Believe it or not, if you make your bed in the morning, it will make your day. You’ll be happier, clearer and more productive. There’s research showing it’s true.
I have been on a search for family tips from the moment I had children. Almost 30 years ago, becoming a mother made me realize that efficiency can help me a lot in managing work and home, and that being efficient gave me more time with my kids.
As parents, we need to choose how to balance our time across many important things. Slowly, we tend to let go of some things we care about for other things we find more important.
In my leadership training, I emphasize that life is not hard when we need to choose between things that are very important and things that are less important. That’s an easy choice! It is much harder to choose between things that are equally important to us. When children appear, we have to do that a lot, and that’s not easy.
I know many people (including me) whose house was clean and tidy until they had kids. I remember the dilemma between wanting my daughter to play on the floor with her toys and having the floor clean from toys.
So, I had to choose between going to sleep with a messy floor and staying awake to pick up the toys for her to use again the as soon as we got up in the morning. It was a constant battle. It never ended.
Even today, I battle between doing things I want, things I need and other things I want and need. There are not enough hours in a day, days in a week and weeks in a year to allow me to do all the things I want. It’s tough, but that’s life!
In this game of “choose your battles”, there are some simple things we can do that will make our life much easier. I learned about them from one of my clients.
Who need to make the bed?
Sandra came to coaching with a lot of resentment towards her husband. In their life together (24 years), he never did anything to make their bed. During the week, he got up before her in the morning, so she had to make the bed. On weekends, no matter when he woke up, he always left the bed messy.
She absolutely hated it!
When I asked her why she wanted the bed tidy, she said that in the days that the bed was made, she could think more clearly. This made me wonder what I thought about it.
In the next few weeks, I examined my own thoughts and feelings and realized that there was some truth to what Sandra had said. When my bed was tidy, I felt better getting into my bedroom in the evening.
When I researched what effect of making the bed has on people, I discovered a 68,000-person study on bed making. Turns out that roughly 59% of the participants didn’t make their bed, while about 27% did and 12% paid someone else to do it for them.
In terms of happiness, 71% of the people who made their bed considered themselves happy and 62% of those who didn’t admitted they were not happy.
The study concluded that, on average, people who make their bed love their jobs more, are more likely to own a home, exercise more, and feel better and more rested. On the other hand, those who don’t make their bed hate their job, rent, avoid the gym and wake up tired.
I could understand Sandra so well!
To me, making the bed was like dressing up in the morning in front of the mirror. You take the image of how you looked in the mirror with you and use it to feel good (or bad) throughout the day.
In simple terms, if you want to be happy, make your bed in the morning. In this busy lifestyle that we all have, this simple strategy, which takes only 20 seconds, can bring you lots of happiness.
Is making the bed worth it?
When I worked with Sandra, I realized that her resentment came from the fact her husband did not help her and, although they both worked long hours, assumed it was her job to make the bed. I asked Sandra how long she thought it took her to make the bed every morning. She said, “20 seconds”.
So, we changed the conversation to how much time, energy and money she dedicated to making herself happy. In the scheme of things, 20 seconds was nothing. Every morning, she spent 20 minutes on her hair, which was the equivalent of two months of making her bed.
When I did this calculation, she looked at me surprised and said she’d never thought about it that way.
Sandra stopped being angry at her husband for not making the bed. Instead, she decided to believe she was making herself happier and allowing herself to think more clearly.
The focus of our work then changed from “who makes the bed” to communicating with her husband about his part in helping around the house.
You see, Sandra really did think clearly when she made her bed, because leaving your bedroom looking tidy can start your day better. So, if you are busy, raising kids and your time is tight, making your bed is the fastest, cheapest and easiest “quick win”. And it will make you happier.
If you want to take it even further, teach your children to make their own beds. Even 4-year-olds can fold their night clothes and straighten their blankets to make their bed look organized. Make it a habit and it will bring them happiness!
This post is part of the series Handy Family Tips:
- Make Your Bed to Make Your Day
- Handy Family Tips: Dishwasher
- Handy Family Tips: Pre-Marinating
- Handy Family Tips: Kitchen Scissors
- Handy Family Tips: First use date
- Handy Family Tips: Kids’ Artwork
- Handy Family Tips: Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Smelly bins
- Handy Family Tips: Treasure box
- Handy Family Tips: Glass jars
- Handy Family Tips: On time is late
- Handy Family Tip: Early is on time
- Handy Family Tips: Electric toothbrush
- Handy Family Tips: Make a Note
- Handy Family Tips: Laundry day
- Handy Family Tips: How to Peel Avocado
- Handy Family Tips: Bathroom Art
- Handy Family Tips: Easy Healthy Spread
- Handy Family Tips: Wake Up With a Smile
- Handy Family Tips: Color Coded Keys
- Handy Family Tips: Road Trip Games
- Handy Family Tips: How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables
- Handy Family Tips: What to Do When There is No Shaving Cream?
- How to Control Your Kids’ Mobile Phone Use at Night