How To Cope With The Work-Sleep-Life Relationship

I love the idea of sleep, not exactly sleep itself. Don’t get me wrong, sleep is great!

I just don’t get enough of sleep to categorically say we’re in love. Amean! We can’t rush these things!

Let’s throw back a little, I’ve always loved sleep, I look forward to lying on my bed, and drifting. It was difficult to function without adequate sleep; I get cranky, upset and wondering what I’ve done to the world to deserve such a small time to sleep. Oh, I’m a light sleeper so that complicates things, but sleep and I were still always finding a way to get back together… Until, “Adulting”!

Being an adult is humbling. ‘Adulting’ has a way of messing with all your future ambitions, e.g being a professional in sleeping, doing nothing, writing or reading books. lol!

I’m at that phase where I’m not yet an adult-adult, the kind that still needs an adultier-adult sometimes? That phase where all the things ‘they’ didn’t tell you about growing keeps hitting you, but somehow you have to find a way to float. Maybe you are too or you’ve passed the phase but…

That’s what this article is about. The work-sleep-life relationship and..

How I’ve learnt to float, especially when I can’t get enough sleep.

Alarm, snoozes and more alarms

This is the electronic version of someone pouring water on you…

Start with setting four (4) alarms on your phone, about 40 minutes before you actually need to be up – all with snooze options. So that in my battle with all these alarms and snoozes, a part of your brain will wake up and contemplate but realize how you have to go to work because there’s no time to find a lie.

Alert playlist

Music makes the world go round! Or was it love? Oh, well!

work-sleep-life

With about 20 beautiful, happy, motivational songs, I start getting ready for the day, and it plays up until I’m ready to head out.  You can always shuffle and change them every other month, so it doesn’t become boring. At first, you might be all grumpy like me, but after the first two songs you’ll find that you’re already in the ‘take on the world’ mode. Mostly.

Water and Exercise: Disclaimer- This is not as a weight loss therapy, but as a sleep loss therapy.

In addition to the helping you stay hydrated, water helps get you alert, and exercises don’t have to be the kind that will need to turn your room into a gym. Aerobics, breathing exercises and whatever you can squeeze into 10 minutes is just fine.

Power naps

There are some days that even after my routine, sleep comes to me like… ‘Who do you think you are?’

work-sleep-life

Naps are generally supposed to be short, but this has more to do with the mind. I usually give myself a pep talk about how I have so much work to do, so I can’t sleep, but how I won’t function properly anyway without some sleep. So, once your brain gets it, you can set an alarm of about 30 minutes or less and blast off! You’ll wake up, ready and alert!

Repeat

Some people say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and some think 66.

Well, I do know that you should continue, till whenever you think your work, sleep and life now have a mutual understanding.

Oh, and in all of this, don’t forget to get as much rest as you can in your spare time. It’s all in the terms and conditions of the relationship.

Do you have your own work-sleep-life relationship hacks? Please let’s hear them.

Happy World Sleep Day!

A Rainbow Coloured Guide To Be Productive As You Work From Home.

I’ve realized that one of the easiest ways to get attention from a group of working young adults in Lagos is to say “Hi, my name is Bibie and I work from home”. You’ll just find yourself needing an umbrella for the downpour of all the “Oh wow” “Niiiice” “That’s so cool” “Really? you’re enjoying oh” “Freelance? Hmmmm!”

I tried to explain myself once, then twice, I even tried a third time. But…

Apparently, there’s a thing like being modest about enjoyment? and I didn’t know until I was accused of doing that.

So, I’ll try again, hopefully, my virtual space will shield me from the downpour. My name is Bibie and I work from home, and if you’re like me and you’re done explaining that it’s not easy to ‘work’ from home, come in here for a virtual group hug while we discuss ways to magically be productive when you have a couch, Netflix, and deadlines.

On my grey sky days, it takes willpower, time-bound to do lists and a tired me at 6:30pm to get through, but on my rainbow-coloured days, I have a done and dusted to do list at 3:30pm, a smile, a movie on my mind and ample time to read one or two chapters in a book.

So, here’s a simple guide to be productive while you work from home – ergo, rainbow-coloured days.

Get dressed

Take a bath and ditch the PJ’s or whatever you sleep in. (if you sleep in nothing, please, put on some clothes) It’s easy to want to just answer those emails ‘sharp sharp’ but you won’t be as productive. A bath and a change of clothes will help kickstart your brain and get you in the work mood.

