“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.”
Naval Admiral William McRaven, the commander of U.S. Special Operations.
My mom used to nag at my sister and me when we were growing up to make our beds in the morning and tidy our rooms.
Here's what would happen:
Mom (insert Filipino accent):
"Girls, you're not leaving this house until you make your beds and tidy up your rooms!"
And then, we’d continue having our rooms in utter disarray. Partly because we were being lazy, sometimes just to spite her, and because I said so wasn’t a good enough reason for us.
For me, I didn’t fully understand why it made sense to do it in the first place.
I used to think:
It’s my room I can have it however I want. I’m just going to mess it back up anyway so what’s the point.
Sometimes she’d go in when we were at school and tidy our rooms for us. I can remember my sister and I being so annoyed when we got home and found our transformed rooms.
We’d be like like "OMG Moooom, don’t touch my stuff everrrrr!"
But, when I sat down to do my homework, I was secretly appreciative that she’d done it.
At the time, I couldn’t pinpoint why, but I knew that it was...better.
I only fully understood this when I got a place of my own.
I never would have thought that make your bed and tidy up your stuff would be on the ‘how to be more productive’ and ‘how to make your life better’ lists. Clearly, my mom knew this, but at the time, it made no sense to me.
Like, how is that even a thing?
But it is.
At least it is for me now.
I believe that your outward world is a reflection of your inner world and changes you make to that outer world can impact your inner world and vice versa.
Have you ever looked at someone who was totally disorganized and thought wow they really have their shit together?
Okay, I know there are anomalies and all the power to them, but I’d say for the most part, no.
Clutter, mess, and chaos make it harder to concentrate and focus and in my opinion, equals mental clutter, mess and chaos too.
If you want to get into a productive flow, then you have to make space for flow to...flow.
I used to sit beside this woman at one of my old jobs.
Her desk was full of stuff.
Mountains of paper, garbage, files, boxes of staples, toys, four thousand pens. I can even remember her asking me for a pen one time and I was like are you for real right now?
When she'd sit down at her desk, she'd disappear into the sea of stuff. Sometimes, I didn't even know she was there.
I thought maybe she was one of those people who is magically super organized even though things seem crazy around them (they never cease to amaze me).
As I got to know her more, I realized that wasn't the case.
Her desk was an accurate representation of her life and her work.
She used to tell me that she felt overwhelmed and was drowning in so much work. Except, she didn't have any more work than the rest of us on the team. I couldn't help but think that the weight of all the stuff, clutter, and chaos was what was really drowning her.
There are a ton of articles on productivity and hacks for it. But before any of that, what if you start your day off with one thing.
One simple, seemingly insignificant thing that’s in your control, like starting your day off by making your bed and tidying up your space.
Accomplish one tiny thing and set yourself up to accomplish another tiny thing.
Build momentum with tiny things.
They move you to big things.