Striking the right balance between work and life is, increasingly, becoming an important consideration many in Kenya emphasize in their career.
You have many who feel attracted to entrepreneurship because they have some control over schedules. On the other hand, you have the generational clash – where some employers say young Kenyans are lazy because they don’t drone about their work.
For women entrepreneurs in Kenya, balancing work and life is a factor that can determine success or failure of business. It has been found that Kenyan women work 4 hours more than men. Many have to find face time in the office, time for actual work and attend to domestic responsibilities.
28-hour work week?
The trendsetters, Europeans are already having a conversation on reducing the work- week to 28 hours. You expect that once it is mainstreamed there, we will adopt it as we passively do everything. You don’t agree? Look at how we’re building a ‘car-centric’ Nairobi.
This will probably mean less pay but they have realized that we are way more productive for the amount of face time required in places of work. These are some of the expectations of today and the future on how work will look like.
Entrepreneurs are not spared either. The slogans, “I never sleep” and “I’m always busy” are also losing their appeal. At one time, more work from pushing yourself to your limit meant more money. But it is now being realized it only means working under sub-optimal conditions.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that it’s very common these days for you to get messages about “loving yourself,” “rest,” and other such flowery terms and phrases. You can excuse an old-schooler for considering all of that laziness.
You must appreciate that they worked in organization structures designed for the 20th Century. Organizing people, standardizing everything and making things rigid for productivity was all the rage back then. Now it’s all about flexibility and room to express oneself.
Even so, a line must be drawn between “rest” and slacking in finding this balance between work and life. Objectives still have to be realized.
Goals of balancing work and life
Many are now accepting that work and life cannot get equal share of their time. You may have noticed this too. Work has to take up more of your time. As an entrepreneur, you have a need to stay on top of everything and how work should look like in the future should be no different.
But finding this elusive work-life balance is not a science. Nobody should lie to you that there is a standard fit for all. Leave this weird behavior to economics and economists. Economics is a pseudoscience, I don’t care how hard you math.
Everyone has their preferred dose of either and this is no problem as long as deadlines are being met and goals are being achieved. There are a few indicators, common for many people, that show a healthy lifestyle for work-time and play-time (or binge watching stuff on TV).
First, women entrepreneurs are encouraged to work for between 5 and 9 hours a day. These are considered the ideal times that one remains refreshed in doing their work. But there must be adequate breaks in-between to avoid diminishing concentration and productivity.
Having well defined schedules is another sign of good balance in life and work. I know entrepreneurs work when work arises but this has to be accommodated, in your own way, into a flexible schedule. It also allows you to be more organized and that is a good thing for productivity.
What is being accepted now is that smart work (efficiency) is replacing hard work (output/effectiveness). This is because the shift allows for less stressed, more motivated work time.0