Do you make your bed every morning?
I grew up in a home where we did. Every day it was a must. It was a routine and an automatic and it has continued into my adult life. No matter how late I was running in the morning, I just did it. It takes a whole like three minutes.
About four years ago I let is slide from my routine. I was in a tough season of life where tears were more often present than a smile. If I’m honest, I’ve probably battled small bouts of depression since. What I’ve been getting up to do every morning wasn’t enough to want to get out of bed for and the act of getting out of bed became the biggest battle of my day. That morning battle has become less extreme, but it is still there. With that battle, the morning routine took a nose dive.
I have been starting to get back to my normal of letting that be one of my morning tasks. You may ask why? Why does it matter? Why is it a big deal? You’re just going to unmake it again. And beyond that, no one is going to see it anyway, right?
Yes, those are great excuses, but excuses are always easy. I would say that it’s a simple, quick task that makes your room look and feel more put together instantly. But I have a few more thoughts on that, five more thoughts to be exact.
It Starts Your Day with Accomplishment
Some days are tough and some days are easy. The tough days, when you really feel down, you need that accomplishment. In efforts to put the right foot forward, start your day with a task and a task done right. In a 2014 commencement speech, Admiral William H. McRaven addressed the audience at the University of Texas Austin and said:
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.
By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”
Just gives you something to think about. How the intentionality of each morning has a lasting effect on your entire day.
It Increases Your Productivity
Because you have established the start of your day with getting something done, you have started your day off right. When you walk out the door knowing you left the house in shambles, clothes on the floor and the bedroom a disaster, you already feel down and like you have failed your day. Taking three minutes to do a quick make of the bed, tossing any clothes into a hamper (even to put away later), you leave the house knowing you have done something productive and coming home won’t be an overwhelming task of ‘to do’s.’ Your day is already productive and it’s just begun!
Leads to More Good Habits
“Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget,” wrote Charles Duhigg in his book, The Power of Habit. “It’s not that a family meal or a tidy bed causes better grades or less frivolous spending. But somehow those initial shifts start chain reactions that help other good habits take hold.” This task is simply a step in the foundation.
It Lowers Your Stress Levels & Improves Your Mood
Think about how much time you spend in your room each day. It’s a descent chunk. Some studies say you spend a third of your life in that room. If you think about the spaces you feel most calm in and the characteristics of that space that comes to mind, some of those elements are most likely less clutter, tidy, pleasant smells and well kept. If you apply that to your home and where you spend your time, my kitchen, living room and bedroom should be the spaces I focus my cleaning habits and tidying habits. As the bed is the largest and most visual piece of a bedroom, a quick making of the bed can create a subtle vibe of that tranquility. It then can reflect the feelings of caring for yourself and your home to lift that emotional burden.
Even Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, found that the simple resolution of making your bed each morning was the most cited difference in their happiness. It was the fact of the visual difference and the satisfaction of sticking to a resolution that were the key two factors.
It Reminds You That Little Things Matter
Referring back to Admiral William H. McRaven in his Commencement speech, he tells us that if you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. The little things throughout our day provide the encouragement to face the next task and the confidence that we can tackle the big things that come our way. In the end, the little things are the biggest things.
So maybe set the resolution or goal for your morning to spend a couple of simple moments for you and your sanity and make your bed. I’ll be right there with you! The little time it takes to complete won’t be missed but your spirits will already be higher with the completion of such a simple task. Do it for yourself.