5 Tips for a More Productive Ramadan


Happy 1st of June! As we are already into the 6th day of the Islamic holy month of fasting; Ramadan, I’d like to wish you all a Ramadan Kareem and share some productivity tips for work and study during this busy, significant month.

During Ramadan, Muslims are required to observe daily fasting from the hours of sunrise to sunset for the entire holy month. During this time of year, many people are studying for and sitting exams which may seem quite a challenge considering no food or drink can be consumed during the daylight hours. However, as someone who has studied for many, many exams and worked a full time job during long days in the summer months of Ramadan, I can attest how Ramadan can actually increase productivity for work, study and even business. Here are my top 5 tips:

1. Create a timetable for the entire month

Ramadan is very clear on what activities you can and can’t do during the day and night. Creating a timetable so you know what time to have a suhoor (pre-fast snack/meal), times to pray the daily 5 prayers, when to prepare for Iftar (meal for breaking the fast) will allow you to manage your time easily and allocate the time you need for work or study tasks during the day and/or after breaking your fast.

2. Stay hydrated

Even though you can’t drink during daylight hours of fasting, it’s very important to start breaking your fast with water and ensure you keep a steady intake of fluids after breaking fast. Avoid caffeinated drinks and opt for water and natural fruit juices that can boost your energy levels, especially during suhoor time.

3. Don’t stay awake the entire night

It’s easy to get carried away with the festive Ramadan nights but when you have to work and/or study, your priority is to sleep as early as you can so you can get up early too. The night is for sleeping and no matter how much sleep you may think you can get during the day, it’s not and never will amount to the quality of sleep your body gets during the night. It’s better to sleep after Isha prayers and wake up half an hour before Fajr for Suhoor and Tahajjud (night prayers).

4. Avoid going back to sleep after Fajr prayer

Fajr is the first and earliest of the 5 obligatory daily prayers. My ideal is to wake up around 30 mins before Fajr (the first of the 5 obligatory prayers) for Tahajjud. After prayer Fajr you will naturally feel vibrant and alert. Sont go back to bed after praying Fajr because starting your day as early as possible is no doubt one of the fundamental keys to success and an early start also helps keep your energy levels in balance throughout the day.

5. Be consistent through the entire month

Keeping a good daily routine requires a high level of consistency because once you loose focus and start doing too many things out of the order of your normal schedule more than once, your daily routine looses it’s structure and no longer becomes a routine. This is likely to mean less productivity and more procrastination for you.  sometimes consistency can be a difficult thing to get used to if you’ve been accustomed to an unstructured daily life. However, once you’ve put in place a structured routine (i.e.: by creating a Ramadan timetable) that is suited to your personal objectives and goals,  you’ll find it more beneficial than a burden. You are also far more likely to continue these productive habits even after the holy month of Ramadan.

It’s very important to remember Ramadan is a month that encourages productivity not laziness. Even though Muslims are required to abstain from eating and drinking during the day, it is not means for sleeping as a replacement for eating until the time to break fast. Many students are observing the fast alongside preparations and sitting exams this June so understanding that a good work balance between night and day, using time effectively and wisely and being consistent in your daily routine are some basic keys to leading a successful, productive and fulfilling life, both spiritually and materially as well as achieving success during exam periods and after.
I hope you’ve found my 5 tips helpful and I wish you a productive and successful Ramadan.

Ramadan Kareem,

~ Nafisa

My New Book: ‘An Easy Guide To Creating POWERFUL PRESENTATIONS’

Happy 1st of May! I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since the book signing event of my first publication. I’m extremely pleased again to finally be able to share my latest book, ‘An Easy Guide To Creating Powerful Presentations’.


Just like my previous academic books, ‘An Easy Guide To Creating Powerful Presentations’ is a reader-centred step-by-step guide which includes planning and organisational worksheets to guide you through and help you create powerful presentations that will have a long lasting impact on your audience. This book focuses on each crucial stage and concept that is essential in creating effective and impactful presentations.

