Making Your Bed is Stupid
Yes, I said it...
Listen, I am all for making your home a comfortable and calm place to be and if making your bed helps you feel that way, then by all means, make it, but to tout making your bed as the key to a productive, happy and successful life is completely asinine.
Hear me out…
It has been quite popular for many people, from social media influencers (ew!) to legitimate psychologists and coaches to espouse making your bed first thing in the morning. This recommendation is made under the guise that it starts your day with a simple and repeatable task that begins your day with a “win” and sets the tone for the work to come. Essentially, this establishes making your bed as your anchor to a routine to be developed and expanded upon from there. It is “step 1.”
On the surface, I have no problem with this logic and in fact, it sets the tone for something that I have spoken on extensively - the strategy of habit stacking. Building small, non-negotiable practices together in a routine and structured way. This is a key practice within the realm of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is the gold standard in the treatment of anxiety and depression. It is also the hallmark within any Progressive Goal Attainment Program (PGAP).
My issue with “making your bed” is not the rationale behind it, but more so in the act itself. Making your bed does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING for you as a human being. Perhaps I am being a tad too utilitarian, but if I’m going to engage in a physical or cognitive practice that takes time out of my day, I want to get something out of it. This is why I am completely against making my bed… much to the disdain of my beautiful and loving wife, who values a well manicured set of sheets. Personally, I see no value.
Instead, I opt to start my day with a habit that improves the quality of my life and that anchors me to a day with a calm mind and a thoughtful outlook. My daily anchor is reading 10-pages of my book. So, instead of making my bed, I read my book. From there, my habits stack towards the end of calmness and thoughtfulness.
Here is my *current morning routine:
- 5:00 am: wake up
- 5:05 am: make coffee and take my morning supplements
- 5:10 am - 5:30 am: read a minimum of 10 pages of my book
- 5:30am: Journaling
- 5:45 am: perform 30 minutes of cardio
- 6:15 am: shower and brush my teeth
- 6:30 am: breakfast
- 7 am: workday begins
Now, is this the perfect routine? Maybe not for you, but this routine of daily habits works very well for me to achieve my goal outcome. For you, it might look a little different… heck, not everyone likes waking up at 5 am!
While I may be on a soapbox about making your bed, the key here is to start somewhere. If making your bed is that starting point for you, then so be it, but rest assured that you can do better. You can choose things that actually enhance your life beyond just having neat and tidy sheets to crawl into at night and mess up all over again.
Here are a few alternatives:
- Movement: wake up and go right to the floor for some mobility work or stretching
- Walking: Wake up and head straight outside on a walk
- Meditation: wake up and sit in a chair and breathe
- Brushing your teeth: wake up and go straight to the bathroom
- Journaling: Wake up and sit with a journal (this is second on my personal list because I find my mind needs to wake up before I journal)
Whatever you choose is up to you, but make sure the task hits a few basic points: it has a very low barrier to entry, it can be done without prep work and it improves the quality of your life in some way, shape or form.
So, make your bed if you want, but I bet you that you won’t ever find a correlation between bed making and productivity, income, success, or even happiness. It’s just a meaningless act and a colossal waste of time and energy.
Just my 2 cents…
Paul Oneid MS MS CSCS
Founder and Head Coach, Master Athletic Performance