Ahh, there’s nothing like the surge of dopamine to jumpstart the day. Before my fuzzy socked feet pad into the kitchen for morning coffee (aka liquid mercy), I already feel alive with a sense of accomplishment. Why? Because I make it a habit to make the bed.
I enjoy the immediate gratification of a task completed while still in my pajamas. There’s plenty of scientific research to back me up. “According to Dr. [Randall] Bell, making your bed each morning puts your mind into a productive mindset and can spark other productive tasks throughout the day.”
What About You?
Do you make your bed? If so, are you a first-thing-in-the-morning bed maker, or does it occur later in the day? Making the bed was a recent point of discussion with my friends.
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” -James Clear, Atomic Habits
My Top 5 Daily Habits:
Our discussion of bed-making led me to think about habits. Am I instilling good habits in my children? Do I force them enough to make their bed, etc? Are habits infused into others like osmosis or is it a learned behavior? I believe tasks can become habits if repeated frequently.
An outstanding book about habits is Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
I believe learning the habit of making the bed every day (and putting away your clothes/items) is one of the key habits to learn in life. Making the bed is the earliest attempt in the day to set the day to order. As James Clear, author of Atomic Habits, says, “It’s like casting a vote for yourself and saying I am an organized person.”
If you need a boost of motivation, watch this speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven at the 2014 Commencement Address for the University of Texas at Austin where he charged the recent graduates these words:
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a sense of price, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
1. Make The Bed
I’ve already discussed this one.
I get by each day with Jesus, coffee, and an afternoon nap. I gained the need for a daily nap when a rare illness hijacked my body in 2015. Prior to that time, I never slowed down. Looking back, I see how that behavior could not sustain me in the long run. Rest is now as much of a daily part of my routine as brushing my teeth.
I am a voracious reader. My current book stack includes:
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by William Davis
Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes
Waiting for Heaven: Freedom from Incurable Addiction to Self by Larry Crabb
At Home in the World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering the Globe by Tsh Oxenreider
Destination Hope: A Travel Companion When Life Falls Apart by Marilyn Nutter and April White
4. Writing /Meditation
I write daily. Most frequently, I start in a journal while reading the Bible and in prayer. This journal has my prayer requests, Bible verses that resonate with me and then morph into more creative writing. This might sound silly to some, but I don’t fully understand my thoughts on a subject until I put pen to paper. My thoughts need time to marinate. Holding a pen in one hand and a cup of coffee in another, I’m able to process my thoughts and emotions on various subjects. Often, these journal scribbles never make it to the computer for public reading. Just because the writing isn’t for public display doesn’t make it less valuable. God does his greatest work in those that He hid. Ask Elijah.
Clutter stresses me out. I hate it, which is why I include a tidy-as-I-go daily routine. This routine works for me at our stage of parenting with teenagers. This was NOT the case when we had littles at home—that’s a whole other situation. Kendra Adachi is a New York Times bestselling author of The Lazy Genius Way: Embrace What Matters, Ditch What Doesn’t, and Get Stuff Done. She also hosts The Lazy Genius Podcast and I listen each week as part of my routine…it’s that good.
Up for Discussion:
Making the bed was a recent point of discussion with my friends. Every Monday morning at 10 am, I have a Zoom meeting with four fellow Hope*Writers. Our dynamic group ranges in age, occupation, and nesting status. Based on each other’s personalities, we guessed who make the bed every day and who did not. (One friend has a sheet-changing day of the week, which blew my mind!)
The more we poked fun at each other online, the more we thought it would be amusing if all five of us wrote an article about making the bed. We wondered how the five of us would vary in our approach to the same subject. Part writing assignment part experiment, we each wrote and shared about it in the early month of February. So, here’s what each has to say on the subject:
· Michelle Rahal: Make Your Bed
· Rev. April H. Cranford: Begin Joyful Living by Making Your Bed
· Jennifer F. Riales: I Am Not My Unmade Bed: Making Peace with a Messy Bed
· Briane Pittman Kearnes: Girl, Make Your Bed…
So, there you have it, five women in various stages in life all writing on the simple task of making the bed. Whatever your opinion on the subject, may we be filled with gratitude for having a warm place to lay our heads. “Let them sing for joy on their beds.” (Psalm 149:5)
What are your thoughts?
Keep the conversation going and please share your thoughts.
© 2022 April Dawn White
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