The right time to write about making your bed, is right after you have made it.
– The Writer
This title is not an original one. There is a beautiful book by US Navy Admiral William H Raven with the same title. It’s among the books that I have gifted the most, especially to children. There is also a video of his speech on YT, which has more than 14 million views.
So, why should we make our bed? It’s a trivial task and we generally might not feel the need to, especially when we have limited time from waking up to the time when we head to school or work. Every minute is precious ; we even skip breakfast at times, and we are being asked to MAKE OUR BED? Seriously?
So, for ones who are not used to making their bed, for various reasons, to debunk the myth, it does not even take a minute. Folding the sheet we cover ourselves with, putting the pillow in place, etc, can be done in less than a minute.
Then, you say, what’s the big deal? someone will eventually do it later in the day, why me?
The answer for that is pretty simple. The task, however trivial it may sound, gives you a sense of accomplishment. It gives u the confidence that however easy it might be, you have knocked off one task from your ‘to do list’ of the day. You have ‘set the ball rolling‘ and can proceed to the next task with confidence and positivity. When you have a miserable day, when things just don’t work out, you are frustrated, and feel that ‘nothing went right today’, you can correct yourself and feel relieved that at least one task in the morning DID go right and maybe you do not need to lose hope and not give up.
And on the days when things really don’t work out and you cannot just wait to be back in your bed, you have a well made bed waiting to welcome you ! The sense of relief that there is something nice to cosy up in, makes it easier for you to wind up the day.
One of the most impactful books on building habits, Atomic Habits by James Clear, emphasises on the importance of doing those small small things with great consistency, which will eventually build into a big habit. Making your bed is one such small task and when we are able to do many such small tasks regularly, we realise that the big tasks get lot more easier to accomplish.
The pessimistic looks at the same task and scoffs at its insignificance, but the optimist looks at it as an opportunity to excel and boost his confidence with the same. These are like those smiles and stars which teachers give students in the subsections of the assignment – many students rightly ascribe a huge importance to these and by the time they reach the end of the paper for the final marks, they are already smiling and contended, regardless of the final score.
At work, there are many tasks equivalent to making your bed, that can give the same ‘aha’ feel: Putting your chair back in place, putting the pen, with the cover back in the pen stand, closing your laptop, closing the notebook and placing it back in the drawer, etc. ; these are things which one will invariably ignore, when we have a project deadline, important meeting, critical call, etc. but if not addressed thus, these can later become major irritants when the mind is clouded with many issues.
In the kitchen also, we have our ‘make your bed’ equivalents, that can make a difference to how well the food gets cooked. The plates are in order, the knife is back in the holder, the platform is clean, the napkin is neatly folded and placed, etc. Nothing is more motivating for preparing a great meal, than a clean kitchen to walk in to.
So as you start another day, make sure you start by making your bed !