Make your bed and 12 more great habits for the super-busy person

Updated to Habits on January 23, 2023.

Does your life feel like it’s spinning too fast?

Maybe you should make your bed.

The idea is to get one part of your life totally in order (like making your bed) so you feel you have more control overall.

It’s like squirrelling away $100 a month into a savings account. It won’t get you a time-share in Cabo soon, but it’s process.

In the last two months I’ve been launching my SOS (Social Outlook Solutions) social media service. It’s exciting to see sales come in and know we’re helping people reach their audience. At the same time, we’re learning what works and what to never repeat. It’s been a lot of work. And I’ve worked more hours this summer than any I can remember. But we’re making progress.

Meanwhile, I’ve been making my bed. I’ve also been going for workouts, meeting the guys for Saturday runs, and watching my diet. I know we still have many months of hard work ahead of us and I don’t want to feel overwhelmed or regret I didn’t take better care of myself.


One good habit can lead to more good habits. In his best-seller, The Power of Habits, Charles Duhigg calls these keystone habits. The idea is that developing a good habit in one part of your life (a keystone habit) promotes other good habits, like eating better, exercising more, and putting the toilet seat down. I talked about this more in my post How to get rich by spending less money.

It can also make you happier.

As trivial as making the bed may seem, bestselling author, Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project), found that making the bed was “the number one most impactful change that people brought up over and over.”

Here are other little things that can make a big difference.


I know when you’re working hard to land that big deal, finish your book, hire that new person, or prepare for your next speech the temptation is to focus on the goal and let other things slide. That’s a mistake.

Athletes don’t stop training, eating well, and getting a good sleep before a big game. Nor should you.

Here’s a list of little things, done daily, that can make a big difference in how you feel, how you perform, and how happy you are.

  1. Eat a great breakfast. Fuel the engine better and enjoy better performance. It’s that simple. Two years ago I dropped glutens and most mornings I enjoy a fruit smoothie, cooked quinoa, hard boiled egg, greek yogurt, and gluten-free toast. What’s your breakfast?
  2. Completely clear your desk. Get ruthless. If it’s been there more than a week, it has to go. Give it a wipe for good measure.
  3. Get to InBox zero. Invest 20 minutes, do your best, and delete the rest. If it was really, desperately, super-duper important, they’ll email again.
  4. Walk every afternoon at 2:30. You ate over an hour ago – blood sugar has tanked. Instead of coffee and a cookie (see below), head out the door and get in a fast walk for 20 minutes.
  5. Get up 30 minutes earlier. Make a plan the night before and enjoy uninterrupted time for exercise, reading, writing, planning, meditation, or yoga (see my post Why I joined the Morning Club). Nice.
  6. Read a book before sleep. TV, Netflix, Youtube, email, and Facebook all stimulate the brain and interfere with sleep. I close my day with couple of chapters of a Lee Child, John Grisham, or Michael Robotham novel.
  7. Plan your week. Nothing makes me feel more in control than 10 minutes creating my Flight Plan for the week. The trick is to avoid copy and pasting old tasks. It’s either important enough to do this week, or it’s gets the punt.
  8. Make a special dinner. It doesn’t take any longer to look up a recipe and make a nice dish. My favourites are Jamie Oliver and Michael Smith. Neat trick: If my family likes it, I take a picture from the recipe book directly into Evernote, that way I can pull it up from the grocery store. Quinoa mushroom burgers anyone?
  9. Don’t eat cookies for one week. My poem: Sugar spike, gut feels crummy, wasted cash, I guess I’m a dummy. Grab an apple – you’ll feel better and perform better.
  10. Kill a Klingon. Klingons aren’t just from Star Wars, they’re nasty must-do’s that have been on your list for three weeks and everyday get moved to the next day. Do, delegate, defer, or delete, but don’t let Klingons distract you.
  11. Mail a card to your Mom. Or Dad, or wife, husband, child, or client. Even curmudgeons love a card.
  12. Drink water in the morning. You’re doing this, right?

What about you? What makes you feel sane and in control when the world is spinning too fast? Tell me in the comments – I want to know.