Intuitive Working as a Form of Excellence and Getting Stuff Done

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Know that Allah is steering the path of your journey. Often perfectionism and non-intuitive working come from a place of panic and the need to be in control.

Perfectionism vs. excellence. Do you know the difference between these two?

Here’s my take on it. Perfectionism = working long hours, with no work-life balance because of the misconception that you need to be working all the time. I’ll go as far as to say that perfectionism = a non-intuitive form of working.

Excellence on the other hand = characterised by action and working for the required amount of time to get stuff done and complete. Not pushing against some invisible wall; it’s about flow and very much maintaining balance in life.

So, how does intuitive working fit into this?

Intuitive working is connected to your intuition and what fits into your life and you as a person, as a whole. The last point is important because despite what work-work-work culture has taught us, you are not made up of your work alone – you have multiple facets to your life and God calls you to honour them all.

Yes, there are times we need to get through our to-do lists and so need to just push through, however, the intuitive working mindset is about pushing through being the minimum of the time i.e. most of the time you are working in flow. Let’s take a look at an example to make sense of it all.

So, imagine the scene – you’ve got a deadline for work or college; that report is due in a week’s time and you’ve been struggling to get started on editing it. How would a perfectionist and intuitive-working mindset tackle this?

A perfectionist and non-intuitive working mindset would have you working all hours of the day even when you are dog-tired because you’re trying to make it ‘perfect’.

An intuitive, excellence mindset would have you working when your body is ready and your brain is fresh for creation.

Once you start comparing excellence and perfectionism, it’s important to clear up some misconceptions: intuitive working is not falling prey to procrastination. Instead, it is being present and enjoying your downtime mindfully. Procrastination is not enjoyable because it is going against your intuition – you convince yourself you should be working; instead you’re buying stuff on the internet in the other tabs you have open! How is this a higher vibe of living? Exactly. It’s not.

This is not a new concept in any sense. But I want to bring it to you from the perspective of Ihsan (the concept of excellence in Islam) because Allah tells us that life is about balance.

We learn this from the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) – he focused when he needed to and then once he was done he would go spend time with his family and help out at home (peace and blessings be upon him).

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By going back to this intuitive form of working we are following Sunnah in allowing balance into our lives and we are choosing to dismiss the busy-life culture which had become so prevalent pre-Covid19 (but which thankfully, we are now starting to see was and is a myth).

So, what are some simple ways to start practising intuitive working?

1. Listen to your body

This sounds so simple, but you’d be surprised at how often we are ignoring the needs of our bodies.

Don’t push through working if you are just staring blankly at your screen – get the sleep you need; the exercise you need; the fun you need. Come back to what needs doing when your body signals it is ready. Notice how much more easily the work flows (I am writing this article in the same mode!).

2. Learn to say no

If you can feel that something isn’t right for you e.g. that supposedly great opportunity or that trip out with friends. Then say no.

Don’t ignore those niggles – this is an extension of listening to your body. When you say no, you are honouring what you need and therefore you are able to work on what you are called to intuitively.

3. Trust God

Know that Allah is steering the path of your journey. Often perfectionism and non-intuitive working come from a place of panic and the need to be in control.

Yes, we need to take action, but the intuitive-working mindset is one of trusting Allah fully with the outcome of your actions.

This article was originally posted on Blog of a Believer, found here.

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