As a creative living in Lagos, I’ve experienced time and again this simple fact: Lagos is the survival of the fittest, and the competition here is just as that of the Olympics. Almost everything is a tussle.
Right from when you get up, it’s a race against time to leave home early, get to the bus-stop, fight to get into a bus. Even on the street, you have to fight marketers competing for your attention and money, keeping an eye out for pickpockets here and there. All this happens before 8am every morning. You have to go through all of this while striving to be productive and at least meetup, if not surpass your goals for the day.
Any Creative will tell you, stress stifles creativity, and one of the best approaches to having the best mindset is to create one that can handle stress well. While living in Lagos counters that, I have found and mastered a few great approaches to combating the strife and struggle in Lagos, while remaining productive at the workplace:
Avoid Skipping Breakfast– I know this one seems basic, but really the littlest things matter! And breakfast is not a little thing. Filling your stomach up in the a.m. has so many health benefits as it does other benefits as well. Breakfast is essential in kick-starting your metabolism and getting in essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to help take on the day. I find that when I have a good breakfast, I’m set for the day, often not even thinking about food till in the late afternoon, this works best because we tend to have our minds working the best during the early hours of the day. The only thing I would advise against is taking heavy food before starting off your work day, so as to ensure you keep nimble and on your feet.
Go the Distance – I mean this both literally and figuratively. The legs are designed to be used, so why not? It doesn’t matter if you commute to work using public transport systems, like I do, or if you have your car on the go. It’s very healthy to exercise regularly, and since you already have to manage your time in Lagos, you can occasionally trek for short distances on your way to work, lunch or otherwise. I find this keeps you active while simultaneously cutting down transportation costs and fat J. That’s effective living! In the same vein, you should make it a personal goal to always go the extra distance to make sure your work stands out from the rest, in whatever sphere you work in, whatever you’ve decided to make your specialty-going the extra mile has always and will always pay off.
Budget – With the endless services, products and even people gunning for your money, it would be most foolish not to have a budget (weekly or monthly as you deem fit). Create a written budget and keep to it. You can try out budgeting apps for mobiles like Monefy for android or IOS and Google Sheets for android or IOS and see if they work for you. There are so many cool ways to be inspired in Lagos, and as a creative having a great budget helps you have a little bit of change to get in on the fun and stay inspired.
Focus – These days we have seemingly everything competing for our attention, the discipline of focus has never been so important and valuable. Learn to drown out the noise. Prioritize assignments and stick to them and learn that you are not for everything and everything is not for you.
Relax – Last and maybe most importantly, learn to take some time off and relax. Go catch a movie, take a walk down your street, for no reason at all. Get up from your desk and look away from your screen, somersault...just kidding, but you get the gist. Just take a break, do something unusual, flex your (creative) muscles.
In keeping up with Lagos life as a creative, you have to remember to abide by the city’s unspoken rules as you create yours. This way, you use the fast-moving pace of the city to your advantage.