Before she founded Spanx, Sara Blakely was a door-to-door fax machine saleswoman. Few thought her idea for footless shapewear for women was a good one. So she put in $5,000 of her own cash and wrote her own patent. She begged hosiery mills to make a prototype until one felt badly enough for her to give her a shot. (For the record, he did it because his daughters told him the idea was a goldmine.)
Millions of dollars later, Blakely has proved naysayers wrong. Spanx is the Kleenex of shapewear and has expanded their line significantly -- there's even Spanx for men. Today, Blakely is America's youngest self-made female billionaire.
Being a billionaire and CEO means your time is precious, and Blakely is no exception. It's been a wild ride for the 47-year-old, and she's still leading the helm of product development at the company she founded almost 20 years ago. Blakely recently spoke to The Cut about how she optimizes her mornings to gets things done. Here's what her morning routine looks like.
She eats the exact same thing for breakfast
Coffee is not on the menu. Blakely has never had a cup in her entire life. Her morning fix is green tea with local honey and homemade cashew milk.
She preempts decision fatigue by preparing the same thing for breakfast every morning. It's a nutrient-packed smoothie that's so thick, she eats it with a spoon. She tells The Cut it's got frozen wild blueberries, dark cherries, kale, dates, cinnamon, spinach, cilantro, fresh mint, lemon, water, ice, chia and walnuts.
With fewer variables in the decisions she needs to make each morning, Blakely can save that brain energy for later-in-the-day real business decisions.
She limits her wardrobe choices
Blakely says she doesn't put a lot of thought into what she is going to wear. She takes a similar approach as Arianna Huffington by choosing from a limited range of options. Mornings are way less stressful when you scale down your wardrobe and have fewer things to pick from.
Blakely prefers being comfortable and of course reps her own brand. So a typical outfit for her is Spanx leggings, t-shirt and oversized sweater. Leggings for women = the tech bro hoodie.
She drags out her morning commute
When she's ready to head out the door, Blakely hops in her car and drives to the Spanx office. It's just five minutes away. But Blakely stretches it out. She'll sometimes drive for an hour before going into work. While most people dread long commutes, Blakely cherishes hers.
She says she gets the best ideas in the car, including the name of her company. Driving lets her mind wander, which is when the breakthrough ideas happen. Idle time sparks creativity. Einstein followed a similar practice. He would go sailing to let his mind wander.