Sometime in 2019 when I decided to move to Lagos, my friends in Port Harcourt were almost holding a deliverance session for me or at least a prayer to fortify me for the “battle” ahead. LOL. This wasn’t because I was going for a war per se but they just all believed that the traffic situation in Lagos required special fortification or special strength of mind to overcome. Trust me, living in Lagos in the last one year, I have had my fair share of experience and the fortification was needed. 

I love to listen to the radio and one time I heard an analysis that stated that, if you have spent 10 years in Lagos, there are chances that when you put all the time spent in gridlock in Lagos, you would have spent 3 years in bad traffic flow situation WOW! Three full years in traffic!!! The irony of the situation is that we can’t always be too careful to avoid gridlock in this goldmine city of ours. I recently read a report that stated that about 40% of cars in Nigeria are registered in Lagos, making it one of the most congested and air polluted cities in the world. As much as it is tempting to talk about the impact of the gridlock on health and mortality rate, I will let that slide today. Besides this isn’t a Geography class. LOL (Laugh Out Loudly and shed off some of the anxiety you are feeling now from being at a standstill situation).

For today, let’s focus the camera not on all that is wrong with gridlock or all the bad things that happen in traffic situation. We certainly know so much about that. Let’s talk about how you can be productive in a traffic because whether we like it or not, it’s a scar we should wear beautifully. It tells our story better. To make the most of a gridlock, consider the following but not limited to these:

  1. Be intentional about staying calm: As ironic as this may sound, it is actually the first step to making anything meaningful from the time spent in a traffic situation. Have it at the back of your mind that your worrying and fretting won’t solve anything, so why waste all that energy? Remember, worry is like a rocking chair; it just has motion but makes no moves.
  2. Organize your to-do list or calendar: You can do this on your phone, in a journal or mentally (there is a problem of mix up or forgetting when it is done mentally though. As the saying goes, the faintest pen is better than the longest memory). You have more potential to carry out what you have written down than things you have just thought about. Schedule your meetings, organize your tasks according to priority, urgency and significance. That way, you set the ball rolling for the day or the following day.
  3. Read about your interest: The temptation to see a movie or play a game especially after a long day will seem like the perfect idea. As much as that would be great to relax, you could split the hours of being in a gridlock and use most of it to read about an idea that has been brewing in your mind or research about that business you would want to set up soon or just build knowledge generally.
  4. Reach out to family and friends: Trust me, as playful as this may sound, work and adulthood has a way of making us relegate important relationships in our lives and just have the wishful thinking that our folks will understand. The time spent in a gridlock can be used to catch up with loved ones and people in our network. This has a powerful way of relieving all the mental stress and even make you feel the impact of the gridlock less. Remember, your network is your net worth.
  5. Research on that assignment from work: You might have had to deal with a daunting task or assignment while at work, but the answer wasn’t forthcoming. The time in gridlock can be used to discuss this with a colleague and seek the answers to this task or you can have more time to use the internet to surf for the answers to the task.

Living in major cities in Nigeria exposes you to gridlock situations especially in a city like Lagos but grumbling about it won’t fix it. If you can avoid it or your work is flexible allowing you to work from home, then stay home. But if you have to go through this every day, make every second count and you will be grateful for it. Until I come your way again, stay safe and work smart and not just hard. 

Lizzy.

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