I made my bed today. I make it every day, even when I am traveling and in a hotel room. I have probably shocked more than one hotel maid as he or she came into the room to find the bed made and the room in order. As a performance coach I often see situations where the skills learned from having a bed-making habit would go a long way to helping people generate success in their work and personal lives.
Here’s the way I look at it: If you won’t invest the 45 seconds or so that it takes to perform an act with so many obvious benefits, I wonder what else it is that you are NOT doing! When I deliver my keynote on 10 Lessons that Lead to Remarkable Performance I always include the Make Your Bed lesson as one of the ten. There are at least 5 skills that the simple act of making your bed can establish in your life.
5 Leader Skills from Making Your Bed
Discipline – it has been said that successful people do the things that unsuccessful people don’t want to do. People who make their bed everyday develop a discipline about performing the tough or uncomfortable things of life whether they feel like it or not.
Diligence – a person who is diligent is attentive to details and persistent in doing the things that need to be done. A person that makes their bed every day doesn’t necessarily like making the bed, I know I don’t, but it needs to be done and it might as well be me who does it.
Intentionality – a bed does not get made by accident and neither do most of the important activities that lead to your success. Being intentional means deciding what the small, sometimes mundane daily disciplines are that need to be accomplished to lead you to remarkable outcomes, and then DO THEM.
Organization – having an unmade bed adds to the clutter and confusion of my life. By making the choice to make my bed each day I establish an ordered environment that promotes clear and unencumbered thinking. There have been studies that confirm that being organized and focused leads to more optimism and greater engagement in the workplace.
Servant Leadership – A person who makes their bed each day is a person who embraces the thought that “it is no one else’s job to clean up after me”. They do not dismiss bed-making as a menial task that someone else should do. Making the bed is an opportunity to serve and show others (usually those closest to you, BTW) that you hold them in high regard.
The Make Your Bed topic always generates a smile among the audiences I present it to, but in all seriousness, it really does teach some of the major skills of high performance leaders
Note to my mom: I know that you may find this funny, perhaps even hilarious, that I would write on this topic. After I moved out, I finally learned what you had been teaching for all those many years that I lived under your roof. Thank you for being a great example!