Tips to stay productive while working from home

As our prime minister has announced that the movement control order (MCO) will be extended by another two weeks, this is the fourth phase of the MCO. The outbreak of the COVID-19 has most people to work from home and most likely would be the current and future trends. Working from home might blur the boundaries between work and personal life. Hence, here’re some tips to stay productive while working from home.

1. Define your spaces

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First of all, have a space that is designated as your workstation. Set aside some spaces, preferably a room, where you can concentrate. When you enter the room or sit in front of the desk, you know consciously that you’re going to work and automatically you will separate work from home.

2. Keep your work area tidy with a notepad and pencil nearby

A tidy workstation helps to keep a tidy mind which is able to make you more productive. Jot down any idea that comes to your mind on the notepad. You might not know that some of the best work will come from these random inspirations.

3. Have a good chair and stay hydrated

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Choosing the right office chair can help to create a more productive and positive working environment. Having a good chair encourages good posture too. Remember to keep a bottle or glass of water on your desk or by your side to stay hydrated.

4. Keep clearly defined work hours

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While working from home, set regular hours or use the same schedule as your work hours. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to take a break helps to maintain work-life balance.

5. Give yourself breaks 

For every few hours you work, take a 10 to 20 minute to have a break. Do some stretchings or take a snack to give your mind some time to refresh. You’ll improve the quality of your work after you come back from the break.

6. Start the day properly

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Before starting your work, have a proper breakfast and spend some “me-time” to just sit and do whatever. Just make sure that your mind is not in the mood of “Urgh, I hate to work”.

7. Get dressed

You don’t need to dress up formally like how you wear to office but at least don’t stay unshaved in pajamas. Have a shower, a simple act of changing clothes could act as a signal to indicate that it’s time to wake up and get things done.

8. Stay off social media

It’s important to stay updated but try, try to stay off your social media. Turn off your notifications too when you need to work without distraction. In fact, you can always check your updates during your work breaks. Or you can choose to read local books authored by Malaysians.

9. Listen to music

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Music is used to set the tone of our environment and our moods. Choose the correct playlists and you would be able to complete your tasks more quickly and have better ideas. Remember, the effect on productivity depends on the situation and type of music.

10. It’s okay to overcommunicate

While working from home, tell anyone who needs to know about your schedule oftenly. Inform anyone who needs to know when you completed an important task. It’s essential to stay connected with your colleagues, managers or your bosses.

Above all, figure out what works best for you. Stay home and stay safe.


How can we embrace a sustainability / zero waste lifestyle

Zero waste lifestyle is about refusing, reducing, recycling, reusing, re-purposing, rethinking and repairing. It means avoiding packaging, prioritizing old over new, embracing second-hand and sharing resources. Zero waste is about consuming less and sending nothing to the landfill.  

Have you ever thought about how much trash and waste you produce in a day? Your participation in green efforts is significantly important. It’s a slow progress but it’s progressing. We’ve listed 8 tips on how we can embrace a zero waste lifestyle. Let us not only practice these habits on Earth day only, but everyday.

1. Focus on small yet meaningful changes

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Find small waste reducing adjustments to implement without changing your routine too much. You may start with simple actions such as carrying your own water bottle or reusable coffee mug to the cafe to avoid disposable cups. Refusing plastic straws or don’t even using a straw is also another small achievement.

2. Switch from disposable to reusable

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BYOB, bring your own bags when you go shopping. You should start practicing to pack lunch or take away your food by using stainless steel or glass containers (bring your own container, BYOC). Rather than storing items in plastic containers, you can reuse the metal or glass jars for food and kitchen ingredients storage. Metal and silicone straws are great examples of now-common zero waste products as well.

3. Repurpose, reuse and repair

Repurpose your old clothings to use as cleaning cloths and handkerchiefs to cut down the buying of tissues, wipes or paper towels. A little repair for small appliances, electronics and even garments and ceramics can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary waste. 

4. Borrow or exchange

You can actually ask your friends, family, neighbours or even colleagues if they are willing to lend you the things that you need, for example, a prom dress, a drill and so on. Besides, books, movies, games and tools can all be borrowed from the libraries or exchange with your friends and family. Borrowing or exchanging instead of buying is a way to reduce unnecessary waste. It is always better to refuse, reduce, reuse and repair before recycling anything.

5. Bulk buying

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One part of going zero waste and cutting down on both waste and recyclable materials is buying in bulk as much as possible. There are many stores that offer the option of bulk buying especially natural groceries and health food items. You could bring simple mesh bags to hold rice, nuts and oats; bring jars for items like flour, cheese, meats and other items. Shopping this way creates zero trash and often saves your money because bulk buys are typically cheaper. Besides, buying in bulk cuts down on product packing and transportation costs as well as reduces waste. So, it’s cost-effective and good for the environment.

6. Compost

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Food composting is simple so that everyone can do it. Use containers with charcoal filters to eliminate smell and these bins are stored on your countertop. Add in food scraps, eggshells, vegetables and even paper products to the compost. When the container has filled up, move to the outdoors and mix with leaves, grass or even wood shavings. Your compost needs oxygen and moisture, and with the right mixture, your compost should smell like earthy dirt. Composting not only reduces trash but also a rich fertiliser to your garden.

7. Recycle

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Recycling is the last resort to manage broken and irreparable items. Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects to prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials. Clean bottles, cans, paper and cardboard are all recyclable items. You can also donate your clothes to NGOs or some clothing stores that run the recycling program such as Uniqlo, H&M, Zara , Levi’s and more.

8. Be realistic

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Get yourself in the correct mindset before you start exploring on the ways to go zero waste. You can’t expect yourself to go completely zero waste at the very beginning. Most of us would need to take steps over time to cut down on trash and waste. Most importantly, stay realistic and focus on how you will make a sustainability lifestyle work and how you will deal with any anticipated obstacles and challenges.

Regardless of how menial and small one’s contribution may be, it will still contribute to the society’s collective effort and eventually generate a difference. Though we’re not ready to go completely zero waste, we can all take steps toward minimizing our waste and cutting back on trash. Remember, small actions, big impact. 


Hygiene tips whether you are traveling or not.

Staying or traveling in the city means that the rate that we encountering other people are higher, which also means that the higher possibility that we are exposed with viruses and bacterias. As the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as pandemic, all of us should stay cautious and take steps to keep our hygiene clean.

Here are some of the precaution steps that we have to take:

Note: These tips are sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO)

Wash your hands frequently

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Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alchohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

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Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain viruses. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing/sneezing have the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

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Why? Hands touches many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, your virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

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Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spreads virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and breathing difficulties, seek medical assistance

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Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have fever, coughing and breathing difficulties, seek medical assistance early before things get worse. Follow the instructions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information about the diseases and the situation in your area. Checking in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you from getting worse and help prevent the spread of the virus and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your health care provider

Stay informed with the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice and instructions given by the local health care provider, your national and local health authority on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.