Making Your Bed Can Be the Biggest Difference Maker In Your Day

The littlest things can make the biggest impact on how you perform throughout the day.

I’m about to brag about something ridiculous: I brush my teeth every night before bed—and I wash my face. Yeah, you heard me. Even the face. I also make my bed every morning…not a wrinkle in sight.

Awe inspiring, right?

Silly as it sounds, these basic rituals are huge reasons why I’ve succeeded as a solo entrepreneur. It helps that I study my crafts every day and work my butt off, but the basics are what hold my advanced habits in place and help me to consistently do my best in everything I do. I can feel my wallet fatten as I’m trimming my toenails. Figuratively.

It started in 2014.

I read a random autobiography of a comedian too obscure to remember. The least funny and most mundane tip also had the most impact on me:

“Make your bed every day. It helps.”

I had never made my bed consistently, and I remembered a college buddy say that people who did were x number of times likelier to have better grades. Since I was still living with my parents, I decided to give it a go. I made my damn bed.

Then it happened.

The third day in, I felt something strange in my heart region…something warm. I felt it every time I made my bed thereafter; and though I couldn’t figure it out at the time, today I’ve identified that feeling as pride. I started taking pride in making my damn bed. (Is that applause I hear?—no?…Just checking.)

I smoothed out all the crevices and creases. I pulled back the sheets and comforter, stretching them tight, and aligning them just so. I made folds at the corners so the excess bedding didn’t frump over and ruin my masterpiece. And when I finished, I pulled back and allowed my pride to swell. “That’s quality,” I’d think.

And it was. I appreciated doing something the best I could. Didn’t matter if it was the damn bed, because it helped me feel a sense of accomplishment. Even this ex Navy Seal commander will tell you it helps.

You might be thinking, “This is all enormously impressive, but how old were you when you accomplished this feat, little fella? 4? 5?”

I was 25, dear inquisitive reader. 25 to be precise. But better late than never, right?

At 25, my life had dissipated to the point of living with my parents, and squabbling with my little sisters over who would clean the bathroom that weekend. Pride was nonexistent in my world.

I’d been living with my family on and off since I was a zygote, but I could never seem to build up enough steam to make a successful launch. I always came back with my tail tucked and confidence shattered. I wondered what was the matter with me.

But then I weirdly began taking pride in my bed. And that one ridiculous thing started a cascade of confidence boosting activities—like exercising daily, folding my clothes properly, and a list of domestic wonders that would figuratively make your head explode from over-excitation if I listed them all.

If I didn’t start with the simple bed-making routine, I wouldn’t be in the habit of writing every day, or making over a buck a word wowing my clients. Scouts honor.

Taking pride in the little things helped me start routines. And the routines affirmed that when I did something well, and when I did good things for me, I felt good about myself. And when I did those things consistently, I felt a sense of pride that transferred to every other area of my life.

To make a medium length story slightly shorter than medium length, here I am now at 28. I’ve lived on my own the last several years and I’ve managed to make more money in a week than I had in entire years of adulthood. I have writing rituals, study rituals, journaling rituals, social rituals, meditation rituals, exercise rituals, and a million other rituals that boost my confidence and make me richer and give me energy and make me feel proud of myself.

But here’s the strange part…

I take more pride in making my bed now than ever.

I mean, you really should’ve seen this beauty I whipped up yesterday; clean lines, tight pull..everything you want in a bed. (I can’t comment on my bed today, as I’m currently writing in it—another ritual.) I thank myself sincerely for these small seeming activities because it’s damn important: I’m taking care of me. I’m committing to quality in the little things so I can sustain more significant habits. And I hope you do too!

Written by Daniel Dowling
I came from nowhere. High school dropout, college dropout, army reject...no one would've expected me to come as far as I have, writing for the largest publications in the world, coaching Ivy League grads. But I did. And I'll show you how.