The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) used to say this dua at times of anxiety or sorrow,
The dua is:
Allahumma inni ‘a’udhubika minal hammi walhuzni Wal’ajzi walkasali walbukhli waljubni, Wa dal’id-daiyni wa ghalabatir-rajal
‘O Allaah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.’
If we look at all the six elements that the Dua above is asking Allah for refuge from, we would realise that all of them are anti-Productivity elements that if removed from our lives we can move forward much quicker and be more productive.
Anxiety & Sorrow:
When you’re sad, bothered, or anxious about something, you cannot be productive as your mind is taken over by what’s bothering you. Your thought process is not devoted to anything else except how to get rid of your anxiety or sorrow. Sometimes these anxieties are small, sometimes they are big, but however big/small they are, the moment these anxieties take over your life and blur your thoughts, then you need to make this dua.
Weakness & Laziness:
Weakness is when you cannot do something, and laziness is when you do NOT want to do something. And the two are inter-linked. Most people who are lazy, end up being weak. Because what started off as something you do not want to do, soon becomes something you cannot do and you end up convincing yourself that you cannot ever do. Again, both these illnesses are elements which you need to ask Allah for help in removing because they are detriment to your quality of life. Imagine not being able to achieve or do anything because you are weak or lazy, how pathetic is that for a Muslim? And as in the famous hadeeth: “Seek help from Allah and do not be weak!” That’s the formula, don’t get yourself to the level of “I cannot do it” but seek help from Allah and anything is possible!
Miserliness & Cowardice:
Productivity requires you to spend, not only money, but money, time, and effort. And spending needs courage, because the miserly are usually cowards who fear poverty or fear lack of resources, but the person with courage moves forward fearing nothing but Allah.
The Burden of Debt & Being Overpowered by Men:
There’s nothing more enslaving than the burden of debt, and that’s why there’s a number of dua that Prophet Muhammad taught his followers to remove such social slavery from his people, including one of my favourite duas: ‘O Allaah, make what is lawful enough for me, as opposed to what is unlawful, and spare me by Your grace, of need of others.’ Moreover, debt can also lead you to being overpowered of men described in the dua, which mainly happens when you owe other people something.
Such a beautiful dua should always be in our prayers and prostrations, as we’re not free from all the elements at any one time. Moreover, if you want to know the cause of the above six diseases, the answer is our sins. Nothing else brings about sadness, anxiety, miserliness, cowardice, weakness, laziness and debt except for our sins, so we need to stay guard by firstly reducing our sins and secondly making the above dua abundantly, always.