Make Your Bed, Make Your Day!
There are times when finding order and organization in our lives seems nigh impossible. I’ve built an entire career and life’s work guiding my clients through that very search. And in a world of “quick tips” and “life hacks,” where the solution to productivity is a “few easy steps!” away, it may be surprising, and perhaps discouraging, that true satisfaction and productivity is so hard to achieve for many people.
This blog isn’t here to make it seem easy. It’s here because I recognize that it’s actually very difficult – but there are tools I can give you to make it easier. Some may not be the final fix you’re looking for, but may in fact be a way to empower you to keep striving for more fulfilling days.
A simple start: make your bed in the morning. It solves nothing and everything at the same time.
What I mean is that essentially, making your bed is a solution to exactly one problem. The problem of having an unmade bed. Now when you think about your hectic days (the looming meetings, the unanswered emails, the schedule that seems to tangle as it unravels) the fact that your bed is unmade may not be your #1 problem. It may not even be problem #99.
So why does making the bed actually help many people, if the habit seems so useless in achieving anything? Psychology Today reports that “71 percent of bed makers consider themselves happy; while 62 percent of non-bed-makers admit to being unhappy.” They also observe that bed-makers are more likely to “like their jobs, own a home, exercise regularly, and feel well rested.” You’ll notice that these are the building blocks of productivity I so often espouse on this blog! Could it really be that easy to attain all these – with a few folds of the sheets?
The answer is a strong “no.” I’m not here to sell you snake oil. But what making your bed can do is start you on the path towards more meaningful tools – it’s what author Charles Duhigg called a “keystone habit” in his book “The Power of Habit.” Making your bed enables you to have other effective behaviors. It starts your day in a mode of productivity, giving you a sense of control over the clutter in your personal sphere. This clutter will rear its head throughout the day, in your email inbox and your hopeless file cabinet. But if you start your day knowing you can overcome disorganization, these problems are going to seem a lot more manageable later on.
Try it tomorrow. It’s an activity you can even make fun too – I won’t stop you from jumping on your newly made bed. You may find that this simple activity may propel you through the rest of your day – even when your day doesn’t seem so simple.