With two high school students, a seventh-grader and a couple of adult children, home gets crazy. The 7 a.m. rush hour grows nutty as several people in the kitchen jostle for counter space and burners on the stove to pour milk over cereal, cook eggs and fix lunch before dashing out the door.
The frenetic activity continues for about a half hour and then I drive our high school students, both of them girls from China who are studying in the U.S., down the street and onto the freeway.
I grip the steering wheel and my mind begins reeling off my to-do list for the day. While the mental list grows, so does my energy.
There’s always lots to get done.
After I crawl through the school’s drop-off line, I get more antsy on the drive back home. My mind is flooded with contacting potential clients to write their blog posts, ghostwrite their books and work on my next novel or short story.
My mind buzzes and when I pull in the driveway, I’m reading to zip in the front door, through the bedroom and into the adjoining home office where I settle in behind the laptop and start typing like crazy.
So many mornings, I’m in such a rush that I leave the bed undone in a heap of fabric or my wife, a nurse practitioner, will stop and straighten out the sheets, covers and pillows.
I’ve made a discovery — stopping to make the bed frames my attitude.
Reason #1: A Neat Bed Separates Personal Chaos and Professional Focus
Simply stopping to toss off the pillows, pull the sheets tight over the mattress, smooth out the bedspread and put the pillows back signals to my mind that the chaotic buzz is finished until the afternoon rush. Now is the time to adjust from my personal life into a professional mindset of marketing for clients, writing up the next client project and working on my fiction.
The night is over the day is at hand.
I can breathe and switch from being a hurried and rushed father figure into my work as a brand journalist and author.
Reason #2: Making a Bed Gives Me Control
Scan the Internet and it only takes milliseconds to see how life spirals out of our control. For a work-at-home professional, this perspective is a creativity killer. We get sucked into the latest rants and news that goes way beyond our grasp.
Making a bed is a simple achievement that I can control and bring order to an otherwise chaotic lifestyle. It’s one thing that I accomplish no matter what the rest of my day has in store.
The physical movement involved releases some of that pent-up energy that builds in me like steam ready to burst through the earth’s crust.
Reason #3: A Made Bed Looks Appealing
I get up and walk to and from the kitchen a lot — to get water and think for a moment on my next paragraph or assignment and to tell the dogs to stop barking when a deliveryman slides a package on the porch.
The bedroom is the thoroughfare from my desk to the rest of the house. My attitude is more positive if the room looks in order and clutter is kept to a minimum. The bed then looks appealing and restful.
Reason #4: A Neat Bed is a Mood Lifter
Working from home as one’s own boss comes with its own unique set of challenges. You send yet another email asking clients to pay, your stats on a blog post come in lower than you had projected and my dogs always let loose with barking at the mail carrier and every delivery person who pulls into the neighborhood.
It’s easy to get down and wonder how you can work through challenges. But a bed that’s made well is one of the little things that creates a pleasant background and can lift a mood.
Colorful pillows or handmade throw blankets perched on top can offer something comforting and warm and become a brief mental escape.
Making a bed is easy to do and it only takes a few minutes. Skipping this little step doesn’t save me time and makes me feel like something is off-center with the day.
If you work from home, make your bed each morning. Create that space between your personal life and your professional endeavors. The process will relax you and help you settle behind the desk.