The Case for Making Your Bed
I can't start my day until I make my bed.
Well, that's not entirely true. I can't start my WORK day until I've made my bed (because coffee always comes first, but that's another blog post entirely). If I start my work without first making my bed, I feel scattered and unfocused for the rest of the day. The simple act of straightening my sheets, blanket, and pillows is an act of creating order out of chaos, and it is the first of many such acts throughout my day. Doing one productive thing, however small, makes it easier to tackle the next thing.
In a commencement address he gave at the University of Texas at Austin, Navy Admiral McRaven, author of the book Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life...and Maybe the World said of bed-making, “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 my bed is also the first habit in a series of stacked habits I have crafted to start my mornings; it is the habit that triggers all of the others to happen. If you aren't familiar, habit stacking is a concept from James Clear's Atomic Habits (https://jamesclear.com/atomic-habits), in which you attach a habit you want to learn to a habit you have already established. For example, I always enjoy my second cup of necessary coffee goodness at my desk. That is a habit I already have, and it is easy for me to do, so I attached the habit of making my bed (a new habit I wanted to form) to my coffee habit (one that takes no effort from me to make it happen), and now I have the start of a habit stack.
From there, I have stacked a third habit of going through my calendar for the day, followed by my to-do list. At this point, I am caffeinated, I feel organized because my bed is made, and I can move through my to-do list with clarity.
Additionally, any time I walk past my room throughout the day, I see a neatly made bed, which is strangely satisfying (you fellow bed makers probably know what I'm talking about).
So, if you don't make your bed in the morning, I encourage you to try it for just a week. Attach it to a habit you already have (I brush my teeth every morning, so I will make my bed before I do that) to make it easier to accomplish. It is truly amazing what a small commitment to yourself and your morning routine can accomplish.
If you are already a bed-maker, what other small habits can you stack onto this one to craft an even more satisfying morning routine?
There are quite a few studies that say you should not make your bed right away in the morning because it is better to let your sheets air out first (https://retrohousewifegoesgreen.com/why-you-shouldnt-make-the-bed-in-the-morning/). I always wait until after breakfast and my first cup of morning coffee to make mine, just in case. Coffee always comes first!