Have a workspace or ambience

It helps to have a work-space or table. Once again we’re trying to help the mind get down to business. If you’re, however, like me, and you don’t really do well with routines, you might need multiple spots in your house, but those spots must have a work feel; basically, whatever makes up a workspace. And, no, your bed doesn’t count even if you put an office sign on your bedpost.

Create time bound to do lists

To do lists help you declutter your brain, making you less overwhelmed. Also, each ‘tick’ against a completed task gives you the zeal to do more. Don’t forget to set timelines to help you work faster and meet deadlines.

Turn off notifications

For each time you have to look at your phone screen to check “who said this and to whom”, you lose a couple of seconds or minutes. And those notifications won’t stop because your friends probably know you work from home so, of course, it’s okay to text or call you. Don’t ignore them though, but it’ll save you time and energy if you reply or answer while taking a break.

Break time

My best time of the day, as it should be! Don’t judge please, we’ve earned it. Although this sounds counterintuitive because you’re trying to meet deadlines, it revitalizes the brain and you’re not too exhausted, you can eat something and reply those messages, or just stretch. Taking a break is like packing your car when it’s over-heating – I’m not sure how that works but it sounded like a great analogy in my head.

Work snacks

I know my coffee drinking friends are rolling their eyes out loud, but I said snacks. You can’t sue me, hehehe. Fine, coffee works and healthy snacks have benefits too. You can chew nuts or dried fruits or biscuits that are not too messy.

Perfection is an illusion – Pack up!        

There’s no such thing as perfect so don’t spend so much time criticizing your work. You’ve done a good job but you just need it to be perfect, and since that sadly doesn’t exist… let it go. This realization helps you ‘get off’ work at 4pm with a smile and a realization that tomorrow is another day.

Here’s to rainbow coloured days!  I hope this was helpful.

Do you work from home? What are your tips?

Growing up with Older Siblings

Growing up with older siblings

Hey darlings, today looks like a good day to talk about family…

So, I’m the 3rd child out of 3 children, not the last oh, the third.

With my immediate elder sister 5 years older than me, and my eldest brother 7 years older, it was quite a hustle trying to fit into their conversations when we were younger… So, I became dependently independent – I’m not even sure how I got that expression, lol. The point is I learnt to enjoy my own space, but I still liked the attention of being the 3rd child.

Enjoying my company but still while disturbing my parents for another child. I learnt to go on errands without complaining out loud. I still don’t know why we can’t send our pets on errands, I’m sure they won’t mind, really.

I used to watch my siblings fight and hope they make up, and when that was taking too long, I had to facilitate it, I couldn’t allow myself to get caught up in the middle. You don’t wanna know.

I was such a curious child, I’m sure my siblings got tired of my gazillion aimless questions. P.S: they weren’t aimless, y’all just didn’t know the answers. The downside was that my curiosity sometimes ended wrongly, I still stand proud… lol

The thing is, somehow I always found myself snitching…  It wasn’t my intention, I just somehow asked all the wrong questions, maybe also at the wrong times too, and in front of the wrong people… Okay, maybe I see their point now.

One time, I joined my siblings to see a scary movie, and by scary, I mean a Nigerian movie with painted faces and women summoning people from mirrors; in my defence, I just wanted to do what the ‘big people’ were doing but I was literally shivering from fear.

All their pleas for me to go to bed fell on deaf ears, well, that’s what they thought… Truth is, there was no way I could go to bed myself, not without knowing what happened to the man that came out from a mirror! At about 12am, my mum was doing the rounds and they heard her footsteps and ran, but as the novice I was, in this midnight rendezvous, I was very confused… My sister had to run back, carry me, then run to the room. Sadly, but thankfully, I slept off during the wait out, and they gladly finished the movie without me.

This brought up another unintentional snitch episode, with me asking how the movie ended, in front of my parents and probably stating how it was unfair for them not to wake me even though it was almost 1am. I love you guys, I really do. Haha!

There were tough times and phases I didn’t understand but that was all part of the growing process. I know this now.

Now, I couldn’t be more grateful for my position in the family…my siblings paved the way for me and I have all the mentorship and inspiration I need without looking too far.

My sister and I are best buds, like a backbone I can’t do without. And my brother? He can’t let my tear touch the floor before he tries to catch it.

