Maru’s Minimalist Battlestation in Makati City, Philippines

Maru’s Minimalist Battlestation in Makati City, Philippines

“The good thing about working from home is that I get to see my daughter grow and develop day by day”

Trish Ramos
Workspace ToursMinimal SetupGaming SetupSmall Space SetupCable Management

Name: Maru Mailan

Location: Makati City, Philippines

Occupation: Data Analyst/Data Engineer

Room size: 7 m² (75 ft²)

Cost of the setup: ~$4,8K

Social media: Facebook, Instagram

Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself

Hi folks! I’m Maru, and I’m juggling two job titles right now.

I’m a Data Analyst and Data Engineer at one of the leading telecommunications companies here in Manila.

Using big data, I create visual insights and report analytics. I do love analytics because you can use it in pretty much any industry.

I hold an engineering degree, but only recently I’ve discovered a true passion for technology and automation.

The whole thing really kicked off for me when I started working in the tech industry.

And when I got a job in business intelligence, I learned a lot about automating processes (for example, creating automated reports) and optimising back-end data production.

Minimalist battlestation in blue and grey colours
Maru’s minimalist home office is mostly dominated by blue and grey hues

Other than my career aspirations, I’m into minimalism (not the extreme one though, hehe). I’m a huge fan of Fumio Sasaki and Marie Kondo.

In my area of expertise, we minimise waste to increase output and optimise systems for the best efficiency.

It’s the same with minimalism.

You get rid of things that don’t add value and keep those that matter the most to you.

You just have to apply this approach to yourself personally.

Take us through your setup

Item Model
Monitor Samsung LC27RG50FQEXXP 27” Curved Gaming Monitor
Monitor light bar Xiaomi Light Bar
Laptop MacBook Pro 2021 14 inch 16GB RAM 1TB SSD
Speakers Marshall Emberton Speaker
Headphones Apple Airpods Pro
Keyboard Keychron K4V2
Mouse Logitech MX Master 3
Chair Secretlab OMEGA 2020 SoftWeave™ Series
Desk shelf Local Facebook Marketplace
Laptop stand Lazada items
Desk mat Shopee items
Gaming console Sony PlayStation 5
HDMI switcher Vention HDMI Switcher

While I was in college, I saw a lot of cool setups costing thousands of dollars.

After I graduated and started my career, the working/gaming space was the first thing I wanted to create at home.

I started saving up.

I knew that one day, I wanted to own a powerful battlestation to keep me going.

Until the pandemic started, the room I set up my desk in was a closet/storage room/guest room. When the lockdown happened, we were allowed to work from home.

At that time, I started making baby steps toward setting up the designated home office. The one where I can focus on work tasks and relax comfortably.

The first things I got were a curved monitor, a standard wireless keyboard, and a laptop stand.

Secretlab OMEGA gaming chair
“The best throne for me so far,” — that’s Maru's review of the Secretlab OMEGA gaming chair

I’m also happy with my chair. I got a Secretlab OMEGA 2020 SoftWeave™ Series one.

I did my research, and the Secretlab team did deliver the gold standard of ergonomics in their products.

Home Office Chair for a Small Space
Find the best chair for your tiny home office with this easy guide.

The biggest challenge for me was trying to maximise the room’s space.

The whole process was inspired by the KonMari Method and my learnings from minimalism.

Gaming desk setup featuring the Ghost of Tsushima: Legends video game on a screen
Maru plays video games a lot and Ghost of Tsushima: Legends is one of their favourites

Cable management was my second challenge.

Fortunately, the monitor arm had a hidden hole to put the main cables in.

I hid the remaining wires going to the power source near the legs of the desk.

To make her workspace brighter and more ambient, Maru added a LED strip light
To make her workspace brighter and more ambient, Maru added a LED strip light

Eventually, I would like to add a floating shelf similar to the ones I spotted in other people’s inspiring setups. Now that we have IKEA here in Manila, it shouldn’t be a problem.

However, the next thing I’ll buy will be an automated adjustable desk.

I want to be able to stand up while working to reduce back pain and keep my blood flowing.

What’s your favourite item on your desk?

My setup is centred around the PS5. It holds deep sentimental value for me.

As a kid, I used to watch my neighbours playing PlayStation 1 and Nintendo games, knowing we couldn’t afford one.

So we just watched the kids next door having fun and hoped they’d share the controller.

PlayStation 5 gaming console
For Maru, PlayStation 5 is more than just a gaming console. It’s got a lot of sentimental value and brings back childhood memories

At that time, we didn’t have much and could barely afford rent, food, and other supplies, but my mom made sure we got three meals a day.

