There is no simple path to success. No quick solution, no sure-fire method, there just isn’t. True success takes hard work, smarts, and timing but there is one activity that can nudge you along that path. It might surprise you.
Make your bed.
Now, coming from me, a “non-bed-maker” you may roll your eyes. But I have seen the light, I am changed forever, and here is how it happened.
My husband IS a bed maker. (Thank you, Paula Denniston) As long as I have known him, he gets up in the morning and makes the bed before he leaves for work.
He has even made his side with me still in mine.
Recently (yes, after fifteen years of marriage) I realized how important it is to him. So, I started doing it. If I am the last one up, I pull those covers up and tuck those sheets. I place the pillows just right and guess what, I feel different for doing it.
I started to look into it. Dang, there is a wealth of information informing us that by the simple act of making a bed we will be a more successful people.
How exactly does bed-making you more successful? Read on, fair sheet smoother.
Seven Ways Making Your Bed Makes You More Successful.
- CULTIVATES MENTAL DISCIPLINE – The fact that we don’t want to do it (insert whine) is the perfect reason TO do it. It is a simple and meaningful task that can remind us that we can do things that are good for us even if we don’t feel like it. Overcoming a mental challenge in the morning sets us in good stead to tackle the other challenges of the day.
- IT IS A MINDFULNESS EXERCISE – Mindfulness is about focusing on the present task at hand. Most of us spend so much time in our heads, spinning about the next thing we have on our list, this act of bed-making provides an opportunity to slow things down. We can get back inside our bodies and take a big breath before we launch into our day. Making your bed is a perfect act of mindfulness, and it ends with perfect completion.
- IT CAN IMPROVE YOUR SLEEP – I love walking into a hotel room with a perfectly made bed. Crisp, clean sheets that almost crackle when you pull them back. It makes me sleep better! And it is not just me; several studies reveal that decluttering, including a messy bed, can improve sleep. (Successful people need sleep, by the way.)
- LOWERS STRESS – How can making a bed lower stress? Accomplishing something first thing in the day, and a made bed equals a cleaner bedroom, are just two reasons the practice of making the bed can lead to a reduced stress level. When we are working hard to achieve our goals and dreams additional stress (clutter and mess) is not something with which we need to contend!
- DEVELOP GOOD HABITS – Small, seemingly unimportant practices, practiced daily, can lead to an ability to create habits with the bigger and more influential things in our life. (mic drop)
- CREATES AN OASIS – Successful people need a place to retreat. A bedroom is considered the most physical representation of one’s innermost cave. If that intimate place is a mess, it can be unsettling to the psyche. Having confidence that there is always one peaceful place you can retreat can bring everything down a notch. A bed is the central focus of most bedrooms. If it is unmade it makes the whole space seem hectic and disruptive to the workings of the mind.
- IT STARTS YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT – In his 2014 commencement speech to the students at the University of Texas at Austin, Admiral William McRaven shared his recommendations on success. His first point, yes his very first point, was “Make your bed.” He said it much better than I ever could so here it is.
“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. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” – Adm. W. McRaven
My husband is an early riser, which means now that I have committed I am the one making the bed. Have I missed a few, yes, but I always feel more focused and aligned for the day when I follow through.
A simple morning task that sets you up right for the day.
Maybe success is that easy.
More on sleep: “GO TO SLEEP! Seven Techniques For The Anxious Mind.”
This week here is my challenge. Commit to a 30-day bed making challenge and see what happens! Might you perhaps finally land that big deal, write that book, or have that elusive breakthrough? I think you might.
Jolie Kerr is a cleaning expert and advice columnist, and her article on bed making was my favorite. She even started a hashtag #LAMOB (Let’s all make our beds). Make sure to use that on Instagram of Facebook if you take on the challenge! Here is a link to her article “The Many, Many Reasons You Should Be Making Your Bed Everyday.” Published in Esquire magazine.
Also if you are one of those that believed the BALONEY BBC article about an unmade bed being better for you because of the whole bed bug deal read her rebuttal. I love British humor.
More on sleep: “Here Is Why You Are Sleeping Like Crap.”
Here are a few resources that include Bed-making as a life hack toward more success!