 ‘An Easy Guide To Creating Powerful Presentationscovers all the essential of good presentation and communication skills including signpost language and body language to help develop your confidence and public speaking skills.

For the contents page of ‘An Easy Guide To Creating Powerful Presentations’, click here.

‘An Easy Guide To Creating Powerful Presentations’ is available in paperback on Amazon (RRP £12.95) free UK delivery, T&Cs apply.

For the eBook version, you can purchase and download from my shop MissPhDiva & Co

Kate Spade New York Notebooks


If you’re a regular visitor to my blog or follow my Instagram page then it’s no surprise how much of a stationery lover and addict I am, though it’s also clear I’m only attracted to super glam and super girly notebooks and pens. In this case, Kate Spade stationery is no doubt very much up my street, with it’s simple elegance, glamour and sophistication, Kate Spade pens and notebooks always have me salivating immediately. So of course I was extremely excited and happy to finally get my hands on these gorgeous Kate Spade spiral notebooks.

First Impressions:

When I received my Kate Spade items, everything was neatly wrapped as you would expect from any bougie brand, so it felt a bit like opening birthday presents which only added to the allure of the notebooks. The larger notebook: Kate Spade New York mini polka dot large spiral has a very hard, sturdy front and back cover which makes it heavier than the smaller Kate Spade New York gold pavillion (medium) spiral notebook (this is approx. A5 size) which still has a cardboard cover but is not as solid as the large notebook.

The inside of the larger notebook: Kate Spade New York mini polka dot large spiral opens into a beautiful double spread of black polka dots on a cream page with a sleeve/pouchette on the right hand side to keep papers. This wonderful touch is replicated on the next page too, so there’s plenty of space to keep bits of paper organised in one place.


The smaller Kate Spade New York gold pavillion medium spiral notebook doesn’t have a sleeve/pouchette feature but it opens up into a beautiful bright pink interior with cream lined quality paper pages and golden spiral binding:


Price:

Kate Spade merchandise does come at a costly price in comparison to pretty much the same products you can purchase from regular high street retailers. However, the allure and quality of Kate Spade products can almost justify the need to splurge on such pretty items of stationery. I always feel that a pretty desk and pretty stationery inspires me to be more productive and take pride in my work which is why although I think £12 for the smaller Kate Spade New York gold pavillion medium spiral notebook and £16 for the larger Kate Spade New York mono polka dot spiral notebook may be expensive but at the same time totally worth it to brighten up your work days and be the envy of your work/study colleagues in the office or at college or university!

Conclusion:
I’ve been using my Kate Spade notebooks for almost a month now and I love the hard back and sturdiness of the larger Kate Spade New York mono polka dot notebook in addition to the double sleeve/pouchette feature inside which helps me keeps my pieces of paper organised which is totally handy for my admin as a teacher.

I also love the lightweightness of the smaller Kate Spade New York gold pavillion medium spiral notebook which I use to jot down lesson notes/class profiles especially during this busy exam period. The bright gold polka dots also brightens up desk and is a pleasure to carry as arm candy to my daily meetings – viva glam teacher!


Get your very own gorgeous Kate Spade stationery from House of Fraser today, free UK delivery on orders over £50 (T&Cs apply)



Success, Confidence & Ambitions for Twenty Seventeen

I hope I’m not too late in wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous Twenty Seventeen. Last year was indeed quite an eventful year for me. I successfully launched my education and lifestyle business, saw my blog grow tremendously in its readership and published my first book; ‘An Easy Guide To Writing Essays‘.

As we welcome the wonderful new year, I am very pleased to present two of my new publications; ‘Signatures of a Boss‘ and ‘12 Keys To Success‘.

Signatures of a Boss

Signatures of a Boss‘ is written from an entrepreneurial point of view for aspiring and ambitious individuals. It is a reader-centred guide filled with steps and strategies for being a smart, confident and goal-focused individual whether in the field of education, work or business. This eBook is available for instant digital download from my online store; MissPhDiva & Co.

