Make Your Bed, Change THE WORLD!? – Love Your Work, Episode 55

December 06 2016 – 07:20am

Should you make your bed? There’s this sort of productivity meme going around that you should make your bed. But, isn’t making your bed kind of a waste?

And isn’t making your bed especially wasteful if you’re busy?

Here on Love Your Work, I’ve spent the past year interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs and creators. People like James Altucher, Jason Fried, Ryan Holiday, Laura Roeder, billionaire Steve Case, and many more.

I wanted to get to the bottom of this meme. Today, on a very special episode of Love Your Work, we ask: do you really need to make your bed to be successful?

Listen to the “Should you make your bed” podcast episode

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Should you make your bed to become successful?

I’ve never enjoyed making my bed. It was the bane of my existence as a child (even though my mother denies every forcing me to make my bed).

Once I became an adult, I was finally free to choose not to make my bed.

That is, until making your bed became a recipe for success.

I think it all started when Admiral William McRaven spoke to a graduating class telling them to make their beds.

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed, he said.”

The Admiral’s speech has been viewed more than 5 million times.

So, one year ago, when I started my podcast, Love Your Work, I wanted to get to the bottom of this. It’s hard to know whether making your bed will really make you successful, but I could at least find out: do successful people really make their beds?

Why you shouldn’t make your bed

To my delight, some of the people who I interviewed were on board with the 12-year-old version of me.

Saya Hillman called it a “waste of time.”

Tucker Max was almost angry I even asked. “That’s nonsense. I’m not in the military!”

Laura Roeder simply stated that she “[does] not understand the making of beds.”

Who is indifferent about making their beds?

Some people just don’t think about making their beds at all. You’d think that a billionaire, such as AOL co-founder Steve Case, would have rock-solid discipline and healthy habits. But all he had to say on that matter was “sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t.”

Ryan Holiday, a modern proponent of Stoic Philosophy, and author of books such as Ego is the Enemy, was the most indifferent of all. “I usually just get up and leave,” he said.

Why should you make your bed?

James Altucher makes his bed, but it’s not a habit for the sake of success. He said he does it because he lives in AirBNBs. If it’s not his place, he “[feels] like it’s just the thing to do.”

Nick Gray of Museum Hack was downright enthusiastic about making his bed. He loves that you can feel like you accomplished something first thing in the morning, yet “it’s so fast. It’s so easy.”

Noah Kagan was the most disciplined about making his bed. “Every day,” he said, without hesitation. He even makes his bed in hotel rooms.

How do you maximize the benefits of bed-making?

Supposedly, making your bed will “start off the day with a win” (as Noah Kagan says).

But some research suggests that willpower is a bit like a battery. So, if you use up all of your willpower in making your bed first thing in the morning, will that leave you with weakened reserves for the rest of the day?

I asked behavioral economist and author of Predictably Irrational, (and my former colleague in reinventing Google Calendar), Dan Ariely.

According to Ariely, if you make a habit out of making your bed, it won’t take up willpower, and you’ll get the benefits. If you just occasionally make your bed – if it’s something you contemplate each morning – then you’re wasting your mental energy.

Listen to the episode to learn more

How do you get the benefits of making your bed, without all of the work? What does contrarian, and author of Rework, Jason Fried think of all of this bed-making nonsense? Find out this, and why it turns out my mom didn’t force me to make my bed in this special episode of Love Your Work.

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The “Should You Make Your Bed?” Infographic

Should you make your bed? Infographic

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Music Credits

Danger Storm Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Odyssey Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Go Cart – Loop Mix Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

What Is Love Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Sneaky Snitch Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

The Complex Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Ranz des Vaches Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Inspired Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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