If You Want to Win, Make Your Bed

Following up to my previous post where I told a student of mine to cancel their TV subscription, I want to talk about making your bed.

My grandma taught me to make my bed as a boy, she taught me to completely undo the bed, leaving only the box sheet in place. The one with the elastic. Then smack the bed with the pillow or the flat sheet a few times to clear any crumbs or dust or whatever might have fallen into it.

After that, I was to put the flat sheet back on, tuck the footer part under the mattress, fold and tuck the corners, then stretch it to the top, fold it down just enough so the pillows sit on the box sheet, then finish tucking the sides.

If it was winter, we would use a blanket as well. Then we'd top it off with the bed cover or duvet, finishing up with the same motions as the sheet without tucking in the bottom or sides, resting the pillows just a few inches over that top fold and then covering the pillows with the remainder bed cover.

She said this is how they do it in hotels and hospitals, "it's the right way." I never questioned that part, but it doesn't have any bearing on this story anyway, although I can confirm that the best hotels do this.

Another thing I didn't understand until well into my 20s was why do I have to make my bed? I'm going to undo it all again tonight. It seemed like a waste of time.

In my mind, it would be easy to just toss the sheets up haphazardly and cover it all with the bed covering; that takes 20 seconds. making the bed properly might take 2 minutes.

As a young boy and even a teenager, I had things to do, places to be, people to see, 2 minutes seemed like an eternity.

Eventually, I came around to the idea that making your bed was "just a good habit."

By the way, YOU should make your bed every morning.

So what bearing does this have on your success? How will this help you? Why should you make your bed?

You know I'm right about the part where I say that sooner than later, you'll be back in bed to undo it. You may even live by that idea right now. Like me, you may think it is a waste of time to make your bed every morning.

But here is the thing. Just like I told my student from the previous blog post, that her canceling of the TV cable subscription wasn't going to help with her unrelenting debt, making your bed isn't going to magically bring you more business.

That is, unless of course your business is conducted in bed which is a topic that doesn't really fit in this site, but I digress.

The real reason to make your bed every morning is small wins, low hanging fruit. Making your bed every morning helps with discipline, helps you start a routine, and gives you a small win. A small sense of accomplishment, it builds momentum to take on bigger and more crucial tasks.

What's next? Make that dreaded phone call, write your daily email for your readers, publish something on your blog. More wins.It's like starting your day off on the right foot.

If you start off your day without making your bed, you're starting off with a sloppy day, maybe even lazy and it can easily permeate to other parts of your day.

Another benefit is that even if you have a crappy day, at the end of the day, you'll have a nice bed to come back to.

If you think I'm crazy, watch this video which inspired this blog post. It's a video of Admiral William H. McRaven giving a commencement speech.

If you want to watch the full speech, it's here:


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7 Comments

  1. You know, I think you’re on to something here. I used to make my bed daily, but now I just do it every once in a while. On the days I actually make my bed, it feels good to walk in my room (which I do often since the bathroom is in there) and see how nice my bed looks.

    I’m going to make it my goal to start making my bed again.

  2. I love that commencement speech. I have watched it so many times. I make my bed every day and you’re right, it makes me feel like I accomplished one thing to start. I like being a creature of habit with the little wins, as it makes it easier for me to stick to my to-do list.

    • Yes, I had never seen it until recently. I saw the excerpt from Goalcast and then I looked up the whole speech. It’s all great. But obviously, the bed part caught my attention. It’s an easy thing to do and I think everyone would benefit from it.

  3. I love this so much! I love how our grandparents’ wisdom is being proven by science these days. That commencement speech is so inspiring, and above all, true. One of my mentors, Brian Tracy, wrote the book “Eat That Frog,” which talks about completing the hardest, most seemingly challenging task first thing in the day. His philosophy is that if we “eat the frog” everything else will seem easy. I think for some people, the “making the bed” or doing what’s easy first, works best. We must do what works for us to feel accomplished. Thank you for the reminder!

    • Thanks for stopping by Elayna! And look at what I found on my shelf when I read your comment:

      It’s a great book, and definitely tackling those things first makes the rest come more naturally!

  4. Que discurso tan inspirador, muchas gracias por compartir.
    (En casa jeje lo primero que hacemos es tender la cama, así que bueno es sentir que a temprana hora ya estamos haciendo responsables a los más pequeños para enfrenter el resto de los retos del día)

    Saludos

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