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On Evaluating Your Productivity, Set Your Priorities Right

Inversk Review

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I got a lot done this past two weeks, work wise.

While I’m glad I made headway in projects not related to my creative work, I saw this as an opportunity to learn. To evaluate what exactly I did. So, I made a time-monitoring schedule which excluded hours taken to sleep, cook and eat, respond to emails, catch up with news and catch up on social media.

I set priorities like doing class assignments, reading while on the daily commute and meditation or as I like to call it ‘mind rejuvenation’ time. Because these were activities I did daily, I set apart about four hours to do them regardless of how the plan for my day was. Now I was down to about seven hours or so to plan for.

When you’re targeting to accomplish things at the end of the day, you will have to check on how you have performed these tasks in the past. This will help you know how much time to allocate to it and how to speed up the process. If you’re anything like me, short intense time slots work best and so I put tasks that need all my concentration around this time. Other tasks like emails and follow-up calls can be slotted for when the pressure isn’t as high.

In a work setting, things change and you will have to be flexible. Those staff meetings and site visits are important for business as well as professional growth. The trick is to make up for that time by cutting back on something else. You won’t just find time, you’ll have to create it.

Creatively speaking, we have been made to believe that as artists we have to work constantly to improve on our craft. Isn’t that an unrealistic fallacy we propagate! We have family, friends and other commitments to honour as well. And when your art becomes intense, time-consuming and mind-numbingly boring then it makes you despise it more than appreciate it. Create. Exhale. Reflect. Repeat.

The home front could suffer if cleaning and cooking are not put into consideration. I believe I’m speaking to budding entrepreneurs who have not set hiring a cleaning service in their budget, though if you have that’s great. Besides, stacking dirty clothes until the weekend could be detrimental as I have come to learn. Instead I have do mid-week cleaning and tidy up before putting my feet up.

I also learnt of meal preps quite recently after scouring the net for easier nutritious recipes. You plan out your menu for the week, and then do grocery shopping. Have a huge “cook-out” and after the food cools down you store it in separate dishes for the week and pop into your freezer. Voila! You don’t have to slave over your jiko all night trying to cook a meal after a hard day at work.

Now that you’ve reviewed all these hours and time spent doing tasks, the next step is to plan the following days’ activities. One thing you may overlook is as soon as you wake up you spend thirty minutes rifling through your closet for clothes to wear. And while I’m fascinated by the monochrome outfits of t-shirts and jeans that Silicon Valley has advocated, I prefer more elaborate getups. Getting those decisions out of the way the previous night will give you clarity of tasks to look forward to.

In dealing with productivity, evaluating measurable results will help you move around the proverbial ‘pieces on your board’ to get the maximum results. You will notice that you spend too much time replying to comments on social media throughout the day while you could schedule to do it once in the morning and again in the evening. Or that your house gets cluttered easily when you can clear it out before going to bed. It is all about the “small things” and adjustments to find a good manageable routine to work with.

I’m emphasising on manageable because there’s no use achieving daily goals while you’re miserable. While I realize that there is so much more to be improved on, I strive to make the most of my time. I watch TED talks on productivity, read books and use apps that help me keep up with the responsibilities to be done. In this day and age there’s an app for everything, really.

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Ajira Digital: What You Need to Know

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With the advent of technology and the internet, there has been an increasing utilization of online digital platforms to sell their goods and services. In line with this, the Government of Kenya, under the Ministry of Information, Communications and Technology launched Ajira Digital on the 24th of November 2016.

About Ajira Digital

The main aim of the initiative is to empower over one million young people to access digital job opportunities. It also seeks to bridge the gap between skills demand and the lack of jobs among the youth.

The program seeks to position Kenya as a choice labor destination for multinational companies as well as encourage local companies and the public sector to create digital work. The government digitization projects already create lots of viable micro work that can be completed by digital workers.

The main objectives of the program are:

  • To raise the profile of digital work among all Kenyans
  • Promote a mentorship and collaborative learning approach to finding digital work
  • Provide Kenyans with access to digital work
  • Promote Kenya as a destination for online workers

The guiding principles of the Ajira Digital Program are:

  • Private sector first – value generation through the private sector
  • Sustainability – orchestrate the ecosystem to self-regulate and grow organically
  • Eliminate brokers – generating more value to the youth
  • Promote the domestic economy – the realization of a knowledge economy

The components of the Ajira digital program have been designed to address the main challenges that hinder the youth from benefiting from digital job opportunities. They are:

  • Access to dignified work – growing the local demand, Government becoming an anchor client and positioning Kenya as a choice labor destination for multinationals globally
  • Education and skills for the dynamic, always changing online jobs
  • Access to infrastructure – Innovation Hubs, Kazi Connect Centers, Studio Mashinani, Y254 TV Channel
  • Awareness – Building trust and confidence

Key Project Interventions

  1. Training

The project targets to train youth (inexperienced (new) online workers) through a one-week residential training. The training aims to equip the youth with basic soft skills and introduction to online work skills, digital marketing, and basic financial management skills across five implementation locations in Kenya namely: Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Meru, and Nakuru.

