As the month of Ramadan — traditionally a time of fasting and prayer — approaches, many working Muslims across Malaysia will be abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. For some, the absence of regular meals may cause blood sugar levels to dip, making it somewhat of a challenge to concentrate during the work day.

But being able to focus fully at work is important to ensure that you are still at your most productive. Thankfully, this goal is quite achievable if you are mindful about how you use your time. For those fasting this Ramadan, here are some tips.

Keep your boss and colleagues in the loop

In Malaysia, the government is considering shortening civil servants’ lunch breaks by 30 minutes so that they can return home earlier. 

If you anticipate energy levels dipping during the day due to the fast, you may want to consider discussing with your supervisor the possibility of starting and ending the work day earlier as well. This way, you will be able to perform tasks when your energy levels are at their highest.

Plan ahead and prioritise

Be mindful in planning your work for the day. During the fasting month — or even on regular days — each person would have his or her own productivity peaks. So determine when you are most productive and plan your schedule in accordance with that period. For example, those with higher energy levels in the morning should ideally reserve that time for important meetings or tasks.

Try and schedule regular breaks for yourself as well — even 60 seconds away from a task can do the trick, reported business magazine Fast Company. A survey of 124 full-time professionals in Australia found that micro-breaks, like going to the bathroom or taking a walk around the office, reduced self-reported fatigue and increased vitality over the course of a work day.

Have a plan outside of work

What you do outside of work can also impact your concentration levels in the office. If you can, avoid doing anything strenuous, like jogging or carrying heavy loads, during lunch time or before breaking fast, as these activities consume energy.

Also, be sure to get ample rest and avoid any known stressors during the fasting month. Research has shown that fasting individuals experience a change in sleep patterns as meals and drinks are consumed in the evening instead of the day. To conserve energy, experts have suggested having an earlier bedtime before sahoor (the pre-dawn meal).

What you eat matters as well. A diet that  is sufficiently balanced will keep a person healthy and active during the month of Ramadan. Do not overeat during iftar (the evening meal) and sahoor as it may result in indigestion. Nutritionists have also recommended including complex carbohydrates, like brown rice and whole wheat bread, in your diet as these foods are digested more slowly, giving you more energy during the fasting hours.

Go mobile

In today’s digital age, there are numerous apps that can be used to help you boost your productivity levels the easy way.

One is popular free notebook app Evernote, which helps you to take notes on the go in multiple formats including sketch, text and audio. It also allows you to sync and comment on content across all devices. Even better, its search algorithm ensures that your saved notes, even those written by hand, can be easily retrieved.

Another recommended app is Todoist, which monitors your productivity and organises your task lists. Not only can you colour-code your tasks, you can also keep track of recurring deadlines through pre-set alerts.

Want to know how you can further boost your productivity and performance at work? Click here to see how you can be indispensable at work and the 10 tips to working smarter.

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