The First Thing You Should Do Every Day

May of each year I look forward to listening to a few of the commencement speeches given to college graduates around the country. Usually there are two or three excellent speeches that contain timeless advice. My favorite this year was the University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address given by Admiral William H. McRaven. I would highly encourage you to view it here.

One of the points that Admiral McRaven makes is that you should start each day by making your bed, a practice regularly found in the military. He notes two important reasons why you should do this:

  1. To start the day off with an accomplished task which will compound into "another and another" productive task.
  2. To have a nice bed to come home to if you happened to have a miserable day, signify the opportunity for a new start tomorrow.

He says "The little things matter... If you can't do the little things right, you will never be able to do the big things right." I think it is important to start the day off with a productive task. Rather than dragging yourself in front of the TV and watching SportsCenter on repeat for two hours, by beginning each day accomplishing the simple yet significant task of making your bed, you are setting yourself up for a productive day.

Admittedly, I never use to make my bed. After watching this commencement address about a month ago, I have made my bed first thing every morning with positive results. Like Admiral McRaven points out, one would be surprised how meaningful a positive task can be to start one's day. Additionally, it always is better going to bed at night in a bed that is made compared to one that is messy.

I would highly encourage everyone to watch the entirety of Admiral McRaven's 2014 University of Texas at Austin 2014 Commencement Address and begin each day by making your bed.