It’s amazing growing up with way older siblings… the beginning might be rocky, but it just gets better.

What position in the family are you? Any fun memories?

FEET

write about feet

It was a beautiful park, but I didn’t tell him. You see, that was the thing – the problem you might say; there was so much in my head and so little words in English language to express it.

Femi must have fallen in love with me the day I told him I was a poet. His girlfriend had died on her way to perform her spoken word poetry. He had told me the story so many times that I realized it was reflex. So, I just kept listening like it was the first time. He said, he still carried ‘it’ with him every day.  Sad story, he probably wanted to propose to her.

I saw all the symptoms, I had read about them even, about how grief messes with the mind; but how could I abandon him…just the name Natalie was a trigger, almost like the bulb of his mind went off whenever he heard or said her name. He was broken, but there was no convincing with this one, no convincing at all…

“What’s on your mind”, he said to cut me out of my silence. Before, I could answer he said, “Anyway, can you write something or better still, better still record some poetry”

Natalie used to do that, Oh, It’s Friday, almost time for your spoken word audition”.

“Okay, what should I record-write about?”

I wasn’t confused about what was going on, So, I just played along.

He said… Write about feet

I said… You never walk alone

He said… That’s so shitty

I said… Feet will take you home

He said… That’s more like it

I said… I’m just beginning

He said… We should find someplace to sit

I said… Is this you finding an ending?

He said… I can’t keep hoping anymore

I said… Are you asking me out?

He said… Do I have to spell it out?

I said… That’s kind of how it works

He said… For how long do I have to lurk.

I said… I’m right here, it’s a few steps more.

He said… I see what you did there

I said… I’m glad you like it here.

“Wait! what does that even mean?” He was beginning to sound irritated. “You know what I want, I’ve made it clear since day 1, I only…” I cut him short. I began to play back the recorded poetry.

Oh wow! It sounds like poetry! It is poetry! Spoken word poetry! Natalie liked spoken word.

“You’re the one! I knew you’ll be back, and we’ll be together forever! I was about to stop him when…

I had it all wrong, totally wrong.

He had a gun.

He wasn’t going to propose to Natalie that night, he was going to… Was there a Natalie?

Write about feet, he said.

The Perfectly Unfinished

A mixture of small victories and perfect losses

A blend of coloured maybes and silver lining nevers

A jumble of I hate rollercoasters and let’s go again

A fine mix of loving dark mornings and sleeping with the lights on.

The let’s hope for tomorrow if I make it through the night

The you’re so noisy, why’re you now quiet

The I’ll do anything for you, now don’t drown me.

The where are you now when I need you

The perfectly unfinished

I am.                                                                                                                                        not enough ink

My 2018 Lessons, In 5 Classes.

Love, Religion, Nigeria, Friendship, Family

Love – All that glitters isn’t love
2018 taught me how misunderstood love can be. We either give it too much glory or underestimate the heck out of it. There are a lot of beautiful feelings out there and as much as love might take the front seat, it’s not the only one on that high table. So, no… Love doesn’t erase the pain – it makes the pain bearable, it doesn’t create compatibility- it’s one of the signs of compatibility, it doesn’t erase sins – it helps you see past the sins.

Don’t get me wrong, love is a beautiful thing. And of Faith, Hope and Love – Love is definitely the greatest. So, when your stars align, and you indubitably fall in love… Don’t let it go.

And if you genuinely must let go, do what you have to do… It’ll hurt, your heart will break into a million tiny pieces, but you’ll be doing it for you and for them. They may never know, but the universe begs that you never ever regret being in love. Ever!

“We like because, We love despite”.

Religion – It’s not a small world after all

I grew up loving the nursery rhyme – ‘It’s a small world after all’. I wasn’t in the room when the composer wrote this rhyme, so I didn’thave the opportunity to ask what he meant… However, when I hear and or sing it,it strikes the cord of a gentle reminder that we’re all connected to each otherin a loop that never ends (That’s some Pocahontas right there… hehe).

For Religion and the level of discord I have grown to see it sow, 2018 has made me realize that the world is big enough for everyone to worship what or who they choose to worship (including nothing) without being in each other’s space.

Maybe we need to resist the urge not to force anyone toworship what we worship, let our lives and stories do the forcing. There’s really no need to dig up facts to mock people’s religion… Honestly life is too short (or long) for that, you can hunt for dragon eggs instead.