In addition, the project targets to train experienced online work freelancers through a 2-day training with the aim of equipping the selected online work freelancers with skills to scale up and develop their businesses into agencies and source for more work to share with new online workers. The experienced freelancers are ultimately expected to handhold the new online workers through one-month mentorship.

  1. Mentorship

Upon successful completion of the training, the participants are transitioned to one-month mentorship through handholding by the experienced freelancers. The mentorship is aimed at enhancing the trained youth’s skills on online work thereby increasing their access to online jobs.

How to Join Ajira Digital Kenya for Training

Ajira Kenya carries out ongoing training and mentorship and offers guidance on how to work online in Kenya. Spaces are limited so you have to book early. Training is offered on a first come, first served basis.

To Register for Ajira training, visit official Ajira Digital website and enroll. You will then receive an email with your booking information. Print the details as you will need to present them in order to be allowed to attend any training sessions. After registration, you will be notified via email when Ajira training sessions are available in your County.

The training, which is free of charge, lasts one week after which one is given a certificate. The requirements are simple; a personal computer, internet connection, and basic computer skills.

Pros of Ajira Digital

  • Increased awareness of online jobs in Kenya
  • Training and mentorship are offered free of charge, helping those who would otherwise have been unable to pay.
  • Possible provision of tools of trade such as easy access to computers and the internet for the disadvantaged.
  • The admin keeps editing the site regularly since its creation to weed out possible bugs.
  • Thought leaders and entrepreneurs may come up with splendid online solutions due to the fact that it will give rise to increased competition.

Cons of Ajira Digital

  • It may lead to a decline in the price of doing business and possibly mess up existing struggling online workers as there will be many workers but few or no jobs.
  • The site only provides links to a few sites that existing online workers already know, which is nothing new.
  • Their current model makes the goal of creating one million jobs is unrealistic. This is because the 1 million people targeted will need access to computers and the internet, which are still very expensive to low-income earners. Some parts of Kenya are also not connected to electricity, let alone high-speed internet connectivity. They will also need daily jobs to sustain themselves.
  • Creation of jobs does not happen on the site. People are simply directed to sites that may or may not give the perceived results.
  • The possibility of Ajira Digital becoming obsolete and forgotten after many young Kenyans join all these sites and don’t get the intended results leading to high chances that they will quit online work.

Available jobs

Ajira digital online offers different type of jobs for different professions including:

  • Transcription
  • Writing
  • Sales and marketing
  • Software development/programming
  • Data science and analytics
  • Engineering and architecture
  • Support and customer service
  • Web design/graphics and creative design

Ajira digital ensures that they provide genuine and trusted websites that are currently looking for online workers. They, however, advise workers to do thorough research on the available websites to avoid unscrupulous websites on the internet.

Ajira digital program contacts and office locations

Physical location

Ajira Digital Offices: 10th floor, Teleposta Towers, 29 Kenyatta Ave, Nairobi

Mobile contacts: +254 20 4920000/1

Email: ajira@ict.go.ke

Twitter: @AjiraDigital

Facebook: Ajira Digital

Website: Ajiradigital

Conclusion

Ajira Digital is a good initiative from the government. However, the government needs to improve it and find ways to link young people using the platform directly to jobs. Entrepreneurs creating online businesses would also be of great benefit to the program. They would create the jobs needed to sustain these youths as they look for work online.

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Inversk Life

The creativity that M-Changa inspires

Matt Roberts

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Mon.28 Jan. Irene Akenga,

M-Changa is a fundraising platform that allows anyone to start a campaign within their network and beyond. Lets check in some of the successful stories within the platform.

GEORGE’S SPINAL SURGERY IN INDIA

(Above: Mr and Mrs Ambayo)

George Ambayo, born in the year 1952 is a loving husband to gospel songbird Florence Ambayo and father of two sons, Richard Oketch Otiang’a and Barnabas Yuka .

George has lived a happy and healthy life until mid-2018 when doctors diagnosed him with spondylosis and disc disease of the human spine (lower back) with maximal changes and neural compression at level L5-S1.

A compressed nerve by a prolapsed disc caused George to have leg weakness and problems related to urine and stools. As a retired accountant, he wasn’t able to come up with the funds needed to travel to India for spine surgery.

“By God’s grace when I was stuck in terms of getting the finances a good friend of mine, Joshua Ochieng introduced me to M-Changa. He told me M-Changa is a very effective organisation that can help you raise funds” – George Ambayo.

George set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform M-Changa, managing to raise Ksh. 743,000 in just three weeks thanks to 235 friends, family members and well wishers who supported his campaign.

