While I am not a CEO, I am like Sara Blakely in that I’m a working mom with four kids, juggling the demands that come with the territory, and my job as a writer requires plenty of creativity — something the inventor of Spanx has no shortage of. How would it feel to live in her shoes for a day? Would following Blakely’s daily routine allow me to use my creative brain while giving me the confidence of someone running a multi-million dollar empire?
I followed Blakely’s routine as she outlined in an interview for The Cut for one workday as best I could given my own job demands and family schedule:
- Do yoga at home at 6:30 am
- Have Blakely’s smoothie recipe for breakfast
- Opt for green tea instead of coffee
- Dress for comfort: Leggings, a t-shirt, and an oversized sweater
- Clear my work calendar for the day to think and create
- Focus on breathing if I get anxious
- Take a five to 10 minute bath
The life of a CEO
I rarely exercise, but I muddled through a 20-minute beginner yoga video on YouTube, connecting to my breath and trying my best to channel Blakely regardless of the fact that my alarm went off a half hour before it normally does. Afterward, I was sweaty and acutely aware that I still had to get my kids ready for school.
Although I truly hate the sound of ice in a blender at 7 am, I felt productive making Blakely’s 13-ingredient superfood smoothie with kale, cinnamon, lemon, dates, and frozen blueberries, among a handful of other ingredients that she says she eats with a spoon.
My smoothie didn’t end up with a spoon-able consistency, and while I wouldn’t describe it as tasty, it wasn’t terrible. I still felt full by lunchtime, so I can see the appeal of drinking one every morning — especially with a busy schedule that doesn’t allow for snack breaks or long lunches.
I work solely from home and normally stay in my pajamas until it’s time to pick my children up from school, but I was just as comfortable in Blakely’s go-to leggings, t-shirt, and oversized sweater as I would have been in pajamas. I did feel more put together than usual and will probably keep up this part of her routine permanently.
Blakely told The Cut that she has never had a cup of coffee in her life. I’m more inclined to chug coffee each morning than sip on green tea with locally-sourced honey and homemade cashew milk, so this part of living like Blakely was challenging. Luckily, the caffeine withdrawals weren’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. I’m also sure the healthy smoothie beforehand likely helped with this.
Blakely’s weekly schedule includes clearing her workday on Mondays to think and create, so I did the same. I wasn’t sure what direction I should take, but I knew that to truly spend this day as Blakely does, creativity needed to be my main focus, not work.
I am not a fiction writer by any means, so I attempted to write a piece of fiction to get my creative juices flowing.
As I wrote, I actually started getting ideas for topics to explore and pitch to editors (my normal job), stopped and jotted them down as they popped into my mind and then got back to creating. I was surprised at what I came up with without even trying to think about it.
I wasn’t sure about Blakely’s rules on stopping to check email, but the pull to peek at my inbox while creating was frustrating. I utilized Blakely’s tactic of focusing on my breathing to quell the anxious thoughts, and thanks to the morning yoga practice this felt relatively easy and calmed my thoughts quickly.
Although Blakely doesn’t spend every workday thinking, having one day per week to let creativity take center stage seems like it would make her more productive on the days that she’s sitting in meetings or managing product development.
I’m a bath person by nature, so adding Blakely’s 5-10 minute tub soak to my agenda was easy. I typically reserve baths for days when I can block out an entire hour of alone time, but a short, hot, candlelit bath was soothing and relaxing. That relaxed feeling helped clear my mind and allowed me to slip off to sleep feeling peaceful and productive.
Blakely’s routine focuses on prioritizing health, wellness, comfort, and creativity, which not only left me feeling productive but empowered and at ease all at the same time.
After living like Sara Blakely for a day, I can honestly recommend incorporating all or parts of her routine into the day of anyone who seeks success, but wants to be clear-minded and feels good while doing it.