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6 Killer Ways to Crush Working From Home

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The last year has seen a giant shift in the workforce. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have forced employers to take a good, hard look at how they do business. As a result, the business park is quiet. The ties and dress shoes collect dust. More people are working from home than ever before.

While there are many pros to working from home – no morning rush hour, no boss breathing down your neck, perhaps no daycare is needed – there also comes some challenges. Time management distractions can be a real workflow buzzkill. And it’s hard not to take work home with you when working from home. And with reports suggesting that working from home leads to longer hours, it’s important to optimize your at-home office. Here are the 6 killer ways to crush working from home.

Be Set for Success

You might not have to go into the office or face anybody directly when you work from home, but this doesn’t mean you can be ready for the day. Set yourself up to be productive. This means, stick to your morning routine. Take a shower, walk the dog, make breakfast, slam some coffee, and get changed. Maybe you don’t need to wear a suit and tie but get out of those pajamas and run a comb through your hair.

What about your workspace? Do you have all the supplies to crush it? Buy some pens and highlighters. Get a day planner, invest in a space heater or humidifier. Pick the right monitor to stare at all day. You will be hard at work in that space for hours. Set yourself up to get the most out of it.

Carve Out Your Corner

Working from home does not mean working from bed. To optimize your output, set up shop in a corner of the house where you can be fully focused on your work. A good workspace is yours and yours alone. Barking dogs, needy kids, and a blaring TV are quick ways to throw you off track. Give yourself a space where you have all that you need for a dedicated and uninterrupted workday.

The Clock is Your Friend

Just because your morning commute has been reduced to just a few steps, doesn’t mean you should hit the snooze button. Abide by your business hours. This means that it is important that you should not sleep in or cut any corners at the beginning or end of your time sheet. You are working from home without anybody looking over your shoulder. Now more than ever, your performance is judged based on your results.  Just as important: when that clock hits 5PM, time to clock out. It’s easy to lose track of time when you’re working from home. Set an alarm, and when it’s time to close the laptop, power down.

Stay on Target

When you clock in, you should have a pretty good idea of what your day should look like. Map out some goals for yourself. What will you have accomplished by lunch time? By 3? EOD? Set time aside to answer emails, work on reports, crunch numbers etc. This will help you get the most out of your time, rather than just seeing what you get done.

Break

One of the benefits of working from home is you don’t need to pack a lunch. When it’s time for lunch, or even a coffee break – make sure you leave your workspace. Stretch your legs, get a change of scenery and use the time to take your mind off the task at hand. Let yourself have a moment to go kiss your wife or let the dog out in the yard. Your boss will expect you to be working hard from home. Taking a break here and there is a great way to stay sharp.

Roll Call

You may be working from home, but you are still part of a team. Teams thrive by growing and learning together. Open up a chat thread with your co-workers. Start one with and without your boss. Share tips, news, or fun nonsequiturs. Stay engaged and in the loop. You may find that your pace is out of sync with the rest of your team. Or maybe someone has a unique approach that could be helpful.

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Entertainment

The Official Rules to Binge-Watching with Your Significant Other

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It’s happened to all of us. You started binge-watching a show with your significant other, and then somebody does the unthinkable: They watch an episode without you. Or the last episode you watched ended on a crazy cliffhanger, and you can’t wait to see what happens next, but your partner is dragging their feet to watch again. This is unacceptable.

But it’s not their fault. It’s not like there are official rules to binging TV with your partner. We’ve all just been navigating this crazy, crazy world on our own. Well, I’ve changed all that. After time and thoughtful consideration, I have prepared a list of rules to clear up any discrepancies and settle all disputes. So read below and share with your partner. I present to you, once and for all, the Official Rules to Binge-Watching with Your Significant Other.

1.    The Pilot Episode Principal

You and your significant other cannot officially commit to binge-watching a show until after you have both assessed the first episode. Maybe you and your significant other set out to watch that epic fantasy show with all the violence and nudity that ended a few years ago. Or maybe you want to catch up on the superhero show so you can watch the finale at the end of the week in real-time. Either way, you need a taste of the show before you join in on this adventure.

Watch the first episode together and talk about it before committing.

What did you think?