Thanks to Kenyan generosity, the funds raised enabled him to travel out to India on the 4th of November. He was taken to DELHI GURGAON hospital on the 8th of November to undergo a 6 hour successful spine surgery to remove two discs and replace them with artificial discs.Miraculously George was discharged and has been able to walk without a walking stick or wheel chair. To this day, George walks 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening as his physiotherapist instructed.

“I want to say a big thank you to the 235 people who contributed to my fundraiser, I also want to thank the wonderful team at M-Changa who were so caring and supportive throughout the process” – George Ambayo

An unexpected side effect to his fundraising activity online is a raised social life, “I remember when I got back from India and I decided to send thank you messages to each and every person who had contributed to my M-Changa fundraiser and many people got back yet I didn’t even know them.”

“Fundraising can be a daunting task, especially for hard working members of society like George Ambayo. If anybody out there has a fundraising need – they should take advantage of fundraising platforms such as M-Changa to help them reach more people quickly – it can help them to quickly raise funds and prove their genuinity” – M-Changa contributor.

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Time Management Hacks for 9-5ers Looking to Earn an Extra Coin

News Team

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A report titled Leading Economic Indicators was released by The Kenya Bureau of Statistics in June, highlighting trends in consumer price indices (CPIs) and inflation among other things. When examining the report, you will notice the inflation graph has risen steadily over the past six months, which indicates something we already know: that the cost of living is becoming increasingly expensive and earning an extra coin is something many are considering doing if they haven’t started already.

The time to create multiple streams of income has never been more urgent. The challenge that people with ‘regular jobs’ face, is to find time to actually do that. I put regular in quotes to distinguish eight to five-ers from full-time entrepreneurs. A regular job demands set time in a work space doing assigned tasks. And so, a regular worker will have to set aside time and make sacrifices to be able to earn from other streams of income.

Workplace terms and conditions have to be considered before getting excited about a side hustle or self-improvement program. Make sure you review your contract because this delicate balancing act involves you dedicating at least eight hours for work. Be meticulous in this and set daily goals you have to meet for your job. You can go an extra step and fill in a performance review form every week to keep track of your work life.

John, 38 is the head of operations at an electronics store in the city center. He has learned how to artfully manage his time between his job and side hustle. Since he does most of his hustle online, it doesn’t take away too much of his time. He reckons employment is not the ideal way to live because of uncertainty and encourages people to take on one or two income generating hustles if they can manage to do them well.

Online work could be what you need to do to supplement your income. In fact, most of the times you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home since you just need access to a computer and an internet connection. You could do product reviews, write academic papers, contribute to online magazines or rate apps for a small but steady income. Sites like the controversial Public Likes, has taken over this type of hustle by storm though you might want to exercise caution there.

When reviewing terms, you could decide to renegotiate your employment contract. Blended work forces today have seen permanent employees and freelancers work hand in hand. This could free up some time for you to take on a side hustle or go back to school.

Make realistic goals for what freelancing could mean for you. It could take a while before you see returns from the work you do. Be ready to do many free jobs or earn meager wages before you can establish your reputation as being good at what you do.

Lydia, 27 an office administrator at an upmarket security firm, has been attending evening classes to get her degree in Finance. She has come to an agreement with her employer who lets her off early so that she can do that.

When considering a career upgrade that will consume, save for it. This money will help you avoid dipping into your regular income which could then strain you financially. There are many ways to go on about this, the most popular one this season has been the fifty-two-week savings challenge (#52weeksavingchallenge)

This challenge ensures you put aside money on a weekly basis so that it accrues to a huge sum by the end of the year. The beauty of it is that it is small amounts of money that you could be using to do other things anyway. A vibrant community has been built around this challenge to help you stay motivated and to keep you accountable.

Ask. People are often afraid of uncertainty and what it could mean to their job security. The worst that could happen is they say ‘no’, in which case you can look for alternative ways to carve out time. That will prepare you to seek out shorter courses with flexible time schedules. You could carefully select a variety of free online courses being offered by prestigious universities around the world.

Work towards sustainability. The economic binds in the report I mentioned earlier bring consequences that could be felt for many months. It is important to consider evaluating the sustainability of the income you get on the side. Is it taking money out of your pocket more than you can get it back?

My experience comes from working side jobs creating content, self-improvement courses with a full-time job as well. In some instances, when time is not managed well, the hustle suffers or work suffers and that is normal. I have learnt to say ‘no’ to opportunities that would benefit less in comparison to others that would build me more.

The Pareto principle which was coined by management strategist Joseph M. Juran, emphasizes on the 80/20 rule which when dissected states that less causes more. That 20% of your effort results in 80% of the result. Hence, targeting your energy on only the things that matter gives you the best results. Virtual organizers can help you sort through your 20% so that you can focus energy for maximum result.

Article written by Gathoni Kinuthia – a freelance superstar content creator for six years and enjoys creating and curating content. She has contributed an extensive body of work to websites, corporate blogs, newspapers and magazines

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