The CEO of Spanx wakes up an hour early to drive around 'aimlessly' on a 'fake commute' because she does her best thinking in the car

Jamie McCarthy/GettySpanx CEO Sara Blakely.
  • Spanx CEO Sara Blakely says she does her best thinking in the car. The only problem is that she lives close to her office and has a short commute.
  • To give herself more time to think, Blakely wakes up an hour early each morning to go on a “fake commute” in which she drives around Atlanta “aimlessly.”
  • It was on one of those fake commutes that Blakely came up with the name “Spanx” for her company.

What should you do if you do your best thinking during your morning commute, but you live close to your office?

If you’re Spanx CEO Sara Blakely, you make your morning commute longer.

Blakely revealed earlier this year that she wakes up an hour early each day to embark on a “fake commute” in which she drives around Atlanta “aimlessly” to give her time to think.

“I’ve identified where my best thinking happens and it’s in the car,” Blakely told LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman on a March episode of his podcast “Masters of Scale.” “I live really close to Spanx, so I’ve created what my friends call my ‘fake commute,’ and I get up an hour early before I’m supposed to go to Spanx, and I drive around aimlessly in Atlanta with my commute so that I can have my thoughts come to me.”

Blakely said she even came up with the name “Spanx” on one of these long commutes.

“I … said I want my invention to have the ‘k’ sound in it and literally, almost spontaneously, I’m sitting in traffic in Atlanta, the word ‘spanks’ came to me across my dashboard in traffic,” Blakely said at the Inc. Women’s Summit in 2011. “I pulled up to the side of the road. I wrote it on a scrap piece of paper and I thought, ‘That’s it.'”


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On the podcast, Hoffman praised Blakely for her unconventional morning routine.

“As an entrepreneur, you have to put yourself in situations where your great ideas are likely to strike,” Hoffman said.

“Sara knows that she does her best thinking in the car. So, she intentionally creates the time and space – first thing every day – to open herself up to new ideas.”

Listen to the full episode of “Masters of Scale” »

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