How did you both feel about it? Did the show grab you? Do you both like the genre? Was it too confusing? Did you like the humor? These are the questions to ask each other before watching the next episode. You might not be completely sold on the show. One might like it more than the other, and that’s fine. More on that later. Just get a gauge for your partner’s interest. Maybe she laughed harder than you did. Maybe he’s more into than you.

2.    Thou Shalt Not Cheat

Here it is in writing: No watching the show without your significant other. This cannot be stated enough. Watching the show by yourself is a HIGH CRIME. This is akin to infidelity. Once the trust is broken, it is difficult to regain.

The Sleeping Amendment

It’s 3 am, and you’re 6 episodes into your binge. Your favorite character walks in on his best friend in bed with his wife. Before the best friend can say anything, your character reaches in the dresser, pulls out a revolver, and shoots them both dead! Your jaw drops. You can’t believe it. You look at your girlfriend to see her reaction… and she’s snoring. Credits roll, and Netflix asks:

That question is for both of you. Translation: your binge-watching is over for the night. You cannot continue to the next episode while your significant other is sleeping. You may, however, finish any episode that you started together. It doesn’t matter if they fell asleep with ten minutes left or if they fell asleep during the opening credits. So, it is written.

3.    It’s Called Binge-Watching. Not Snacking.

You’ve both agreed to binge? Great, now get on with it. But remember, they call it binge-watching for a reason. The term binging refers to indulging in an activity to excess. Binge drinking does not mean a glass of wine with dinner. No one binge eats a salad. Similarly, you don’t binge-watch a show one episode at a time.

Netflix, Hulu, Amazon: they all conveniently have an automatic ‘Play Next’ feature. It’s there for a reason. You might not get to watch a whole season in a sitting. Maybe one evening, you only have time for a single episode. And that’s okay. But burning through the show as quickly as possible is the goal.

4.    The Mercy Rule

If you have committed to binge-watching a show with your significant other, but over time you realize that you’re just not feeling it as much as they are, cut it loose. I know you value the quality time with your partner as much as the show itself, but sometimes it’s okay to let it go. Tapping out of a binge is the respectable and dignified course of action. In doing so, you give your significant other permission to go on without you and watch the show in their spare time.

In doing so, three provisions come forward:

  1. You, henceforth known as the Quitter, may request a recap of what you missed should you decide to jump back in.
  2. The Quitter may watch the show on their own time should they wish to catch up, but their significant other is NOT REQUIRED to rewatch with them.
  3. The Quitter is not expected to watch the show during quality time. They gave up on the show; it is no longer their cross to bear.

5.    The Statute of Limitations

Sometimes life gets in the way of what’s really important. Maybe you picked up an extra shift, or you need to help your sister and her boyfriend move because he’s a scrawny loser who doesn’t have any friends to help. These things happen. But binging with your partner should take some priority. If your partner is consistently waiting for you to make time to watch your show together, resentment builds. Agree on a maximum acceptable time between viewings. This is different for every couple. Whether it’s two days or a week, set a cap for time off. If the said time has elapsed, either party is free to ignore the Cheater Rule.

6.    After Binge-Watching, Never Fall Behind Again

If you and your partner binge-watch to catch up on a show that is on air, you have not graduated to the status of a ‘regular viewer.’ This is an elite status that is not as common as it was 20 years ago. Some people prefer to wait for a show to end before they binge the whole thing from start to finish. But for those who enjoy a regular viewer status get to talk about the show with other viewers in real-time. You can talk about the latest episode at work, and you no longer have to run from spoilers. That’s why it is important to stay caught up on the show.

Should you and your partner miss the show when it airs (or when you agree to watch it), you have until the airing of the next episode to watch the show together. If you still haven’t watched the last episode before the day of the new episode, both parties can catch up on their own. If you couldn’t spare an hour all week, that’s on you.

By Reading This You Have Officially Agreed to These Rules for Binge-Watching

There you have it. No longer will you be able to hide behind your ignorance. These rules have been made clear. Now that you and your partner have read these rules, the slate is officially wiped clean. Any grudges or punishments for past injustices are no longer valid. But from now onward, both parties are expected to binge by the rules.

