As Ramadan approaches, some things to consider is how we use the time in the best way possible. Too often, we end up wasting our time doing shopping, cleaning and at iftars that cause us to forget the purpose of Ramadan- in order to gain closeness to Allah.

Here are some ideas that may help us ahead of time:

1) Food- do your Ramadan and Eid groceries before Ramadan begins. Make a list of all the things that you need and purchase them early.
2) Choose clothes for Eid ahead of time so you don't waste valuable time in the last 10 days searching for Eid clothing. If you can't consider purchasing them earlier rather than later.
3) Sadaqatul Fitr- we give it each year. This is the charity that must be given by the head of a household on behalf of each individual in the home. Set it aside so you can pay it, if possible in the first week of Ramadan.
4) Cleaning schedule. We always clean before Eid. This year consider cleaning in the last five days of the middle ten days of Ramadan- (all the big cleaning). Ideally, choose one area for each day and do it well. This way, it is manageable, you don't waste your entire day cleaning and more importantly you dont waste valuable time in the last 10 days cleaning and tiring yourself out.
5) Create a meal plan, so that you can know what you are cooking ahead of time. Consider cooking a couple different meals and keep them in the fridge and take out and heat as needed. This saves whomever cooks, spending hours each day cooking and tiring themselves in such a way that they aren't able to fully benefit. Eat enough and not too much.
6) Make a Qur'an plan- choose a couple verses or surahs to memorize. Stick to your memorization plan.
7) Plan to read a certain amount of the Qur'an each day (with the translation) so that you can reflect.
8) Play one juz of Qur'an in audio or on the computer each day
9) Make a list of personal goals for yourself to help you become better than you are right now. What bad habit/s do you want to break? What good practices do you want to build on/start/continue?
10) Plan to cut down on the things that pre-occupies your thoughts/time each day- phones, internet, computers, games etc.
11) Find ways to do good, start in your own home by helping out and expand from there. Remember in Ramadan we should be more active not less active.
12) Find something you can read each day to help you expand your knowledge, it can be simply one new verse or hadith or something else.

This is not an exhaustive list; you don't have to do everything on it either; choose what works for you. Feel free to add to it. However, it has some ideas for you to consider as we move to this month of light that we pray will illuminate our hearts and the path that will lead us to Him ~ Ameen.