We’ve always believed that it is hard to look at a person’s productivity at work outside of their personal circumstances, family, inclusive. Happiness at home always translates to better productivity at work.
Before COVID-19, it was so easy to see life on the hamster wheel as the norm – wake up and be in a mad rush all day until bedtime. Today, everyone is on slow motion, and families are forced to spend time together. This lockdown has caused many people to make changes and we asked one of our friends who would like to remain anonymous to share his experience. Enjoy the read.
‘I started working in 1996, right after graduation from high school and taking Nigeria’s University entrance examination (JAMB). Every holiday was spent on a job and even now that I work in corporate, I have never really had a vacation. I am in mid-management in IT and need to regularly update my skills, so even official leave is used to prepare for exams or research something so that the most I have ever really had was a week at a time. Typically, I would go to work, come home, and have basic conversations with the family, more like a daily check-in, and then the cycle would continue until the weekend where activities would inundate us. In essence, the last 25 years have been busy with this being the first time that I have been made to stay indoors for 4 weeks and over; the only outings being to go out for essential supplies.
The first week of the lockdown was a struggle but we found a guide online and settled into a routine that has turned out to be beneficial. The main areas where I have seen significant benefits have been around engaging family and engaging on-going businesses; I still struggle with developing an appropriate selling strategy but I keep at it.
In week one and without structure, there was a lot of back and forth as we were all adjusting to a new routine. By week two, we had settled into the routine we all agreed to try out, hoping it would work.
- Mornings: Wake up, brush teeth, get breakfast early, do some stretches, bible study and have some discussions around the situation to ensure everyone has a positive outlook.
- 10-11am: Do some academic work
- 11am-noon: Do something creative like write, draw, do puzzles or read
- Noon – 2pm: Have lunch, play, do some chores
- 2pm-3pm: Do some electronic tasks, some mental tasks that can be done with an electronic device
- 3pm-5pm: Go outside to play
- 6pm-8pm: Some flexible time to do anything
- 8pm-9pm: Wind down, say goodnight and go to bed.
This routine has helped the children because they know what to expect. It has also given me blocks of time where I can effectively do work. I’m usually up at 5am and able to do some work between then and 9am when the children wake up. I am also able to do work when they are resting. I have been able to spend a lot of time engaging with my wife, talking, thinking things through and making plans about the future, as individuals and as a family. I do not feel like either my work or family is suffering and have settled into this routine that gives me all round comfort.
I think many people and families will have a similar experience. I think if people are patient enough to think and look at where they are against where they would like to be, then they can make little or big adjustments that will transform their homes to what they want. Transformation is usually not anything significant, it is more often than not, a mindset that needs to shift, not necessarily change because ultimately, we all want to be good people, good husbands, good wives, good parents, good children, good leaders, good whatever. It takes reviewing a personal strategy, tweaking it for what works and eliminating what doesn’t.
……. And I see a lot less grey in my hair.