Be sure to check back with us for our upcoming article on Amendments, Exceptions, and Acceptable Punishments.

Looking for a comprehensive list on all the streaming services and their prices? Check out this article.

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Lifestyle

Staycation: My Ultimate Guide to the Best Holiday at Home

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Going on a staycation isn’t exactly new. But at the height of the pandemic, it has slowly become a norm for those who want to have a relaxing time yet have limited mobility. If you are not used to this type of R & R, I got you covered. I have here the ultimate guide for a staycation so that you can enjoy it and at the same time, temporarily forget your worries. These tips are lifted from my current staycation, so I know that it works. 

What is a Staycation? 

When I say staycation, this refers to a vacation typically near your home. It’s a practical way to remove stress, and it’s also more eco-friendly considering won’t leave much of a carbon footprint. Some choose nearby hotels or bed and breakfast, while others have staycations at their home. 

Whatever your choice is, you can always make your staycation worthwhile with the tips below. 

Start Unplugging and Enjoy a Social Media-Free Day

I hate to break this to you, but social media can be stressful. You get to see a lot of unverified news, which can also target your emotional and mental well-being. Also, there’s a possibility that you compare your life with others. You start to feel that you are not good enough because you can’t afford the same things that your friends could. Again, this isn’t healthy. 

When you have a staycation, it’s the perfect time to unplug. Instead, you can go back to reading or writing in your journal. If you haven’t been meditating in a while,  you could take advantage of this opportunity. 

You will soon realize that there’s no need to constantly scroll down through your feed. And what matters most is the life off-screen rather than the one deliberately posted for online followers.  

Work Out a Budget

Many people think that staycations are cheap. But this is not always the case, and the overall cost will depend on your chosen location and accommodation. Having said that, you need to determine a decent budget. That way, you won’t have to worry if you wish to have awesome food delivered to your room or if you want to buy an expensive bottle of champagne. 


You might think this isn’t practical. But quite frankly, splurging once in a while could be healthy. It helps you enjoy your hard-earned money. And it keeps you motivated to work smarter so you can have more.   

Unless you are going to stay at home, then building a huge budget might not be necessary. 

Set an Out of Office Response

Don’t forget to draft an automatic out of office response on your email. A staycation is no different from a traditional vacation where people don’t want to get bothered by problems, especially from work. 

To manage expectations and set boundaries, make sure that you create your OoO response ahead of time. Of course, do not forget to add an emergency contact number and highlight that this is just for urgent matters. Let the people know that you would rather not get disturbed and that you will get back to them once you are done with your well-deserved time off.     

Pre-Select Movies and TV Series to Watch

Have you ever experienced spending several minutes just to find the right movies and TV series to watch? I know I’m not the only ones. The thing is, your staycation time is limited. Would you want to spend 30 minutes of your time just choosing? 

A simple solution is to pre-select these before your staycation date. Write it down or add it to your playlist. That way, you can just turn on the TV, lounge on the couch or bed, and start stuffing yourself with pizza or popcorn – or whatever sinful food you desire.    

Consider Your Kids When Planning

As adults, we often look forward to a day of doing nothing. But if you have kids, things are different. They will eventually get bored, and chances are, they will throw tantrums for hours. 

A win-win situation is to think of activities that will keep them preoccupied as you try to enjoy your free time. If possible, look for accommodation where facilities are ideal for kids. Or if you can bring board games, Legos, or even coloring books, these should work just fine. 

Call Local Attractions Ahead of Time 

Ideally, staycations are meant to be spent in rooms where you can just relax and slowly enjoy every minute. 

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t and won’t go out. Writing down nearby local attractions is a good idea so you can have a backup plan just in case you run out of good movies to watch or activities to do. 

Since the pandemic is still happening, you might want to call in advance and check if the attractions are open. Likewise, try to know their restrictions so you can prepare ahead.

Invite A Good Friend

You might also want to share your staycation experience with a friend. The advantage of inviting someone is that you can split the expenses and you can do more with your budget. 

However, you need to carefully choose whom to invite. As much as possible, they should respect your personal time and will give you space even if you are staying in just one room.  

