A few years ago, retired Navy SEAL Commander, Adm. William McCraven, gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas, Austin that was replayed and republished thousands of times. Maybe you recall it. He talked a lot about making your bed.
“If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.
And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made — and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.
“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.”
Some would argue that this is actually a waste of time. That of course is debatable and not the purpose of this message.
Assuming that making your bed at home each day is a great habit, what are the “bed” tasks in your firm? For some, it might be working through each day’s emails, or clearing their desk at the end of each day. It could be as simple and seemingly pointless and making sure the coffee machine stays stocked or plants are watered.
There are probably many things in your work life that are both easy to do and give you a sense of accomplishment. Do these things habitually and religiously. There will be days when it feels like these are the only things you’ve done well, and that’s okay. And there will be other days when you’ve done so much that it will just be nice to have those things done, too.
Now, imagine if everyone on your team had a few “bed” tasks – things that they did first thing every day, no matter what. How much smoother would everything operate? How much calmer would all of your days be? When the little things are all taken care of, collectively, you will find the headspace to take on the big, important stuff. So, once you’ve found your routine, mundane, mindless daily chores, encourage others to do the same. You’ll be amazed by the changes.
The business of the future is the business that runs on systems. The more mundane systems you have in your organization, the less you will have to think about the time-wasting activities.
To Your Continued Success,