This morning, I was stuck in traffic for almost two hours. Being used to a 30-minute commute to work, I was understandably aggravated by the morning traffic jam in Manila.

morning habits

This is an all-too-familiar story with professionals in Manila. So why even talk about it? Because we need to be aware of how much productive time is being wasted on our morning commute. More importantly, I realized that I was squandering my time in the morning being unproductive.

While we don’t have much choice when it comes to our morning commute, there are a lot of other things within our control that we could do to make our day better. By developing good habits, we can actually be more productive.

Here are a few habits that we can cultivate starting today so that we can have productive, energizing mornings.

1. Start the day with gratitude.

Keeping a gratitude journal can be very helpful in managing stress and improving physical health. According to a Forbes article, training yourself to be more grateful – that is, developing an “attitude of gratitude” – has enormous health benefits such as improving self-esteem, improving psychological health, and enhancing mental strength, among others.

2. Be mindful of the media that you consume.

How do you while away the time when you’re stuck in traffic? Are you like me who read about the most random things from my Twitter feed – from Viking warriors to the history of hip-hop?

Whether you read the news or mindlessly browse through your social media feeds, it’s important to be intentional in what we read or watch. What we do in the morning sets the mood for the entire day, so it’s better if we devote time to read inspiring or mentally stimulating articles.

3. Use your first hour at work to set priorities.

What’s the first thing that you do when you get into your office? Whatever your ritual is, make sure you don’t get caught up in your emails and pending tasks. Personally, I start by sorting out the tasks that I have yet to finish and then scheduling it on my work calendar.

4. Have a proper breakfast.

I used to spend every single day fueled by caffeine. I justified my addiction to coffee by telling myself that there was no way I could function without it. After I was hospitalized for gastritis a few months ago and I was advised against having too much of the liquid devil, I had to change my habits so I could feel more energized in the morning.

One of the improvements I’ve made was to start having breakfast. Not only is a hearty breakfast good for my well-being, but it also improves my concentration.

While these habits may not work for some, I found that making small tweaks in my morning actually helped me become a more productive individual. It has also helped inoculate me against stress.

Do you have any other habits that have helped you get better at mornings? Share it with me in the comments below!