By Chris Beasley, Opinion Writer
You should make your bed every morning. Doing this simple task first thing in the morning is more than just doing what your mother told you when you were little. Making your bed reinforces productive habits that guide you to complete bigger tasks throughout the day and even throughout life. It is that one small victory you can claim at the start of each day that can propel you into larger victories later on. The bed does not have to be completely remade upon awakening, simply readjusting the pillows and neatly laying out the sheets enough to be presentable is an effective means to place a positive influence on your routine.
“But it’s just going to get unmade again tonight,” you say as an excuse. Making your bed instills in you the drive to accomplish your tasks without excuses. Remaking your bed is a constant reminder to continuously maintain a standard for how you conduct yourself in day to day activities. Excuses are nothing more than wasted energy that can be put forth to greater use and that starts with putting forth energy to complete the small tasks without complaint. What is learned is to abandon the notion of giving an excuse for the things you don’t want to do or for the things that become difficult as they progress and instead doing them because you have the power to do so.
You become encouraged to keep your room tidy as well. The perfection of one small thing leads into the perfection of other small things as in a chain reaction. When you start to keep more than just your bed and every corner of your room in order, that orderliness translates into productive competence in work, greater quality of relationships with other people, and an appreciation for the things we take for granted every single day. The environment of your bedroom then becomes a reflection of your mood and well-being. An organized room therefore leads to lower stress levels because the satisfaction gained by knowing the little things have been maintained relaxes your peripheral anxieties. You can now focus on the bigger picture.
This may sound crazy but wake up early. Really early. As in 5 o’clock early even if you only need 20 minutes to be out the door ready for an 8 am class. Apart from having more time to make your bed, you’ve gained another small victory against the day itself, you were up even before the sun. There is an aurora to the dawn. It is a time to meditate, to focus, and to become aware of everything around you so you can take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves during the day. It is a time to mentally prepare yourself to achieve victory in everything you do.
There are many lessons that can be learned by making your bed and they all boil down to the understanding that the little things matter. Taking responsibility for the little things gives preparatory training for handling responsibility of the big things in life. Making your bed every day is preparation to do everything right the first time at the first instance they present themselves to you. Keeping up with the little things is counter-intuitively keeping up with the big things.
And if at the end of a long, tumultuous day you find yourself to have had a bad one, you can come home and crawl into a nice and neatly made bed, a bed that you made with pride. Plus, you’ll make your mama proud that you listened to her advice.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 10th print edition.
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