By Godwin Semunyu
Asha-rose- 35, (not a real name), is a mother of two, a devoted wife, she also heads a vibrant sales department in one of the blue-chip companies at the heart Dar es Salaam. Asha finds 24 hours in day significantly inadequate.
Like many other mid-income families, Asha’s family resides in one of the suburbs about thirty-five kilometers out of the city. In Dar es Salaam, people from these neighborhoods are known to be early risers, not by choice, but for the need to beat the unforgiving traffic.
Asha’s typical day starts as early as 4.00 am, her drive to work can take an hour and a half or two, sometimes three or even four, during the rainy seasons. If you are not from here, it will take you ages to understand the relationship between rainfall and traffic jam. That’s another topic all together.
When she finally gets to work, she is greeted by piles of emails, meetings, training, workshops, presentations, reports, and “any other duties as assigned by superiors.” She will not be home until around 8pm, understandably exhausted. But mother-duties and wife roles know no exhaustion.
Less than six hours later, she will be reminded by the unapologetic alarm clock that it is time wake up and prepare herself and the kids for a new day. The circle will start and end like the previous day. Monday to Friday.
Most people in urban Tanzania are finding it extremely difficult to strike a perfect balance between their demanding career ambitions and family roles, resulting in major consequences on personal lives.
According to WebMD, work-life balance is the lack of opposition between work and other life roles. It is the state of equilibrium in which demands of personal life, professional life, and family life are equal. It consists of, but not limited to, flexible work arrangements that allow you to carry out other life programs and practices such as personal interests, family, and social or leisure activities.
Why is it important to strike a balance?
In a rush to “get it all done” at the office and home, it’s easy to forget that as our stress levels spike, our productivity plummets.This will result to stress, impaired concentration, depression, and halt personal and professional relationships.
Over time, stress also weakens our immune systems, and makes one susceptible to a variety of ailments from, insomnia to heart diseases. Let’s not forget broken family bonds and ties.
What to do:
While there can be several ways on how one can overcome the pressure of not balancing the work-life weigh, medical experts propose the following methods:
• Set manageable goals: Make a “to do” list, and take care of essential tasks first and eliminate unessential ones. Ask for help when necessary.
• Be efficient with your time at work. When you face a big project at work or home, start by dividing it into smaller tasks. Complete the first one before moving on to the next.• Take five. Short breaks will help clear your head and improve your ability to deal with stress and make the right decisions.
• Communicate effectively. Be honest with colleagues or your boss when you feel you’re in a bind.
• Give yourself a break. No one’s perfect! Allow yourself to be human and do the best you can.
• When at Home, Unplug. When at home, try to stay away from the laptop, give your family some attention
• Don’t over commit. If you’re overscheduled with activities, learn to say,” no.”
• Stay active. Regular exercise reduces stress, depression, and anxiety. Make time in your schedule.