How I’m Using the “Stops” in My Day to Be More Productive around the Home

Written by

By the afternoon each day, I’m beat.

A morning filled with rising early, writing and blogging from 5:30-8:30 (my husband fields the kids to give me that time), and then caring for children, running errands, seeing friends, and doing housework from 8:30-2:30 depletes my energy completely.

When afternoon rolls around, and each of my children are safely deposited in their respective rooms for naps or quiet play time, all I want to do is sit down, sip a cup of tea, and rest.

However, this is also an ideal time to tidy up the house, which typically has quite a few unfinished edges at this point, despite whatever work I’ve been doing all morning.

Now is when I can get it all put back together without gleeful “baby rampage” following behind me undoing it all.

Now is when I can add peace to my rest-time by dealing with the mess, rather than having it stare me down while I attempt to ignore it for the next hour.

Soon it’ll be time to make dinner, and just as dinner preparation finishes, I’ll hear the garage door open and my husband will blow in from a day’s work. I know I want a decent semblance of order when that happens, because that blesses him. And sometimes he comes home early, depending on his week. I never know in advance, so it makes sense to do my tidying sooner than later, lest I have no other opportunity.

But it’s hard to feel motivated when I’m so ready for a break.

So, I created a fun little routine for myself that I love. It inspires me clean and tidy for just a few minutes after my kids are down for the afternoon. That little bit of tidying relieves such a burden!

I make myself a cup of tea. 

Anthropologie teacup

And while it’s brewing and steeping, I tidy the kitchen rather than sit down (collapse?) at the computer, as I normally would, to check Facebook.

However, as soon as my tea is done, I’m “free” to RELAX.

The process of making my tea takes only about 6 or 7 minutes.

This simple little routine has several benefits:

  • Because I’m pleased and excited about my tea, my spirits are up and there’s a slight bounce added to my step.
  • Because my laboring has a very short time limit, I don’t mind doing it nearly so much. Seven minutes feels distinctly doable.
  • Because I am racing the clock (or tea kettle in this case), I get a lot done in those few minutes! I want to feel a sense of accomplishment and peace when my tea is ready to enjoy.
  • Because my tea needs attention through out the process (turn off the stove, pour, start the bag steeping, cream and sugar), it is efficient to hang around the kitchen anyway.
  • Because tea is elegant, I want a nice setting in which to enjoy it! (extra motivation)
  • SIDE HEALTH BENEFIT: Drinking tea in the afternoon helps me not to snack as much!

Really, a few minutes are all that’s needed to get my kitchen and surrounding area back in order most afternoons. Either way, these few minutes are at least enough to make a dent in the job and get me in a better position for the rest of my day.

Sometimes, it just takes getting started.

I want to challenge you to notice those times when you find yourself standing around and waiting, and leverage them!

  • Perhaps when something is microwaving for a minute, you will commit to finding a small job and doing it!
  • Perhaps while your children are splashing around in the bathtub (if they need you in the room for safety, but not necessarily helping them), you will commit to cleaning the mirror or scrubbing the toilet.
  • Perhaps while your coffee is brewing in the morning, you will commit to unloading a few dishes.

For some of you, this way of acting comes naturally. For others of us, we need a little prompting!


Idleness is good for neither resting nor working, and when we work harder and more diligently, we can also rest harder and more peacefully. Win-Win-Win!


Do you ever wonder how some women make running a home look so natural?

I certainly have!

However, after many years of watching my friends who do this well, and after much trial and error, I’ve boiled it all down to 3 essential daily habits. With these 3 habits in place, a home can function pretty well! Without them, it will be perpetual catchup.

While I used to feel like a failure as a homemaker, I know feel a sense of success and satisfaction.

I’d love to share these 3 simple (secret) daily habits with you. If you focus your energy into establishing them, I believe you will achieve the same breakthrough in your homemaking that I did.

Can I share my secrets with you?

New to this community? Start here, friend.

You Don't Have to be a Victim of Your Schedule and Home

Get this FREE 5-step guide to simplify your life so that you can focus on what actually matters.

You will also join 4,100+ other subscribers to receive weekly encouragement to see eternity in your home and to live in its light.

Life is too short and God is too good to live distracted.

accent accent

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.


  1. Carolyn R Sykora says:

    I just love all of the articles I have been reading! I am very new to your blog, etc! Cancer has changed our life. Dec. 2015 and all of 2016 we walked the cancer road with my 41/42 yr old hubby. We learned some very valuable lessons. Our faith in our Abba Father was strengthened. God was so so faithful through this cancer journey! Our perspective on life has so changed! We so desire to truly live life intentionally—-with PURPOSE! Praise be to HIM! My hubby was diagnosed with a rare gastric cancer. The prognosis is never good with this Stage and type of cancer but God MUST have a plan for longer life for him. It has been 13 months since the diagnoses. It has been 9 months since his MAJOR surgery to completely remove his stomach. He survived ALL the HEAVY radiation and chemo, many scans and exploritory scopes and surgeries! God IS good! We still do not know what the outcome will be but we do know He is faithful! He can be trusted! Our eyes, minds and hearts are focused heavenward!

    • Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing this testimony with other Embracing a Simpler Life readers. God is so good, even in suffering, because our hope isn’t ultimately found in this life at all. God bless you and your family as you continue to trust in Him! Please keep us updated if there are any major developments with your husbands health, and I encourage anyone who reads your story to intercede!

  2. I totally have a similar slump in the afternoon Katie! When my coffee is brewing I’ll tidy up the kitchen or do something dishes – since we brew a big pot in the morning, it helps me get some necessary chores done!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *