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Morning matters: How professionals start their day

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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





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