Take Loads of Photos 

Don’t forget to take a lot of pictures as you enjoy your staycation. But be careful not to make it too orchestrated. Just act normally and try to capture the best moments whether you are doing it on your own or if you are with your friends and family. 

It’s always a great idea to keep happy moments so you can get back to it if ever you feel down. It keeps you inspired as well. Your photos are not just for your IG followers but for yourself. 

Have Fun! 

Like going on a conventional vacation, a staycation needs a lot of preparation. Sure, you can be impulsive and book a hotel room right away, but that could place a huge dent in your budget. As a rule of thumb, plan it ahead of time, set a budget, and enjoy. After all, you deserve it.

Check out this article on why you need to chill while on vacation.

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Lifestyle

Most Watched TikTok Recipes

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TikTok is not only the home for viral dances but also recipes! So if you’re not on TikTok but still want to learn some easy-to-cook recipes, then you’re on the right page. Here’s a list of most-watched TikTok recipes that look good enough to eat. 

#1 “Man Meal” Baked Overstuffed Chicken

This “man meal” dish Ali Grace Morsell cooked for her husband has garnered more than 6.1M views on TikTok recipes. This dish is served as an after gym meal for Ali’s husband hence the name. It’s a recipe that can be prepped and cooked for less than an hour. 

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts 
  • Diced green chiles 
  • Worcestershire sauce 
  • All-purpose seasoning
  • Cream cheese
  • Salt
  • Parsley on top
  • Mashed potatoes on the side

#2 Chocolate Mochi

@asianmuminlaw

my Asian mum-in-law taught me this trick to make #mochi at home. #asianmuminlaw

♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod

This home-made mochi with chocolate filling by My Asian Mum-in-Law reached over 11.2M views on TikTok. If this is your first time encountering the word “mochi,” it’s a rice cake made with glutinous rice. However, some of you might know mochi as ice cream. In Japan, this sticky rice treat has various variations that match the country’s seasonal specialties. 

Ingredients:

  • Glutinous rice flour
  • Chocolate balls 

#3 Mini Pizza 

If you’re looking for a fun and quick treat to make, this 5-minute mini pizza recipe is perfect for you. 

Ingredients:

  • Biscuit
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Cheese
  • Pepperoni 
  • Egg

#4 Baked Mac and Cheese

This baked mac and cheese by Mariam are one of the best mac and cheese dishes for thanksgiving. It’s a creamy and savory dish that’s well-deserving of more than 14.3 M views. Besides, this is one of the most trending dishes on the TikTok recipes’ feed.  

Ingredients:

  • Heavy cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Penne Pasta
  • Onion
  • Butter (1 stick)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • Garlic
  • Cheese
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt
  • Turmeric

#5 Disneyland Grilled Sandwich

If you’re a fan of a cheesy grilled sandwich and Disneyland, then you should try lifewithmarq’s TikTok. This recipe generated more than 6.6M views on the platform. So if you don’t mind eating more than 120 calories in one dish, give this recipe a go. As a fan of all cheese dishes, I’ll give this one a try. 

Ingredients:

  • Artisano bread
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheddar cheese slice
  • Cream cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Garlic 
  • Shredded cheddar cheese

#6 Firecracker Shrimp

If you’re a fan of seafood and all things spicy, this recipe by Kwokspots is worth the try! This hot recipe earned more than 6.4M. 

Ingredients:

  • Shrimp
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • Egg
  • Buttermilk 
  • Seasoning flour
  • Panko

Fire Sauce: 

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • Ground pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp chili flakes

#7 Potato Gnocchi

If you’re feeling a bit extra today and cook something new, potato gnocchi is a great dish to try. This heartwarming recipe featuring the TikTok user’s mom received more than 9.5M views. 

  • 1 kg boiled potatoes
  • Salt
  • 300g flour
  • Sauce 
  • Cheese

#8 Homemade Reese’s Cup

Last but not least, on our TikTok recipes lists, create your version of Reese’s cup at home from Italian Foodaholics. This recipe by the TikTok user received more than 6.3M views on TikTok. With only three recipes, you can make your chocolatey dessert. 

  • 150g chocolate
  • 2tbsp Icing sugar
  • Peanut butter

For other lifestyle-related articles, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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