Category Archives: Living

5 Ideas on How to Spend Your Social Distancing Days

If I could actually break into a song and dance right now, it’d be a favourite from my teen days. *sings ‘We’re all in this together’ from High School Musical* Globally, we are all coming together against a common enemy – the COVID-19, with social distancing as our powerful weapon.

In trying times like this, especially having to stay indoors, and some of us undesirably away from family and our loved ones – the mood can be dull and frustrating . Here are some ideas on how to keep you out of boredom coma, and find a silver lining whilst you feel deprived of content for your social media accounts.

1) Take Up Challenge(s)

There’s a plenty of things you can attempt as a challenge – and it doesn’t have to be very complicated. Think about some of the habits that you’d like to make or break, and use this time to work on it. Staying home gives you more control and less distraction (relative to your day-to-day life). I, for example, have taken the challenge 1) To drink at least 1.5 L of water, 2) Eat all home-prepped meals & no junk food and 3) Write 3 blog posts , in the course of these 14 days. Keep track of your progress, and reward yourself at the end (only if you stayed on track, baru halal ah).

3 days of meals that I’ve been preparing at home #alonelife

Tips : Keep the challenges to a max. of 5; and choose what really matters & is meaningful to you.

2) Learn New Things

Lucky for us, there’s whole lot of FREE courses available online to enroll in. Some sites available are Udemy, Coursera & EdX. Some of the courses require payment – but mostly it’s for the certificate & grading. The course materials are almost always free. The next best thing about these sites is that they have pretty structured syllabus from renowned universities -so you can learn systematically. If you’d like to invest in better courses, try FranklinCovey-OnDemand, which costs about RM1000 – has various impactful softskills 1-hour programs. I finished 2 courses on the site which I found very useful. (Disclaimer : My access to Franklin-Covey was paid for by the organisation I work for; you can request your HR/Training &Development too!).

Other simpler alternatives are CrashCourse on YouTube which offers a wide range of topics, or Explained series on Netflix. I used to watch these while running on treadmill (when once upon a time I went to gym). If you want to learn a new language, then use the Duolingo app – and you really can progress. I didn’t know that I knew that much French until I watch an ad recently and could more or less make out what they were saying!

3. Declutter

We all have that space or drawer in our house that’s a ‘Everything Corner’. I have a storage box which contains my stationary, some souvenirs, random notebooks, stuffed toys, certificates, paper bags, vases, candles and what-not. I’ve been adding more to this said-container, especially because I hoard at every city I’ve been relocating to. Whenever I move, I don’t really unpack this container, which really questions the essentiality (is this even a word?) of these items. This is a good time to Marie Kondo similar spaces and clear that mess you keep hidden.

You can try this for your online clutter as well. That email address that you use to sign up for EVERYTHING, and now you have 3705 unread emails in your Inbox. Spend some time unsubscribing to the newsletters that are irrelevant to you. You can do this on your social media accounts as well – unfollow the pages you followed a decade ago but find no longer your cup of tea, or the ones that are no longer active. This way, you get more control of what you see online.

4. Catch Up

While it’s relaxing that some of our critical tasks at work have been postponed; and it’s a breather to work from home – it is easy to get distracted and impact our productivity. Working from home can so easily be counter-productive. This is a good time review your To-Dos and work on what’s important. It can be that improvement idea that you have, or a proposal for a potential saving – the kind of things you never got around to doing because there were always more urgent things that needed your attention.

I’m almost grateful that I have this breather – to resurface from the pile I’ve been under – because at least 60% of the urgent items have been pushed; giving me time to refocus and catch up on work that add more value.

Tips : Use the Urgent-Important Matrix, and reevaluate your To-Do list; so when you return to office, you can focus on Q2 instead of burning out with Q1 and Q3 tasks.

5. Reconnect with Your Loved Ones

Other than the stories of hardships of how they struggled during commute to school and struggling childhood (most Brown parents tell these stories?), we rarely know our parents for who they are as individuals. Years ago, I sat both my parents (separately) for an ‘interview’ session and asked them a set of questions. I found out that my father wanted to be a teacher if he’ve had the resources back then, and finds it difficult that his girls have grown up and that my mother told me that she thought I could’ve been smarter – but still proud of me! There’s so many parts of their younger lives that we don’t know – maybe you could sit & interview them to find out more.

The same applies to your partner or spouse. Give a call and catch up with that friend that you’ve spoken to in months or years.

