For my first post of the blog, I thought it will be fitting to tell you the story of what inspired my journey of micro self development. The first thing you need to know about me is that I’m a Youtube addict. Youtube has always been my drug of choice. It is a buffet for procrastinators, every time you tell yourself; “this is the last one!” then you see something mildly interesting then you immediately give in; “just one more clip”. I am Alice and Youtube is the Wonder Land. I have fallen into countless rabbit holes and 99% of the time it’s cat videos, but sometimes, you find a gem.
In the suggestion feed, there was man in the thumbnail dressed in a white military uniform. It was titled: If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed – William McRaven, US Navy Admiral. Now I encourage you to watch this video, as it touches multiple topics that had been valuable for me, but lets focus his main case: “start of your day by making your bed”. He claims that by making your bed every morning, you have accomplished a task. And by doing so, you will be able to accomplish other tasks as it has a domino effect. Initially the make-your-bed part wasn’t particularly life changing, but I was mesmerised by McRaven and drunk from motivation. So I made my bed purely because McRaven told me to do so.
And that was it.
Honestly I did not know what I was hoping to feel. But the clouds did not open up or my consciousness did not reach enlightenment. It felt like nothing has changed. I was still me. Once the high had worn off, I went about my normal unproductive day and fell asleep. I woke up next morning as usual and went straight into the shower. Once I got out of the shower, I saw my bed, unmade. It was a weird feeling because I noticed that the bed was “unmade”. I never made my bed before and that “unmade” state was normal. Now it was …. not normal. So I made my bed for the second time. And the third time. And I continued to make my bed. McRaven talks about how making your bed is a visual representation of completing a task. Every time you come back home you see that you have accomplished something and that drives a positive reinforcement. And I believe it did jump start my productivity. After making the bed became my habit I moved on to laundry, then to cleaning the floor every 2 days and so on. It cascaded into series of habits that became essential tools for my productivity.
Im sure most of you guys have messy rooms, and you don’t give a shit if you room is clean or not. But when you are welcomed to a clean room after a long day there is something incredibly satisfying and rewarding. Even more so as you know that it was you that made the bed, did the laundry and cleaned the floors.
As procrastinators (PCTs) we try so hard to better ourselves, but we fail because we try to prove ourselves by aiming big. To write 5000 words on our essay, to go to the gym everyday for 1 month, learn how to code a website in 1 week. These goals if you achieve them will give you great sense of pride. But like mountain climbing, if you never climbed a mountain before and you see mount Everest in front of you, your not leaving base camp where theres warm food and a comfy bed. As any endeavour we have to progressive build our strength, endurance and technique to take on these big climbs. And unfortunately for us PCTs, we lack all of it. So let start from treadmills out from other people’s sight. Making your bed is your first 10 minutes on the treadmill.
So go make your bed now.