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12 Keys To Success

12 Keys To Success‘ is a strategically designed, straightforward and reader-centred guide on achieving your visions and dreams and written with 12 useful tips based on my first hand experience and strategies I’ve used to turn my education, business and career goals into tangible results. It is designed with hands-on practical advice to engage active rather than passive reading. This eBook is available for instant digital download from my online store; MissPhDiva & Co.

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Complimentary Boss Planner™ & Twenty Seventeen Calendars

As a bonus gift, both eBooks come with complimentary planning tools to help you plan your year and goals like a boss. Included with the digital downloads of both eBooks are:

♦The Boss Planner™ cover and intro
♦The Boss Planner™ week and day view printable agendas
♦The Boss Planner™ 2017 year view planner
♦Twenty Seventeen full page 12 month calendar
♦Twenty Seventeen 12 month view calendar

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Please use the complimentary code: SUCCESS at checkout to get a further 10% off your purchase of both eBooks.

I wish you a success and productive Twenty Seventeen 

~ Nafisa



The Rule of 3

The rule of 3 is a concept I teach my students regularly for learning and remembering information, academic writing and presentation skills. 

It’s a simple concept which has proved very effective for both my students and I. Whether you are a student, career professional or business person, the rule of 3 is a classic and useful approach to presentations and good communication in general.

The Rule of 3 is one of the oldest in the book – Aristotle wrote about it in his book Rhetoric. Put simply it is that people tend to easily remember three things. – Charles Hooton, Presentation Skills,  BEO Masters Programme 2016

Rule of 3 in presentation skills

In regard to presentation skills, the rule of 3 can be summarised and remembered as follows:

♦ A good presentation is divided in three parts; a beginning, middle and an end. Therefore, you should plan in advance the information to present and what section it should be included in.

♦ An audience is highly likely to only remember three  things from your presentation, so carefully consider the three key  things you want them to take away from your speech. Here you are only concerned with important information and not every minor detail.

♦ Famous speeches, past and present focus on three major points, for example;

Veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered) – Julius Caesar

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning – Sir Winston Churchill

Friends, Romans, Countrymen – William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar

Rule of 3 in academic writing

In academic writing, the rule of three is also useful and applicable;

  • Just as in a presentation, an essay structure also consists of an introduction, main body and conclusion. In order to present information in a logical, interesting sequence which can be understood by the reader, you should also plan the information to include and what section it should be under.
  • When making a point or argument, the basic structure should include the following three; statement of the point/issue/argument, evidence to support the point, analysis and development of the point and evidence.
  • When writing an essay, the standard and minimum number of times you should draft and write it before submission is 3; you should write your plan, write a draft version and then re-write a final piece.

Rule of 3 in wider learning, work and/or business

Rule of 3 is also an effective method of organising and managing content for study and revision of topics for tests and exams.

♦ Some useful tips for work, study and exam revision:

  • Divide long tasks into 3 smaller manageable ones over a 3 separate periods (e.g.: days, weeks, etc).
  • Write three key points per post it note or flashcard, this makes it easier and quicker to take in important information especially when reviewing and revising for tests and exams.
  • Use three different coloured pens or highlighters to underline important information contained in pages of long texts; decide what colour represents what, for example – pink for important dates, yellow for names of places, blue for names of people. This makes it easy for you to see important information quicker when skimming through large pieces of information.

I hope you have found this post on the rule of 3 useful and more importantly I hope you find ways to make it work for you for work and study and improving your presentation skills. Please share this with others who you think may also benefit from it.

~ Nafisa

5 Basic Elements of Good Academic Writing


There is no magic wand for learning good academic writing, however, there are ways to make it easier, more manageable and fun. Here are my 5 simple tips for good academic writing:


♦ Remember, you can download your free PDF copy of these 5 basic elements of academic writing here. Print and use it to help you study.

Enjoy,

~ Nafisa



 

 

Hello November!