BONUS: Try Social Media Detox

Truth be told – this is a tough one. Being cooped indoors can already be frustrating – and scrolling up social media keeps us occupied. That being said, social media can also be a source of frustration – what with the bad news, increasing number of cases, fake news, repeated tweets about the same things and videos of our clown of a Health Minister. We all need a break from this constant feed of negativity. Thanks to the RMO, there’s no need for FOMO – because everyone’s home (at least they should be!). I am yet to try this one out myself – so I’m curious if I remain sane, especially because I’ll have to remain home alone.

That sums up my ideas for now. Do let me know in the comments if there’s anything else that you’re doing; would love to know. 🙂

Till the next post, stay home, stay safe and most importantly, stay sane! ❤

5 Tips to Survive Your First Day

Even after surviving a series of first days in kindergarten, two schools and two tertiary institutions, I found myself turning and  twisting in my bed on the eve of my first day at work in Pichonkun’s. I started having jitters and felt sick to my stomach as I reached the security post to register myself. You see, the downside of having a chattery monkey mind is that I always end up having wave of thoughts when something major is about to happen. I didn’t want to mess up, I had all these expectations on how well I’m supposed to do, also I kept playing the guessing game of how it’ll be like working there. I sorta panicked!

I blamed myself for wanting to be an adult all the time. It happened! Clearly I wasn’t ready for this. C’mon, I was a 23 year old whose parents had just dropped her to first day of work. I took a deep breath. I got this. So, this time, despite the nerve-wrecking description as above, I had a plan in mind.  So, here are few things that I consciously (if you’re even slightly paranoid like me, you’ll tend to be extra self conscious)  did on my first day :

1. Keep a notebook in hand (at all times)

First day mean lots of new information. Unless you’ve got excellent memory enough to win IQ contests (which I obviously don’t), it’s always good to have a notebook to write down anything and everything. Although I probably did not need to know the size of bolts used in an air-conditioning unit, I was glad that I wrote down some of the other useful things. Also, if you like me, have tough time matching names with faces, it’s good that your write down the names of people you meet. I wrote notes on their work stations or some ‘descriptions’. I think this time I remembered more people faster than during other times.

Or you could try hard to peek at their name tags the next time. 😛

2. Ask questions

A lecturer once told our class, ‘Don’t make assumptions and make ass of yourselves!’. As much as we are all told to make assumption in Engineering schools, it is not a very wise thing to do in life. If you’re doing on-site tasks, it is even more undesirable to assume things. You wouldn’t want to lose a finger just to avoid looking stupid for asking a question. In most places, people are more kind to newbies, they’re happy to explain do’s and don’ts. Sometimes, what you may think is obvious may not be. If you’re in doubt, ask!.

3. Leave your expectations 

Just because someone you know has gone to this place before, and has shared their thoughts with you, don’t expect the experience to turn out the exact same for you. While it is always good to refer to someone to gain information, it’s not very advisable to have preconceived notions before you have experienced something yourself. Your circumstances could be different. This place you’ve heard not-so-nice things about could turn out to be awesome, and another place where your senior seemed to be so happy be at may not be a great place for you after all,. So, wherever you go, on your first day, go with an open heart. Expectations could damage your morale.


4. Smile.

Smile. You don’t want to come across as snobbish. Some of us *clears throat* do not have pleasant rest face. I’ve even stood in front of mirror trying to fix my resting face (okay, now you can forget that you ever read that sentence!). If you work in a place where everyone wears the same uniform (like I do), it takes time to recognise the bosses. During my first week, our GM actually sat in the same aisle as me for lunch, and I had no idea. High chances that my rest face didn’t give very good first impression. People notice the newbie. It’s always good to nod and smile as you see strangers along the way. You get to pick one, either be the budak baru sombong  or budak baru yang senyum tu. If you’re the latter, chances are you find your job easy in future.

5. Take Initiative

During my internship, I learned one important lesson; don’t expect people to teach you every thing.  I have heard of my peers and seniors who took pride in doing nothing much during internship, because their bosses were too busy to entertain them. When you’re not being assigned to anything within a week, you should take initiative. Browse through the PC at your work space. Read the available documents (SOPs, policies, working instruction), basically anything and everything you have access to. It is not a good sign if you’re sitting there doing nothing.  You can always ask your colleagues if you can help them with something, or if there’s something you could do.

When you leave a place, make sure you gain something.

It’s now been three months since my very nervous first day at Pichonkun’s. Safe to say, I survived. Coming to think of it, it feels all funny that I was even that nervous. But it’s always like that, isn’t it? We all have anxiety and stress when going to a new place.

If you too are anticipating for your first day soon, keep the above in mind. 😀 Good luck!