GREAT MINDS NEVER THINK ALIKE

This is a compendium of recipes for how some people work. The routines, habits, hacks, gadgets and escapes to consistently live their best life at work and at play. While high performance is the common thread, the personalities couldn’t be more diverse, and the gems we found couldn’t be more timely and inspiring.

This interview series is brought by The Great Room Singapore.

  1. What is your morning hack for a productive day?

Janice Koh: I always try to get in some exercise no matter how busy I am. So, I like waking early to do a hike, or a workout or my yoga practice. I like climbing Bukit Timah Hill in the early morning at least once a week for an hour and a half before starting my day. I find being in the woods extremely healing, and great for clearing the mind.

The endorphins from the workout also give me lots of energy to get me through a long day. I feel like if I can take care of myself, I am more ready and able to take care of others.

  1. What is the best purchase you have done recently that has upped your game at work? (App/Technology/Wellness gadget/Nutrition)

Janice Koh: I recently bought for myself the Muji aroma diffuser to help me relax as I prep for a show each night at the theatre. A few drops of lavender and eucalyptus is good for calming down as I put on my makeup and get into costume. I love that the whole dressing room smells like a spa!

What I’ve loved, which was a birthday gift to me from my friends a few months ago, was a full year’s subscription to Masterclass. It’s an online platform featuring industry masters talking about their work and giving classes online, and you can access it on your computer or iPad. It’s pretty amazing to be able to learn from people like television producer Shonda Rhimes,  Helen Mirren, photographer Annie Leibovitz, or Gordon Ramsay about their work, their process, and the way they create.

It’s inspiring and very enriching to learn from others who have gone through a journey. I highly recommend it.

  1. What or where do you eat when you are alone for lunch on a workday? Is there a favourite takeaway spot?

Janice Koh: When I’m alone or working, I’m a very functional eater. I can eat the same thing every day! I don’t like to waste time thinking about what or where to eat, so I usually pack my lunch. Typically, it’s a salad or vegetarian home-cooked dishes.

When I’m super busy, I usually only pack hardboiled eggs, sliced avocado and nuts, which are easy to pop into my mouth on the go.

Janice Koh, Actress, Wild Rice & Social Entrepreneur, Pasar Glamour

  1. What is the last book you read that created an impact on you and name 1–2 key takeaways?

Janice Koh: The last piece of fiction I read was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

There’s a quote in the book which I like: “Ordinary is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time, it will”. I see it as a good reminder to regularly reflect on what we consider ‘ordinary’ or normal in our lives. For instance, if we begin to willingly accept trespasses into what we consider our rights or privileges, one day, those compromises will become the norm. It’s like being in a bath and having the temperature rise so gradually that you don’t even realise it.

I’m also reading a book called The Conscious Parent by Dr Shefali Tsabary. I’m a parent of two teenagers, who have minds of their own, who have opinions, and who need their independence. The book reminds me to see my children as individuals and to be more mindful of my own triggers as I engage with them.

As parents, our emotional responses to our kids’ actions or so-called ‘misdemeanours’ say something about us and our own past. I hope to become more self-aware and reflective in this area of my life.

  1. Do you have a favourite superhero costume/accessory that you rely on for the most important business meetings?

Janice Koh: Before going on stage, I usually put on a little essential oil to keep me balanced and relaxed or sometimes spritz on some water infused with essential oils and crystals for grounding and good energy. Performing ‘live’ on stage every night is an adrenaline rush, but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. I find the best performances are when we are most relaxed.

  1. Do you have a favourite place/country you love travelling to that rejuvenates you?

Janice Koh: I would say Ubud, Bali. I love the energy of the place and the Balinese people. Being in the forested areas, or staying by the Ayung river gives me a great sense of calm. There’s just something about the island that relaxes me and allows me to decompress and recharge, even when I’m there for just a few days.

  1. Do you have a favourite quote you live by?

Janice Koh: I practice Ashtanga yoga, and its late founder Sri K Patthabi Jois used to say, ‘Practice and all is coming’. For me, I believe there is something to be said about the importance of diligence, patience and practice. The practice is about doing. It’s about taking the time to master skills, day by day, which talent or theory alone cannot give you. Practice gives you mastery, which then gives you the freedom to improvise, to invent, to innovate.

Like the Nike motto, ‘Just do it’! It’s not unlike the idea expressed by Malcolm Gladwell – about needing to put in at least 10,000 hours if you want to do something well.

  1. If you’re not doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?

Janice Koh: I might have been a lawyer. I almost went to law school before deciding to do a degree in Theatre. Or I might be in fashion because I love clothes!

Continue these sentences…

  • My favourite time-waster is Instagram or Crash Landing On You.
  • If I am having a really challenging day, I will reset by drinking one glass of wine.
  • I have an irrational love for

What is your favourite yoga studio in either SG or Bali or other locations?

Janice Koh: I go to Back on the Matin Tiong Bahru. It’s one of the very few Ashtanga yoga studios in Singapore.

What is your favourite champagne brand?

Janice Koh: Probably Henriot or Billecart Salmon.

Which wine do you unwind with and what notes do you like about it? (i.e. bold, fruity) What is your favourite bottle of wine?

Janice Koh: I usually have some sort of everyday drinking table wine in my fridge, if I need one glass at the end of the day. It’s usually a Pinot Noir or a Shiraz.

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