There’s a reason why hospitals and the military are known for perfect beds. In hospitals, it’s to ensure a clean environment and to reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers for bed-ridden patients. For the military, it has to do with instilling a sense of order and a regimented routine. However, the significance of bed-making extends beyond hospital and military systems to our own daily lives.
According to the Head of the U.S. Special Operations Command, “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.”
Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit, states that making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity and even with stronger skills at sticking to a budget. It has also been suggested that bed-making boosts happiness. According to Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, bed-making “was the number one most impactful change” people brought up in interviews for her book, which investigates the link between habits and happiness. Feel-good tasks such as exercising, cooking your own food, and bed-making are called “keystone habits” — habits that, if identified, can create a domino effect with other “good” habits. Duhigg states that these keystone habits “help other habits to flourish by creating new structures, and they establish cultures where change becomes contagious.” In other words, bed-making can go much further than just tidying a room!
The routine of these habits creates a series of small victories so you always have something to be proud of and to look forward to. Furthermore, they are the building blocks for other habits and create productive momentum. These habits not only provide the energy and motivation to complete a routine — they also move you to be better and to do more in the long run.
It’s even possible to apply these principles on a larger, national scale. According to Robert Sun, president and CEO of Suntex International, Inc., keystone habits can help the American education system. He hopes that creating an environment that focuses on these small, momentum-building, feel-good tasks in American schools will help ignite a natural passion and desire in children to continue to learn.
Mathematics is a prime example of this concept because it is a “building block subject” — every concept is reliant on the prior one. Without understanding and learning one lesson, it is impossible to take the next step forward. Math is often considered a confidence builder because of this building-block nature of learning. Thee hope is that once a child masters some level of math, they will want to succeed in other fields as well. When a child succeeds in this, they will be more able to tell themselves that they can “make it.” At Stokes Academy in Cleveland, healthy competition was introduced as a norm by dividing classrooms into teams. Doing math problems in teams as a daily competition became a great motivator. Each time a team completed a math problem correctly they would get positive reinforcement, which made them want to succeed in the next exercises as well. This exercise is similar to the bed-making example in that one small success gets the ball rolling on a series of other habits.
So are you ready to start your day right? Taking a few minutes to pull up the sheets on your bed can get you off on the right foot and may even help you be more productive in the long run!