When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Janet Napolitano: Stretch and, usually, smile.

TG: What gives you energy?
JN: Brainstorming with bright, engaged people — and those people are legion at the University of California. Hanging out with good friends, whether we’re river rafting or sharing a great meal. Reading a terrific novel. Listening to great opera. I’ve got a pretty long list.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
JN: Not so secret. I try to take care of myself. I do meaningful work I love, sleep well, eat well, and surround myself with good people.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
JN: My phone does not sleep with me as it tends to make obnoxious sounds all night.

TG: How do you deal with email?
JN: I understand that email is supposed to increase efficiency but I can relate to the whine in your question. Email is something to deal with. There’s a lot of it and I plow through it as best I can, and as time allows.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
JN: Close my office door, put my feet on my desk, lean back, and recharge.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out?
JN: Let’s see. Maybe last week? I had a day full of meetings, then I got on an evening flight for a dinner event in southern California. I flew back home on the last flight. By the time I reached my apartment, I was done.

TG: Share a quote that gives you strength when times are tough.
JN: Life’s hard. Wear a helmet!

Originally published at medium.com