Happy 1st of the month! If you follow my blogs, you’ll know how much I love new beginnings. To share my excitement about the beginning of this new month, I’m sharing my November 2016 30 day calendar.

It’s in PDF format so you can download it here and print in any size you want to insert in your planner or folder.

Enjoy,

Nafisa ♥

Hello November – Month view calendar. Download your free PDF copy now 💕



 

 

Using Word Tables for Learning Academic Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives & Adverbs


There are many words in English that have forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. For example; beauty (noun), beautify (verb), beautiful (adjective), beautifully (adverb).  It is very useful to learn as many of these common words used in academic writing in their noun/verb/adjective/adverb forms. However, there are also some words that do not always have all 4 forms.

Here is a list of common words with their noun/verb/adjective/adverb forms and academic word table to organise other words you learn.

Here is an academic vocabulary worksheet with activities to check your understanding.

You can also check your answers to these activities using the answer key here.

Academic word table, exercises and answer key available to download and print, click the links above this photographs to download yours.

Enjoy,

~ Nafisa



English Grammar – Using Definite & Indefinite Articles ‘the’/’a’/’an’

I have often come across many students and second language speakers of English (many of whom have a high command or are almost fluent) that find it difficult to remember when to use ‘the’/’a’/’an’. Some languages (mostly Slavic) don’t have definite and indefinite articles, so it is particularly difficult for speakers of Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian etc to understand when to use the articles. I have taught many lessons on this and have found that it is necessary to understand and remember the general rules and exceptions of when to use both definite and indefinite articles.

In this post we look at when to use ‘the’, ‘a’ and ‘an’ and some common mistakes students make and how to avoid them.

When do we use the definite article ‘the’?

We use the definite article ‘the’ in front of a noun when

  1. we think a person knows exactly what we are talking about e.g.: my bag is on the chair (I am talking to my friend, we both can see the chair in the room)
  2. if there is only one of something in the world e.g.:

The Pope is visiting Russia.

The moon is very bright tonight.

The Queen of England is Elizabeth II.

In all of the above sentences there is only ONE subject, there aren’t 10 popes in the world or 20 moons or 5 Queens of England at the same time

3. because there is only one in that place or in those surroundings, for example:

We live in a small village next to the church. (there is only ONE church in our village)

‘Dad, can I borrow the car?’ (our family has only one car)

This is why we use the definite article with a superlative adjective because there usually is only ONE biggest/smallest/nicest something e.g.:

He is the tallest boy in the class

It is the oldest building in the town

She is the prettiest girl on TV

That is the most expensive ring in the shop

This is the most beautiful flower in the garde

MissPhDiva - English Grammar a/an/the

General Rules:

  • We don’t use ‘the’ for people’s first names unless we are talking about a whole family e.g.:

The Obamas live in Washington

The Beckhams are from England

The Khans bought a new car last week

  • We don’t use ‘the’ for countries like England, France, Zimbabwe, Spain or India unless a country is a group of islands or states, a kingdom or republic e.g.:

The United Kingdom

The Republic of Ireland

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The United States of America

The Democratic Republic of Congo

The People’s Republic of China

The Netherlands

We don’t use ‘the’ for cities like London, Paris, Tokyo except for cities/states like The Hague, The Vatican City

  • When do we use the indefinite article ‘a’/’an’?

1. We use the indefinite articles ‘a’ or ‘an’ before a singular noun when we mention something for the first time in a paragraph e.g.:

We have a new student in our class. His name is Guru and he’s 19.

2. We use ‘a’ if the noun doesn’t begin with a vowel (letters a/e/i/o/u) e.g.: a  book, a pen, a computer

3. We use ‘an’ if the noun begins with a vowel e.g.: an apple, an explanation, an essay

4. We also use ‘an’ if the noun begins with the letter ‘h’ which has a silentsound e.g.: an hour, an honest person

5. We use ‘a’ or ‘an’ for a singular noun which is one of many and not specific e.g.:

I found a great book in the library (there are many books in the library)

A student from our university lost his phone (there are many students in the university)