“In a circle, In a loop that never ends”.

Nigeria – Stopreshuffling the cards, Let’s change the game

Nigeria has failed us, Nigeria is failing us, Nigeria has been failing us… Who is Nigeria though? 2018 made me realize that the ability to be accountable for actions is a mystical trait for most of us and we just keep recycling that notion.

Year in, year out, we keep ‘voltroning’ for change, better leaders and whatnots. I think, however, that we’ve been playing Draft for too long (grab it all – eti okwe, eri okwe). Maybe, we need to switch it up a bit… To Snake and Ladder -where life and laws will humble you back to square one, or to Chess where you actually need a strategy to win – not a manifesto, some money in your account and social media glory.

We may need to figure out a feasible way to hold people accountable for 4 years in power, accountable to their promises, accountable to their lies and theft, accountable enough that before anyone comes to decide to build an entire nation – they’ll at least know that first thing about the foundation.

“Reshuffling the cards in the deck”.

Friendship – You can count on me like 1, 2, 3…

2018 helped review my view on friendship. Into the friendship I want and the friendship I need. There’ll be phases in your life where you need to be your best friend and know that that’s not narcissism or selfishness… It’s a necessary growth and the path to understanding that some friends are in your life to turn off the lights but guess what… there’ll be some available to turn it back on… I call all of them friends because some friends have the harsh responsibility of helping you learn tolerance and patience.

So, next time you’re tempted to close your vault of forgiveness because that friend keeps trying your patience – maybe you actually need them to help you realize that if your lights don’t go out, you’ll never see the need to keep finding new ways to keep the lights on, you’ll be stagnant.

In all of this, everybody has a line, and if anyone crosses that line, let them go. Lesson learnt. On to the next one. No toxicity.

“Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”

Family – This lifechose me

This year I stopped to ask myself why I love my family so much, they aren’t perfect, not even close… lol. And 2018 taught me to realize that, I don’t think I have a reason to not love them. My family is the only constant thing in my life, the one thing that I can’t change or replace, the one thing that I came to know and love.  

So, the next time they step on my toes, I’ve decided to use the experiences to hone my forgiveness skills until it starts to come easy.

And you might say it’s easy for me to say this because my family is not terrible – The Nigerian in me can play it in my head “Ehn, it’s because your own is manageable na, if you had an abusive mother or a toxic father, you won’t say this” And I won’t dispute that. My own is manageable, thankfully.

So, if yours isn’t ‘manageable’, this isn’t a call to stay and be ‘tolerated’ because they’re family, it’s a call to accept that you can’t change your family, but you can leave and make sure the family you create (if you decide to) doesn’t feel what you feel.

“Time changes yesterday”

Of life…   May 2019 be good to us all!

2018 taught me
Photo: Pixabay

Sometimes, what doesn’t kill you, kills you later.

The sky is big enough for us all.

All that hate won’t cure all that hate.

Focus.

                                                                              

                                                        Not enough Ink

Mind Ride: Two Beggars and My Bias

It’s been 18 minutes since I passed 2 beggars, and they’ve been on my mind since.

One said, “fine girl” with a smile, the other said “help me aunty” with a serious face.

I can’t stop thinking about the one that said ‘fine girl’. And, now, I’m thinking about why I’m still thinking about it.

Was it the toothless smile he had on his face? Did he appeal to my ego? Was I in awe that he could find a reason to smile even without legs?

At this point, I had begun to think of the other beggar.

Did I like that he said, “Aunty, help me?” Or were my thoughts because I didn’t like what he said?

He needed help and wasn’t afraid to ask for it. Needing help is a serious issue, that explained his straight face. Yes, No, Maybe? Maybe.

He called me “Aunty”, but he was definitely older than me, so it was some form of sucking up, or not?

But, saying ‘fine girl’ is a bigger way of sucking up because I was looking so beat from work. I know this, but then fine lies in the eye of the beholder.

Bias is a weird thing you know…

Give me a few seconds, because now I’m thinking of bias, and how it works.

Skip to the question that answers the reason for this mind ride… Which beggar appealed to me?

Oh, I really don’t know… I didn’t give either of them my money.

Should I have given both?
                                                                                                                                                      Not enough ink

The Introverts’ Guide To Spending The Holidays With A Big family

Introvert with a big family

It’s that time of the year when whether you like it or not…Okay scratch that, I actually know a few people that can spend Christmaswherever they please. Well, this post is not for you.

