12 Ideas for a Smoother Day


I’ve got some tips for busy moms, tips that help stretch the number of minutes in a day. We need all the help we can get to help our day run more smoothly. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Do as much as you can the night before.

I’m sort of a night owl, so once everyone is in bed, I’m able to whip through last minute things in the house. I’ll get breakfast ready (take bagels out of the freezer, thaw meat, etc.). I lay out clothes or shoes if we’re heading somewhere in the morning. I may even think way ahead for supper the next evening. The point is, I have the next day in mind when I wrap up the order of the house.

2. Plan for common disturbances.

Some things regularly get in my way. You probably have your list of “disturbances” in your life. List them and come up with a plan to resolve them. For instance, figuring out who has what chore can turn to utter chaos in the Jeub home. I have a whiteboard in our living room to help hedge off this everyday — and every meal — disurbance.

3. Put things away as you go.

What an amazing difference it makes when you put things back into place as you use them! This is a wonderful way to stay one step ahead in your daily life. Encourage your kids to do the same, get into the habit.

4. Everything in your house should have a place.

Spend time getting organized! As the old saying goes, “everything has a place and everything in it’s place.” Using labels for items is great! It works and it is surprising how well it works.

5. How-to Steps.

If you have a lot of children, it’s easy to forget who knows how to do what. Sometimes their frustration with chores is that they just don’t know how to do them. I write down some simple instructions for certain chores and hang them on the wall in the area.

6. Practice.

Practicing is like a “drill time.” We talk about this in our book Love in the House. A great time to practice is when nobody is upset, you lay out the rules, let everyone know what you expect. In our family we have practiced many things like sitting still and being quiet, going to bed, and getting ready to go someplace.

7. To-do List.

This is a great way to make sure that you remember all the things that must be done. I often write this in a notebook, and the notebook stays in the middle of our house as the kids and I busily get ready for whatever we must work toward. Get your list going and add to it and cross things out as you go. This may seem simple but it is a great stress reliever!

8. Exercise and Eat Healthy.

Find a way to make exercise a regular part of your day. Make good healthy choices in eating. You will be healthier. You will feel better. It will help you to feel less stressful. This also equals less sick time.

9. Routine Routine Routine.

Start you day on purpose. Get up at a set time and stick to it. Make a plan and stick to the plan. Have a regular routine to your day. This helps your children and you know what is happening and what to expect. Help those children who need naps get them everyday. You can get a nap, too!

10. Rethink.

If you have some frustration with your daily schedule, rethink how you can make things easier. If your home life is not flowing well, be free to cross things off and do something else.

11. Do it now.

One way to clear your to-do list is to just do it… like, right now. Maybe there is a way to do 4 or 5 things right now? Get those things off your list.

12. Sleep.

I may be a night owl, but I have got to force myself to get a good night sleep. Believe it or not, good sleep will help maximize those minutes in your day-to-day mommy life. Get plenty of sleep by shutting the computer down 2 hours before you plan to head to bed.

These are a dozen ideas from the Jeub home. How about you? What ideas have you applied to help make your day run more smoothly? Share them with us below!

About Wendy Jeub

Yes, Wendy Jeub has brought 16 children into the world, and loves each and every one of them. So much so, she'd welcome more!

  • Vixthemom

    Great post! I guess great minds think alike. I do a lot of these things. Except the white board for chores, I have one for school. I need to work on that. Here are my thoughts.
    1. you can also prepare your
    heart for the next day as well, read your bible the night before if you have way
    too busy mornings to get a morning QT.
    2.Would love to see your
    3.We call that cleaning the lazy way.
    11. Duggar quote from
    Elizabeth Elliot “Do the next right thing”

  • Stacy Audirsch

    I make lists in excel and post them everywhere 😉  The most helpful is our After Meal Chore Chart.  4 Catagories of chores (Floors/Table, Counters/Food, Dishes, Other) and 3 meals.  Our 4 middle kids rotate these chores.  (Bigs do other stuff and littles help where needed)  REVOLUTIONARY!  (p.s. love the turn computer off 2 hrs b4 bedtime tip… I”ve been thinking 30 mins is enough… I need to rethink that.)

  • liz

    I also put clothes out in small bins(we have 3 littles) at the bottom of the stairs next to the microwave.It holds the days clothes and if I am on top of things clothes for several days..they are layered…day clothes,pj,day clothes pj..complete with under things and pull up/diapers/socks etc…We homeschool our 4 and 6 yr old and have an “expectation board” ie..”read 3 books” “journal” “science” they know what to expect..
    I also plan dinner for the next night. These tiny steps make a world of difference in the am. Also my children are taught VERY young how to dress,brush teeth,put on shoes,socks etc. I am amazed at how many kids my childrens age who are typical and cannot put on shoes without assistance or their coats..

    I am a night owl also..That is when the majority of dishes,kitchen clean up gets done.Also we always do baths alternating at night.

  • T. Gates

    I am a mom of 5 ages 7 and under and am homeschooling our oldest.  I would love to know how you handle homeschooling, a fussy 2 month old(which I have), chores, and keeping little ones out of trouble and busy while homeschooling.  Also, what reward/consequence systrm do you have set up?  Thanks!

    • T. Schoel

      I am also a mom of 5 kids ages 9 and under.  I am homeschooling the oldest two.  I highly recommend a sling or carrier you wear for the baby.  It makes life so much easier and generally calms the baby.  As for the preschoolers and toddlers I try to teach them very early that while I am doing school with the older kids they need to be respectful and quiet.  Some days that are able to play happily together and it’s no big deal.  Other days that does not happen and then I  have activities/toys that are only played with during school time that they can do.  Sometimes they just want to be near us so they color or play with playdough while I teach.  It’s not perfect and I try to be flexible but some days we are simply working on the heart more than math.

