A few days ago I went to buy a book. In the process of getting the book, the vendor convinced forced me to buy a movie too. I don’t know how she did it, because I protested and even explained that I almost never have time to watch movies.
A few days later I ignored all the work that was waiting for me to do and watched two movies at a go within the space of two hours. When I was done, I started feeling sleepy and I damned the consequences and took a little nap on top of it. By the time I woke up, I felt refreshed, but I equally felt guilty. It was like I committed a very heavy sin.
Has it happened to you before? Has anyone noticed that it seems abnormal to take a break from work? Or is it only me?
Take a leave off work, or travel out of town, and you come back to face colleagues and neighbours who will give you a ‘holy nweje-ish’ look of “See how he is just wasting his life away”.
Sometime last year, I took a few days off and went on a trip to Calabar. I had a great time, but I remember what it was like for me when I came back. Now it was not as if anyone came to slap me in the face for going on a vacation. But I could sense the disapproval miles away.
“Toby, you mean you went to Calabar for a vacation? You are now a big boy o. You don’t even have anything useful to do with money again.” Classic example of drinking panadol on top another person headache, when you have your own cough & catarrh to worry about.
Puhlease, what on earth is wrong with taking a break or enjoying a vacation? Have we all gotten used to working our asses off without ever resting that we make it look like anyone that takes a break is committing a sin?
It is even worse when the vacation involves travelling, visiting exotic places, or doing anything that involves spending. Such times, you start hearing comments like, “Chai see our money o.” Or the popular one, “Thieves. Na so dem go dey steal our money dey go”.
Bikonu umunnem na umunnam (please my brothers and sisters), taking a well-deserved break after working so hard is not a sin. In fact, it is highly encouraged.
The other day, I made out time and visited my family. And for the first time in weeks, I spent time with loved ones without working. I even watched a seasonal movie at night. It felt good. On top of that, my best friends came around and we spent quality time together doing stuff that wasn’t work related.
To be honest, it affected my work. I couldn’t meet up with a couple of deadlines. But at the end I never regretted it. I mean, I have come to understand what my priorities are.
You see, some of us still think that the reason we live is to work. Contrarily, the reason we work is so that we can live. This mode of thinking does not negate the place of work. Neither is it an excuse for indolence. However, it is to help us have a proper perspective on things.
Fine, I know the economy seems bad, and you need to make ends meet; but you don’t have to kill yourself in the process. Wisdom demands balance; if not, someone else will help you spend in one year what took you ten years of sweating to make.
A friend of mine had a two-week vacation from work last year. First of all, I must categorically say that two weeks in a whole year is too small for taking a break off work. Yes, it is too small, and something needs to be done about it!
In fact, in a study made by Ernst and Young, it was revealed that for “each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings improved 8 percent, and frequent vacationers also were significantly less likely to leave the firm”. You see, in the end, it is a win-win situation.
Back to my story jare. During my friend’s leave, she quickly diverted all her attention to another business. And at the end, she didn’t really rest. I couldn’t help but wonder if the extra thousands of naira she made in those weeks was worth her health and vitality.
Time will fail me to talk about my fellow entrepreneurs. Ours is worse! Many of us carry everything on our head and work so hard, forgetting that breaking down is a possibility. And if you break down in that situation, everything grinds to a halt. Luckily, there are strategies you can employ to work hard without breaking down.
Nigerians are known to be natural hard workers. Or to borrow the common word, ‘hustlers’. Yes, hustling is in our blood. But has anyone noticed that many times those of us that live and work here, look older than our mates who are in the western world.
Honestly, I don’t think it is the weather. You simply cannot cheat nature.
According to another study by The Framingham Heart, “Men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have heart attacks compared to men who did not take time off.”
To break it down in layman’s terms, “all work and no rest, kills Jack in no time”. Tweet that!
In conclusion, please make out time to take a break to avoid having a burnout. If you die or break down at work, believe it or not, someone else will replace you and the world will continue as if nothing happened. I am sure you don’t want that. Or at least, your loved ones don’t.
When was the last time you took a break from work? How refreshing was it? Did you notice more creativity and enhanced performance when you returned to work? On the flip side, how many times have you used your vacation as opportunity for side-hustle?
Photo Credit: Foto.com.ng | Nsoedo Frank