Jenna Tanenbaum is the founder of GreenBlender, a smoothie delivery service. When she’s not blending up a storm, Jenna can be found running through Prospect Park in Brooklyn, training for her next race.
What is your morning routine?
Even though I run a smoothie company, I am not a morning person. I really wish I were. I typically wake up at 7:00am if I want to run before work; if not, I wake up at 7:45am.
7:00am - Take my resting pulse. I’m a bit of a data nerd, and I obsess over data points. I track my resting heart rate every morning to see how well I’m recovering from workouts. I record those points so I can see how they change over time.
7:00am - Drink water. I keep a glass of water next to my bed so I can immediately drink a pint right when I wake up.
7:05am - Sweat. I usually keep my weekday workouts short, no more than 30-45 minutes, as I am not a morning person. If I miss a morning workout, I get in a lunchtime workout at my local rock-climbing gym.
8:15am - Head to work and meditate. On the train to work, I always do a ten-minute guided meditation on my Headspace app. After years of trying and failing to sit on a cushion and carve out thirty minutes of meditation during the day, I found that working it into an already set routine held the best results. Now I never miss a day!
After I finish meditating, I catch up on the news by reading Fortune’s daily newsletter, The Broadsheet. This newsletter is one of my favorites. It focuses on current events through the lens of women in business.
10:00am - Drink a smoothie. Every day at 10:00am, live on Facebook, I make a smoothie from the GreenBlender box that week. I want to show people how easy it is to start your day with a healthy decision and empower them to take control of their health. After that, the whole GreenBlender team drinks that smoothie during our morning meeting.
How long have you stuck with this routine so far?
The general routine has lasted for at least two years. I’m truly a creature of habit.
How has your morning routine changed over recent years?
I try to keep my morning routine as relaxed and minimalistic as possible. I find that when my routine gets too packed, I feel like I have to do every little step and stress out about accomplishing everything. This routine helps me maintain a low level of stress heading into my day.
What time do you go to sleep?
I know what you’re thinking - I’m not a morning person because I go to sleep late. Not true. I am a sleepaholic and like to get between 8-10 hours of sleep every night. That means I am typically in bed by 10:30pm.
Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?
If I’m running in the morning, I lay my clothes out as a kind of “flat Jenna,” so I can jump right into them and maximize the amount of time I’m in my bed. I am an efficiency freak and will do anything to optimize my time.
Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?
I have a deep-seated hatred for people who can wake up without an alarm clock, glowing and ready to start their day, a halo of butterflies circling their heads. Who are you? And how can I be like you?!
I wake up with an alarm clock. I wish I could be a morning person, but no matter how early I go to bed, waking up is a struggle. I would almost always rather be sleeping.
I tried that alarm clock that claims to gently wake you with light, as if from the rising sun. That didn’t work - I simply turned over. I tried an alarm clock that plays music - not going to happen. I just had very intense dance parties in my dreams and arrived late to work. I even tried an alarm that checks your REM cycle and wakes you at the optimal time. I think for me, there is no optimal time to wake up.
So now, I just use a very jarring fog-horn-type alarm to jolt me awake. It’s the kind of sound that gives you a heart-clenching feeling of dread even if you are awake when you hear it. It’s not the most angelic way to start the day, but it’s effective.
When I hear my alarm go off, I instantly grab at my clock, frantically trying to find the snooze button while simultaneously keeping my eyes firmly shut. This translates into randomly slapping my clock, hoping I’ll find the snooze button and the sound will stop for eight minutes. I’m going to tell you, when I finally find the snooze, it’s the most rewarding feeling in the world. Small victories.
How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?
This really depends on how hard my workout is that morning. If I have a hard workout, I usually have something small like a hard-boiled egg or toast before I head to work. If not, I usually wait until 10:00am to have a smoothie.
Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?
I meditate for ten minutes every day on the G train on my way to work. You don’t have to sit cross-legged on a mountaintop with angelic light raining down to meditate “properly.” The thing about the present moment is that it’s always right now.
Do you answer email first thing in the morning or leave it until later in the day?
I very rarely answer email in the morning. When I get into work, I look at my calendar and write a to-do list for the day. I make sure I do the most important items on that list first, and once I have gone through the list, I answer email. Email is one of those never-ending things; if you don’t prioritize correctly, it won’t let you get anything done.
Figuring out the best way to deal with email was a huge breakthrough for me. I would have hundreds of emails I needed to respond to, and I would feel stressed because I wasn’t getting to them. I knew I had to make a change or my inbox would start running my life. I now manage my inbox in the following ways:
- I batch my email time. I set aside one- to two-hour blocks in my day to just respond to email. If that time ends up being late at night or on the weekends, I schedule the messages to go out first thing in the morning the next day. I don’t respond to email outside of that time.
- I use canned responses. I use Streak to save my most frequently used responses and information. It allows you to program shortcuts so you don’t even have to look up the response. I can simply type “lawarehouse” in an email, and the address of our LA location auto-fills. It’s a major time saver.
- I employ inbox zero. As soon as I respond to an email or decide not to respond, I archive it and get it out of my inbox. Only important emails that still need a response are in my inbox.
- I don’t answer every email. This was a big one for me and was hugely liberating. You don’t need to respond to every email. If it’s not a good fit or just not a priority at the moment, archive it and move on. Don’t waste your brain power.
How soon do you check your phone in the morning?
I usually check it first thing in the morning. I’m really trying to break that particular habit.
What and when is your first drink in the morning?
Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?
Weekends are for sleeping and running. Anyone who gets in the way of those two things will regret it.
Anything else you would like to add?
My morning routine is meant to be a mindful and fun time to set up my day for success. My mantra is the same as GreenBlender’s: create healthy habits that last a lifetime and have fun with it.
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