      As to other ideas that help make the household run smoothly I recommend weekly or monthly menu planning.  Trying to figure out what to do for dinner at 2pm is so stressful but if you’ve been able to plan and shop for your meals beforehand it really helps. 

      I also have my kids do quiet time in the afternoon.  For the little ones this is nap time.  For the older ones they read, do school or quiet play in the basement.   This gives me a chance to regroup and also get a few things done with minimal interruptions.  

      • T. Gates

        Thanks for the help!  I do have a carrier which I use from time to time!  Which brand do you recommend?  Also, how do you train your little ones to play quietly and still?  Do you have consequences and if so what are they?  What chores do you give them and what do you do to those that refuse to pitch in and help?  Thanks!

        • Tiffany

          I have a Baby Bjorn.  It is very durable, holds small infants as well as older, heavier babies very well, and mostly is very supportive on your back.  I wear my almost 1 yr olds all day long at my homeschool conference and don’t get a back ache! 

          • T. Gates

            Thanks for your help!

        • T. Schoel

          I have a sling by Mama’s Milk that I really like.  You can purchase them online.  Once the babies are a little older I use the Ergo carrier.  It’s very comfortable to wear.

          In training the younger ones to play quietly start small.  Get them engaged in an activity (coloring, playdough, blocks) and then just aim for 5 minutes.  Give them lots of praise if they do a good job.  If they interrupt, remind them that mommy is doing school right now and they need to play quietly for a few more minutes.  If it helps set a timer and let them know when the timer beeps mommy will be able to play for a few minutes if they’ve done a good job playing quietly.  Gradually increase the time you expect quiet play from them.  You may not get as much accomplished educationally as you would like while you are working with the little ones but it will pay off in the end. 

          I would also suggest saving the subject that requires the most focus from you and your older child for when the little ones are napping.  That way you will both be able to work uninterrupted. 

          Try to be creative in your schooling.  Perhaps you can do math drills while driving to the store.  Have your child read the bedtime story to you.  Talk about science, phonics or spelling during dinner.  I do find my kids learn a lot during these very casual educational times as well as the more formal ones. 

          I think when it comes to helping the days run smoothly with homeschooling it’s all about having a plan but also being willing to accept that it may not always work out the way we think it should and that’s okay.  Try to get things ready the night before so there is less wasted time looking for books, pencils etc. in the morning.  Prioritize (as Wendy already said) the day, both for homeschool and regular stuff so you are not frustrated at the end of the day feeling like nothing was accomplished. 

          • T. Gates

            Thanks for your help!

    • Annie

      I have7 children, the oldest is 8. I LOVE my carrier! I use a Moby that I made myand self when they are little and a ring sling when they are bigger. One thing I read a long time ago that helps when you have many little ones: “Today the baby is the lesson!” Life lessons are sometimes more important than phonics, math, or whatever.

      I second the meal plan. I use my crock pot on days I know we will be busy. Then we can work right up to supper.

      We also school year-round. Less in the summer when its nice to be outside, more in the winter when we can’t go anywhere anyway. Then I don’t worry so much about not getting math in today, because I know we’ll get to it later. It also gives us more flexibility for Daddy if he happens to surprise us by being home unexpectedly. We put relationships first! The kids also do better when we stick to a schedule.

  • Ashleyu

    My husband and I set our alarms clocks for 5 AM every day. Getting up so early allows us quality Bible/prayer time, a good workout, and the time to be showered and dressed before our three kids (ages 5, 4, 2) wake up. Getting that jump start on the day keeps our priorities in line. We feel more devoted to our jobs as parents because our most basic needs are met before the kids’ needs have to be tended to and before I begin homeschool for the day. It’s helped things run so smoothly in our home!

  • Mary Lou

    I have a small white board in my kitchen where I post the 3 meals for the day.  It keeps it on my mind so that I can do any make-ahead prep work and I no longer answer the question, “What’s for _____?”

  • Tammie

    I have a tad bit of OCD or something. I dont go to bed unless my work is done and the house is clean and everything is right. We are all night owls too and follow a tight schedule, so when I don’t I just feel all out of sorts !

  • Vanceand2

    Wendy, I love your suggestions.  I’ll have to buy Love in the House.  I’m at my whit’s end. 
    I’ve tried organizing in so many different ways, but have come to the
    conclusion I can’t do it on my own.  I’ve
    tried recruiting family (husband and older children), but have been unable to
    get them on board.  I’m tired.  I work a very rigorous job 14 to 16 hours per
    week in the evenings.  I homeschool part
    time and some of the kids go to an elementary school part time.  This week we had a police officer at our door
    because one of my five-year-olds told him that mommy had been hurt.  The bus driver told the police that I had
    been raped and the police went to the school to interview my child then showed
    up at my front door.  He was very nice
    and knew it was all a misunderstanding, but these kinds of things seem to
    happen all the time.  I’m so tired of
    school teachers and Sunday school teachers and neighbors and people everywhere
    saying there is something wrong with my kids. 
    I feel like I can’t teach them anything no matter how consistent I am; a
    godly worldview, manners, etc.  Don’t get
    me wrong, my kids love the Lord, but I feel like I have no order or growth in
    my family.  I guess I just had to vent –
    if nothing else I just need prayer – I’m pretty desperate.

    • Wendy Jeub

      I have prayed for you. (Hugs)