Tomorrow is Eid, marking the end of Ramadan—the holy month during which Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. It's a month where Muslims focus more on their spirituality, and are reminded to practice patience, humility and compassion, while refraining from anger and harmful habits.
It can be a stressful month here: productivity is low because schedules are thrown into disarray, traffic is at its worst, the heat starts nearing its peak (this time of year in the Middle East), and those observing the month barely get 4-6 hours of sleep at best, especially if they're working (even though working hours are cut short—at least in GCC countries—which is a privilege we don't appreciate enough).
This Ramadan has been very different for me. I took advantage of my flexible working hours and shifted my work timings to the afternoon so I could avoid getting stuck in traffic indefinitely both on the way to work and back, and slept in the mornings.
I also participated in @haideralmosawi's virtual co-working experiment. The way the experiment worked is this: We were in a WhatsApp group that Haider opened everyday from 1-6 PM. Participants would share their tasks for the day, and report on their progress mid-way or at shut-off time.
Participating in the experiment made me acutely aware of a lot of shortcomings I have when it comes to being productive and getting stuff done. For one, I tend to get overambitious and overestimate my abilities to finish a task in the time I assign it. I seem to have poor judgment over how much time it can take to finish something, which I've noticed in other areas of my life too, for example in the time it would take to get somewhere so as to be able to schedule a meeting. I'm not sure what the solution to this is yet.
I also get easily distracted if I have too many small tasks, which give me the illusion of getting things done, but in reality.. not really.
Sometimes I wouldn't share my progress because I would be embarrassed or ashamed if I hadn't really made much headway with my tasks. I'm thankful that some of the others did. It made me realize we're all human, we're all trying, we're all doing our best, and it's okay not to be super productive every single day, because we all have our off-days.
I realized work environment plays a key role in how much you get done, and that you can't schedule admin-related stuff like paperwork or meetings and calls and tasks that require your creative output too close to each other (I actually realized this through one of Haider's productivity prompts on maker time and manager time).
I loved being a part of the community: working with individuals all on track to meet personal or professional goals, sharing our struggles and getting through them, celebrating the completion of our tasks and goals, seeing the diversity in the work everyone was involved in.
Most of all though, I became hyper aware of how I spent my time doing absolutely anything even beyond 6 PM. I wanted to extend that productivity beyond that time slot, and sometimes I did (although most times after opening my fast I would slip into a food coma that would last a while which rendered me completely useless).
I hope it's an awareness that continues to stay with me.