleep, and 2 extra hours at night when the opposite is true. That seems pointless to me right now, but I might try it in the future – some people I know swear by it.

Days 1 – 5

Because there are no ‘rules’ about what I have to do when I wake up, I’ve basically done whatever I wanted over the last 4 days. Day 1 was difficult waking up but by the time I had prayed Fajr, I was wide awake. Although I probably still would have gone back to sleep if I hadn’t made a really strong commitment to do this 30 day habit thing. I really took the biscuit on Day 2, when I woke up and just played Mario on the Wii for about an hour, in order to stop myself from falling asleep.

I’m on Day 5 today, and I woke up with no problems and no hesitation. I also had no thoughts of going back to sleep in contrast to the previous 4 days. It appears my nafs is getting used to the idea that when I wake up, there is no going back, so its learning to just deal with it. This is a stark contrast to days 1 & 2 when all I thought about was going back to bed!

Alhamdulillah, I think I’ve passed the first threshold now though – most of the mornings have unintentionally been quite productive. I’ve spent them: cleaning up; doing admin work; today I re-invented this blog; catching up on email (although that was a bad idea first thing in the morning, as it put me in ‘reactive’ mode all day); and creating content for upcoming Quran Coaching programs.

The biggest motivating ‘boost’ is seeing the blue A4 sheet on the pin board to the left of my desk with the month to view, and 5 days in a row crossed off. Because I’m taking this year slow, and tackling one habit at a time, it’s doing wonders for my self-esteem. That’s because I know I’m doing my best, and if I keep going, I’ll be a much better version of me by this time next year, insha’Allah 🙂