How To Make Your Bed At Work

You’ve probably heard axioms along the lines of “success starts with making your bed.” You may have even seen the popular 2014 University of Texas at Austin Commencement address by Naval Admiral William H. McRaven, which has inspired thousands of people to make their beds each morning when they first wake up. But whether or not you make your bed, most people would agree that how you begin something sets the tone for what’s to come. And while you – like me – may not be big on New Year’s resolutions, a new year does give us all a chance to reflect on the routines and habits we have, and an opportunity to try something new.

Stephen Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People proposed the now-widely known 4-quadrant Urgent/Important Matrix. We’re trained to respond to what’s urgent – even if it’s not important, but sometimes that can come at the cost of what is important but not urgent – things like planning, practicing personal discipline, relationship building, improving your capabilities, and recognizing new opportunities. Is making your bed urgent? No. Does practicing personal discipline build a sense of self-worth and even a small sense of accomplishment? It can, and while those things are not urgent, they are certainly important.

Whether or not you make your bed at home, what’s the equivalent at the beginning of your work day? How can you “make your bed” at work to find time at the beginning of each day for something important but not urgent?

This Week’s Tips:

If you’re not already familiar with it, take a few minutes with Covey’s Urgent/Important Matrix. Ask yourself what you could spend the first 10 minutes of your work day doing that would make a difference to your work and your workplace culture? For me, I’m starting each workday with 10 minutes of work on a creative writing project that keeps getting pushed to the wayside. I’m also taking time to build connections with others and check in with friends and colleagues. For you, “making your bed” may look completely different, but focus on these two areas:

  1. The creative projects that are more of a self-expression for you;
  2. Actions you could take to build a workplace of authentic community (personal check-ins, posting open-ended questions on Slack/Discord, research/reading related to life experiences different than your own…).

Try dedicating the first 10 minutes of your workday to these this week, and let us know how it goes in our Facebook group!

Published by Ian Jackson

Ian Jackson is the founder of Building Bridges Leadership, which works with individuals, teams, and organizations to create authentic community in the workplace. He also writes children's fiction and teaches creative writing.

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