By Patricia B. Mirasol

An effective morning routine maximizes productivity and creativity. It’s also a therapeutic experience amid the coronavirus pandemic. During these uncertain times, we need to control what we can. BusinessWorld asked several professionals what their morning routines look like:

“As work starts officially at 10 a.m., I take my time to wake up two hours before to have a slow morning. Doing my bed once I get up helps me with my mindset, wherein I feel like I have accomplished something right away. This also helps me accomplish other tasks accordingly throughout the day.

I do not check mobile phone messages and e-mail when I get up. I start this between 9:30–10:00 a.m. when I’ve done and accomplished personal tasks. I also take time to have some coffee with my partner, Alec, feed and pet my cat Missy, and run through the day’s to-do list for clarity. I do most of my reading and studying during the morning, as I’ve noticed that I learn better during the morning.

Setting an intention for the day and the week (on Mondays) gives me a sense of fulfillment throughout the day/week. When I’m feeling a bit off, I tend to listen to music which helps me get in the mood.” — Lance Pormarejo, chief of staff of telehealth platform Medifi 

“I usually start working at half past 6 in the morning then continue as late as midnight. I make sure that my mind is always set as soon as I start working.

In the morning, a good cup of coffee stimulates the mind and helps you become attentive to details. Before I start getting on with my tasks I check my to-do list first. 

I make my list on Monday morning and fill it up the way until the Saturday to properly distribute my tasks, in line with the things I want to achieve in the week that lies ahead.

I take some time to read Stoic passages to help set a proper mindset of seizing the day.

I listen to an episode of one of my favorite podcasts—whichever strikes my interest on a given day. My go-tos are The Knowledge Project, Freakonomics Radio, Masters of Scale, 99% Invisible, and The Tim Ferriss Show. Episodes range from 40 to 90 minutes. Listening helps stimulate my critical thinking, creativity, and imagination for the given day.

I also read articles from my subscriptions to get scoops on the next trends or the things that are valuable to talk about. I often check Tech in Asia, Harvard Business Review, TechCrunch, e27, and The Economist. But I usually do this mid-day.” — Christopher Klein Asinas, founder of sustainability podcast Sustainarumble

“I start my day by taking a quick ride nearby to get some sunlight and feel the breeze. I usually go to nearby churches or restaurants serving authentic meals. These activities help me gather energy in time for work and give me a dose of Vitamin D too.

I have always had a passion for setting up cars. Last year, I set up my pickup truck and during the ECQ I decided to restore a motorbike.” — Dorelene Dimaunahan, educator and entrepreneur

“My morning routine begins with coffee. I sit down in my usual spot in the garage or home office with a large cup of black brewed dark roast and think of what I should accomplish for the day. Usually, I just go through a mental list, sometimes with my notes or calendar in front of me. 

Then I go through my e-mail inbox, responding to those I deem as priorities. This keeps me focused for the rest of the day which is a mad mix of web meetings, writing, reading, and short breaks in between for nourishment, catching up with my wife and daughter, and if I can afford it, a quick siesta or to sit and literally do nothing. 

I end my day again with coffee or sometimes tea, again thinking about what I should do the next day or weeks”. — Michael de la Cruz, brand and communications lead, IBM Philippines

“I wake up at 6 a.m. I try my best not to read messages or browse through social media at the onset of my day. What I do is I drink a local black coffee to fully wake me. 

I open and read the Bible to seek wisdom and peace from God. I take time to reflect on what happened yesterday and think of what my day will be like. I check my calendar to plan my working hours, and as much as possible I stop working by 6 p.m. 

I also spend a few minutes playing and petting my dogs, then take a nice cold shower before officially clocking in. At 8:30 a.m., I start reading work e-mail and reading through our company’s social media pages and online inquiries, and then I meet my team via Google Meet. 

My morning routine is slow and relaxed, and I take my time to reflect on how I can be better from yesterday. For me, productivity is not the quantity of work or tasks you accomplished but the quality and learnings you enjoyed.  — Jan Andre Mercado, CEO of online real estate platform Signet Properties

“After I freshen up and apply skincare products, I drink my pineapple water (not juice), hot apple cider with lemon and honey, and guyabano tea. I then make my coffee, which is a very long process: first I mix the freshly brewed coffee with a bit of Israeli ground coffee, then I add cardamom and cinnamon, before topping it off with frothy milk and a splash of almond milk. 

I read the Bible and my messages after this ritual and before checking on my son living in Australia. I make sure to replenish the bird feed and water my plants on the terrace before answering e-mail, then I go up to my art studio to paint. — Sally Ponce-Enrile, founder and co-chair of First Shoshin Holdings, the startup behind the Jojo Pasabay delivery app

My morning ritual starts with my dogs waking me up at around 7 a.m. I have my morning coffee while waiting for them to do their business in our lanai/garden area. While waiting, I like to stare at my plants (and sometimes even greet them or say hi). 

I usually stay here for a couple of minutes to give my dogs treats. I find these earlier parts of my morning ritual to be the most therapeutic and calming. As the morning progresses, I like to list down all the things I need to do on a little sticky note—house errands, work stuff, dog-mom duties, anything.

I just feel the whole morning ritual works for me cause in a way it feels like I’m taking control of my day. I feel extra optimistic and productive for starting the day earlier. — Mika David, video editor consultant

Coffee + skincare are two things I can’t live without.

I need that morning brain function boost. Pre-lockdown I used to get my morning coffee outside, but now I get to brew my own and it feels so calming. 

I can’t go through the day by being oily so I’’ll put on some toner, moisturize, sunscreen (you’ve have to protect yourself from the sun indoors as well). Let the light in and start my day. — Kai Laiz, video consultant