Looking back, I promised myself that when I grow up, hopefully successful, I’ll buy my own gaming console.

I’ll be sharing it with my loved ones.

I’ll make sure they appreciate how great it is to have a PlayStation at home.

We love playing Marvel’s Spider-Man with my daughter. It’s the most rewarding feeling in the world to share the joy and see her happy face when we play together.

I wouldn’t want my children to go through what I experienced when I was a kid.

Minimalist desk setup
Maru has a variety of hobbies and interests, including professional pursuits. “Currently, I’m putting all my effort into becoming a machine learning engineer or software developer”

I bought my PS5 from a Japanese seller on Lazada. It’s still hard to buy a console at a retail price.

As he lived in Hokkaido, quite a distance from me, I chatted with him first to make sure the console would be delivered to us on time.

I got a bundle that included games like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, an extra controller, and a charging station.

It cost me around $800, including shipping.

Also, the console I got was actually made in Japan! So it’s high quality.

What apps or tools do you use to get things done?

My favourite BI software tool is Tableau. I love how versatile it is.

Tableau is especially helpful when you’re dealing with multiple sources and various environments. There’s also a web server for sharing and collaborating.

The other tools I use daily are PowerBI and Grafana, but Tableau is much more flexible when it comes to cross-platform data sources.

It’s a game-changer for all types of business because of the continuity, cloud-based web collaboration, and server applications.

You can work on your tasks and collaborate with your coworkers even when you’re on the go or in some remote areas.

Besides work tools, I like Apple’s default apps. The Apple ecosystem is great for continuity, plus it’s free.

Why pay more for other productivity apps when Apple’s default ones fit the bill?

What books, blogs or podcasts recently caught your attention?

Here are some people and channels that inspire me right now:

  1. @maisyleigh
  2. @mkbhd, Marques Brownlee
  3. @dave2d, Dave Lee
  4. @mattdavella
  5. @daveramsey
  6. @mariekondo
  7. @theminimalist
  8. Never Too Small

Among them, you’ll find software engineers, developers, content creators, financial advisers, consultants, photographers, and productivity gurus.

I’ve been following some of them since 2017. I read an article about minimalism in Japan, and I was hooked.

14 Ideas for a Japandi Style Home Office
Make your workspace feel more warm, personal and down-to-earth with these Japanordic interior design ideas.

As I researched further, I realised that minimalistic thinking can be applied to everything, including your lifestyle, finances, workspace, etc.

That’s what I’m doing now.

Any tips for other makers who want to improve their workspaces?

Make sure you have enough room to stretch and reach for the things you need most, to look around, be inspired, and reflect.

With that in mind, you can optimise your setup even more.

When your workspace is cosy and decluttered, inspiration will start flowing.

How to Declutter Your Home Office
A tidy workspace does wonders for your mental health and productivity. Follow this step-by-step guide to declutter and organise your home office.

What does your typical day look like?

Since I handle reporting management for my company, I usually start my day checking work notifications.

There are times when the server slows down. Reports don’t get fixed right away.

My job is to ensure the reports go out correctly and accurately to stakeholders before their days begin.

After that, I take a cold shower to get the blood flowing. This makes me feel more alive and active, giving me a bit of drive to get through the day.

Decluttered home workspace
During the day, Maru follows a checklist of things to do

A priority matrix helps me get work crossed out faster and more efficiently.

Complex projects and research development tasks take a little longer to get done. So we usually prioritise them based on the clients’ needs and manage their expectations.

Every day, after I finish off my work tasks, I watch the online programming lectures for 30 minutes.

Once that’s done, I usually play with my daughter on a PS5. Sometimes, we go outside to get some exercise.

Blue & grey desk setup in the Philippines
“I’ve been working from home for about two years now. It’s changed my perspective on things,” says Maru

The good thing about working from home is that I get to see my daughter grow and develop day by day. Having your family around most of the time is priceless.

Even if they distract you from important tasks, it reminds you that whatever you’re doing now at work and whatever sacrifices you're making, it’s all for them.

One day, it’ll all be worth it.

Your tips for working from home?

Knowing the fine line between work and family time is my best tip for working from home.

It’s vital to be strict about family time because you can’t buy it.

Every moment should be cherished.

We’re a reader-supported publication. This article might contain affiliate links. It means we may receive a commission if you click a link and buy a product that our maker has recommended. The interview was done independently.

Workspace ToursMinimal SetupGaming SetupSmall Space SetupCable Management