I spent 4 and a half years of my adult life working for a company where everything was urgent by default. Every damn thing was always urgent. Clients were always waiting for every release. It’s almost felt like the clients would die if I didn’t deploy a particular feature. I became worn out. I joined the company as a Systems Analyst but I worked in three other roles: Programme Manager, Quality Assurance Analyst, and Business Analyst.
At a particular time, if I slept I’d dream about work [No, I’m not kidding. It was as bad as that.]Clients would call at night asking how far with the feature I promised to deploy.
Almost two and half years into the job, I started having sharp pains at the back of my head. I didn’t know what was wrong. When it started happening frequently, I told a friend Temitope, who emphasised its seriousness and urged me to see a doctor. I went to the doctor and lo and behold! My blood pressure was high. It was 148/100.
Heck! I was just 25 years old. I couldn’t tell my Mum. The doctor gave me a sick note for the rest of the week. Silly me, I still went back and continued working. Then I started googling high blood pressure and it hit me. I was in trouble. I might end up having a stroke at 25! That moment, I went to tell the manager that I was going home for the rest of the week. I handed over to her and left.
I had to rethink what was the most important thing to me. While my job was very important to me, I realised I wasn’t doing myself any good: in fact, I was killing myself. I was working from 6.30 a.m to 8.30 p.m – 9.00p.m almost every day. I realized that I was not doing myself, my career or my family any good by not having work-life balance.
I wasn’t going out much and when I did, I always thought of work. I stayed indoors most weekends just because I had to rest always.
Not having a work-life balance wore me out quickly. I’m sure I looked way older than my age. I loved my job, was very passionate about it but I worked round the clock. This always left me too drained to do anything else. I started resenting my job. I became very tired. A lot of people had expectations and they didn’t care if I slept in the office every day to meet those expectations.
I didn’t have a persona outside of work. At a particular time, my whole life was centred around work. Most of my friends were also my work colleagues. We would go out together and I even lived with one of them at a time. Keeping in touch with friends outside work seemed like a lot of HARD work.
In the last year, I didn’t even have time for my daughter. I always left the house around 5.30 a.m and won’t get back till about 8 p.m, sometimes 10, 11 p.m if I worked late. I knew something had to be done.
I can categorically say a lot of Nigerians do not have work-life balance especially those working on the Island in Lagos. Work-Life balance is needed so that you can work on your personal business, goals, and dreams. If you don’t have work-life balance you won’t have time to work on your goals and dreams. Who knew I would ever start blogging?
Right now, I have a great work-life balance. I leave work at 5.30 p.m, pick up my daughter from her minder’s and we are home before 7 p.m. We have dinner and have fun till we sleep. I write my blog post for the next day.
- Stop taking work home. Leave work at work!
- Your weekend are your off days. Go out and have fun
- Don’t give client/customers your mobile number. They should call your extension at work during work hours.
- Create time for you passions, goals and dreams.
- Prioritize your tasks at work using a to-do list.
- Go out more with your friends
Do you want to share your story about work-life balance?
Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Thanks for reading.