Okay, don’t go. You’re already reading, you might as well finish and share with the affected population – Introverts spending the holidays with their big families. Thank you in advance. Hehe

As I was saying before I got interrupted by reality, it’s that time of the year where some people might need to spend time with their biiiig families whether they like it or not, whether they’ll rather be under a rock than on a vacation, whether they’ll rather be locked in their house than go to the village. I feel you. So if you’re an introvert and it’s time for yet another family-intrusive holiday where you end up craving your alone time so bad, or always smiling at awkward times, or wind up spending hours in the toilet ( they’re probably discussing your stomach problems while you’re away), these tips will help you get through the holidays with your big family.

Since we can’t find you another family, you can

Do chores

Well, no one likes chores. So, while they all think you’resuch a ‘good child’ for doing the chores, it’ll buy you some time to be byyourself a bit and even if that concerned cousin of yours comes to help, you’llbe having a conversation with one person… or not.

Bring a book

Although you need to keep the frequency of this in check, abook is a huge life saver. You’re not only drowning out all the noise (where 7or 10 are gathered, it’s noise when you have nothing to say) but you’reenjoying yourself while doing it.

Organize outdoor activities

You can suggest an outdoor activity where you’ll have timeto be by yourself while having a good time. If it’s a familiar territory, youcan draw up an itinerary and go to different places by yourself.

Distract yourself with gadgets

Phones, Ipods, tabs, e.t.c. will definitely help. However, gadgets, just like books need to be used sparingly because you can trust your African mother to ask why your head has been ‘buried’ in your phone throughout the holidays.

Talk about it

One of those times when they say “You hardly say anything, don’t you have anything to say?”, Words might get stuck in your throat as usual but if you do have the courage to say anything… A great topic would be personality types. Your opening lines with a smile can be “Do you know about the different types of personalities”? An introvert is one of them.


Happy holidays!

Are you an introvert? What are your big-gathering getaway techniques, do share.

Maybe…

Maybe

Maybe…

Maybe when I ask how you’re doing, I need you to answer truthfully…

And then ask how I’m doing.

Maybe…

Maybe when I say have a good day, I want you to say thank you…

And then wish me a great day.

Maybe…

Maybe when I say goodbye, I want you to know I don’t want you to leave…

And then let me know you’ll miss me.

Maybe…

I want to experience the love I give, the one I think I deserve

Maybe, I need to.

                                                  Not enough ink

Of Love, Life, And Lagos.

of life, love and lagos

Lagos is the land of my birth, but I probably shouldn’t say that out loud…

Because every time I step out of my house, I still get my fair share of amazement.

I also have to mention how I almost always need to ask for directions, and time and time again, I get reminded to stick to google map because apparently, no one is to be trusted, except some chip in a phone that yells “turn left, turn right” but doesn’t even know my city that well. Pfffffttt!

Today, Lagos was like that child that changes his clothes then goes back to rolling in the mud, then has to change clothes again. There was something ridiculously amusing or amazing, or just plain stupid; and a few times today, the universe handed me all 3 in one sitting!

The people were like moving rollercoasters of either emotions, words, both, or stuff I haven’t quite gotten words for… I used to think everybody was angry but now I know better, except I honestly don’t know the word to replace angry with.

Oshodi – She gives me… A fearful Joy!

Of life, love and lagos
(Photo: grassroots.ng)

The joy that once I get to Oshodi, I can even find a bus to heaven and the fear of the possibility that someone can steal me from me.

It was evening already, rush-hour. And as I stood on the pedestrian bridge, I couldn’t take it all in a glance so I might have been there for about 45 minutes…

The sight? From mums’ dragging their kids, to hawkers trying to take advantage of the rush, to people jumping on moving trains and either sitting inside or on top of the train…

From those yelling at nothing to beggars sweeping the bridge continuously, to men on suits trying to prove they matter, and women with no jewelry clutching their purses tighter…

From young boys walking like thieves to confuse thieves, to young girls looking nervously confident and hoping their faces still look pretty, to children comfortable in their niche and the ones with fear in their eyes…

It got dark not long after, and I walked away reluctantly, thinking of this hustlers’ paradise set on a chic hill. We either give it too much credit or take away all its glory.

Young, Curious, and in Lagos.

Of life, love and Lagos? I choose all three.

                                                                                Not enough ink