4 Steps To Be More Productive During MCO


In the days of the Movement Control Order (MCO), Malaysians are increasingly faced with a productivity problem. Rather, because Malaysians are so dead set on their daily working routines; traffic jam in the morning, breakfast, work till lunch, work till teatime, finish work, traffic jam back home, rinse and repeat for 5 days, a sudden lack of a "routine" suddenly throws everyone off balance.

With the 2nd extension of the MCO, here are 4 steps to can be more productive during this time.

Step 1: Set a schedule

When you work from home, it's possible that your friends and family don't actually know what that means. They think that "aiya, he's at home sure boring wan lah! I forward this video to make him happier." What you should let your friends and family know is that while you're working from home, it's still working. Set a schedule for yourself and for them and let them know that every Whatsapp message or TikTok video they forward you is an interruption during your working hours.

Step 2: Create your routine

Just like when you're in office, you should create a daily routine for yourself to follow. Wake up at a set time every day, and set breaks in between your working hours. You're at home, and if your work doesn't demand you to be 24/7 on-call, you can be more flexible in planning your routine. Make sure you maintain your routine throughout the MCO period, because once you get lazy, that's the end of your productivity.

Step 3: Take action

You wake up, ready for whatever the day has in store for you. You already lost count of the number of days you have been stuck at home during this MCO. You sweep your shaggy hair out of your eyes and ponder whether you really need all this hair. Maybe you can go bald. At least you won't look like a lalazai from the mid-90s. You look towards the bathroom; should you take a shower or not? Why should you? Your boss won't smell you over your Zoom conference. You forgo the shower.

You stumble into the kitchen. The coffee brewing in the kitchen perks you up, but then you remember the frothy teh tarik that the mamak near your office makes, and the uncertainty of not knowing when you can taste that teh tarik again makes you sigh. You look down at your sad slice of lightly buttered bread; that last piece of bread "skin" at the bottom of your loaf that you used to throw away when bread wasn't as valuable a commodity, and wonder when you can have an unhealthy Malaysian breakfast again in the great outdoors.

You plop down at your "working space", a jumble of hastily set up screens, laptop and wires.

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Right on time, the Zoom meeting starts. You reminiscence the times when you could stride into office late with a simple "traffic very jam lah boss". Now everyone has to be on time because where else can you be? Your phone beeps. Your clients are looking for you. They know you're working from home, which is basically a free pass for them to contact you at any time of the day. The meeting drones on. It's called Zoom but the meetings are anything but fast.

Lunchtime. What was once a revered and joyful time of rest and relaxation has become just another hour in your day. Those happy moments where you and your colleagues decide on a place to eat; should you try that new place or go back to an old favorite, is gone. Now it's all done through GrabFood or FoodPanda.

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You can't decide what you want to eat for lunch. You could cook, but then you'll have to wash the dishes. You sigh.

Another Zoom meeting begins. It seems like your boss wants to see you at all times. Maybe he's lonely at home too. And at least you're talking to someone.

You remember the teatime snacks you used to share with your colleagues around this time. Sometimes, they would even sneak out to buy some apam or kacang or kuih to share with everyone. You look around your "work space". You have half a packet of nuts, some biscuits, and water. That's not teatime, that's literally prison food.

Work is done...oh wait. Suddenly you get another call. It's yet another meeting on Zoom because during MCO, your boss suddenly doesn't know how working hours work. Should you pick up or pretend you didn't see it? Your Whatsapp beeps in quick succession. Your boss is asking you where you are. Your phone rings. You sigh. You join the Zoom meeting.

The meeting finally ends, but you find yourself in another dilemma. Everything is closed. No delivery, no takeaways, no grocery shopping. You remember the days when you could go out for a late dinner or yum cha session with your friends at 2AM. You check your inventory and realize that you don't have anything to cook except Maggie mee. Instant noodles are your new friends. You sigh and ration out your packet of nuts and biscuits for supper and breakfast tomorrow.

You go to sleep, because unless you're watching some travel show on Netflix, there is literally nowhere else to go.



Step 4: Read through Step 3 and realize that your day hasn't been as productive as it should have been

And you promise yourself that tomorrow will be better.

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