My name is Ogola Lois Kange. I am a Christian, a wife, mother, worker, entrepreneur and many more things to different people. My entrepreneurial journey has given me the opportunity to not only follow my dream but to also help other people, in particular women, follow theirs.
For the modern woman, managing work-life balance is something that can sometimes pose a challenge to following one’s passion. I do not claim to have the formulae down on how to balance work and life, as I am still on my journey to discover what works best for my own life. Having said this, there are a few things I have been able to put in place in my life to help me effectively navigate and fulfill the various roles I own.
My faith is key to my balancing. Spending time in the morning focusing and meditating. This stills my mind and gives me the guidance and motivation to go through the day.
Planning is something else I make sure I do, often weeks in advance. I usually jot down the things I need to do and places I need to be and people whose help I need. As you know, activities may come up during the course of a day that may challenge your planned day, but I find that planning reduces the disarray that an unplanned activity can cause. So you see my planner is another thing I don’t joke with. In addition, I don’t procrastinate. When I am assigned a task or have something that I need to do, I always get to the task almost immediately. I realized quite early in life that some of us have to work harder than others to achieve great results; hence, I try to get the task done much earlier and leave enough time for review and corrections.
Family truly is the best. I mean, you usually don’t choose your family, but I think it’s a great blessing when you have them living close to you and they are always willing to lend helping hands. I do not take for granted the fact that my family members also have lives that they want to live. I find that it may be easier for them to lend helping hands if they have an advance idea of the plans or projects I am working on. I often get to have my adorable daughter and sons stay with my mom when I have to run certain errands or be out of town for some days. Other family members and friends have also lent helping hands, and for that I am extremely grateful.
People are sometimes afraid to delegate or collaborate or share the dreams or journey with other people. I find, though, that having other people on board, either as workers or collaborators, makes the work-life balance easier. I have staff who help me with my business and also personal staff who help with chores around the home. I don’t think you should delegate all the work away, for there may be certain roles that only you can play well. However, I advocate for having people available whom you can trust with different tasks.
Holidays. When the word holiday comes up, it may be viewed as a luxury for only the wealthy. I know firsthand, however, that breaks are necessary for your mind and body. As an entrepreneur, I understand the need for creative thinking, and to get the best results sometimes you need to first take a break. Your body needs to rest to get rejuvenated, and remember, it is helpful to be healthy to follow your dreams.
The work-life balance is something that may differ for different people, depending on the roles they have and life they have chosen to live. As life goes on and my business evolves, there may be parts of my work-life balance tips that have to be adjusted to suit where my life is. I may, for example, need 20 staff members now and may need more in the future. In general though, I find that my faith, a support system, planning and breaks are staples needed to help maintain a stable and effective work-life balance.
Ogola Lois Kange is the CEO of Smiley’z Mobile Kitchen, a business that that specializes in healthy home-cooked meals. This innovative enterprise has employed a handful of youth, with 80 percent female staff on her payroll, and won her several placements in reputable entrepreneurial programs. She is a 2017 Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Mandela Washington Fellow, an MSc graduate of architecture from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, and a practicing architect and member of the Nigerian institute of Architects (NIA). Ogola is passionate about empowering women and combines her entrepreneurial skills with lecturing in architecture at Kaduna State University, Nigeria. You can catch up with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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The views and opinions expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government. YALI Voices is a series of podcasts, videos and blog posts contributed by members of the YALI Network.