Book extract: Dust, vacuum…. create?

“Yet it is in our idleness,

in our dreams,

that the submerged truth

sometimes comes to the top. 

~ Virginia Woolf

The results of housework are all too fleeting.

You spend your time performing boring tasks and before long, they need doing again. There’s not much scope for any earth-shattering achievements, right? 


A surprising side effect of monotonous jobs is the activation of your creative mind.

The ‘mindless’, ‘empty-headed’ state that comes from boring jobs is actually a fertile ground for creative thought, intuition, problem-solving, even flashes of genius.

This productive state is known as the alpha state – which is brain-speak for a deeply relaxed mental state. It occurs during daydreaming, idle reflection, and just before and after sleep.

And during housework. 

Contrary to expectations, when we switch off our brains, we don’t become witless zombies. We are actually primed to tap inner sources of inventiveness and imagination.

According to the New York Times, neuroscientists have found that even when the brain is disengaged, it is still highly active. And this activity operates on a higher level to everyday thinking. This downtime for your brain actually gives you access to intelligence which is denied to the busy, conscious mind. 

Stilling the mind sets the mental scene for your greatest ideas. 

For proof of this, think of when and where the great minds had their light-bulb moments…

• Archimedes was in the bath (highly relaxed) when he shouted ‘Eureka!’

• Einstein was out walking (moving meditation) when he discovered the theory of relativity.

• Newton was chilling out under an apple tree (brain downtime) when the law of gravity struck him (literally).

You may even have had your own Eureka moments. 

Have you ever struggled with a problem or dilemma, only to have the answer ‘pop into your head’ when you were doing some mundane activity? The brain is particularly receptive to inspiration and creativity during unchallenging, ‘brainless’ tasks – having a shower, driving, washing-up.

This very book is a case in point – the idea for it occurred to me as I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor.

And I’m in good company – Agatha Christie, a prolific imaginer, famously remarked, 


agatha christie doing the dishes quote

A bored mind is also susceptible to intuition. Women are renowned for their ability to tap into this unknown element (which curiously, and wonderfully, seems to always have our best interest at heart). 

This may be a gender thing, but it may also be linked to the fact that women have traditionally spent the majority of their time in the home, raising children, building nests. These quiet, contemplative activities are the kind that scientists now believe connect us to some universal intelligence, aka intuition. 

It would seem, then, that there is merit in boredom. It can be a prelude to creativity, problem-solving and innovation.

So if domestic boredom is a feature of your life – don’t fight it. Even if you can’t bring yourself to embrace it, at least turn it to good use.  Though to the outside world you may look like you’re just dusting and vacuuming, inside your mind, powerful forces are at work.

And these forces are not only conducive to creative inspiration, they also trigger the information sorting part of the brain.

So you’re not only straightening up your house – you’re performing crucial filing-work in your mind, too.


(This is an extract from the Boredom section of Housework Blues – A Survival Guide

 • • • 


housework blues book cover.jpg

“… worth a million how-to-clean books,
can’t recommend it more highly.”

~ Amazon review for Housework Blues.

For reviews, sample chapters and more details of
Housework Blues – A Survival Guide, click here. 


Up. The antidote to down.

RePost from my first blog: Make Peace with Housework

– for any creatives with a house to keep…

• • •

Up antidote to down

With apologies to Shakespeare:

Housework is neither good nor bad,
but feeling makes it so. 

When housework blues are a problem, the source of our angst is not the work, as such – it’s how we feel about it. There are people who aren’t troubled by their domestic workload. (It’s true!) Some even enjoy it – and there is certainly something soothing and comforting about restoring order or bringing back the shine.

But if housework is not your thing, yet it’s very firmly on your plate – it can get you down.

So, until we can reduce or delegate the drudgework, there’s one type of essential maintenance work that we can’t afford to neglect… (more…)

Oh, to be happy at home…


no place like home make peace with housework blog 



“To be happy at home

is the result of all ambition.”

Samuel Johnson



(Extract from Housework Blues – A Survival Guide


Throughout this book, I’ve tried to convince you of the many valid and compelling reasons to tackle your housework – how taking care of your home can benefit your relationships, your health, your career, your finances, your self-esteem, your time, your peace of mind, your goals, your sanity, your well-being, your families, your soul, your ego and your happiness. 

Though it was probably your negative feelings towards your home that drew you to this book in the first place, it’s my hope that, already, you’re beginning to view your home in a new, more positive light. But in case you have any lingering frustrations or resentments in the maintenance of your abode, it may help to reflect on just how much your home means to you. 

Perhaps the most over-worked cliché says it best – it’s where our heart is. It’s the place we can call our own. It’s where we go to retreat from a frenzied or frightening world. Home is the place we can freely reveal who we truly are. It’s a reflection of our personalities, an expression of our souls. 

Home is where we raise our families and nurture our relationships. It’s where we invite our friends and loved ones to share in our celebrations and achievements. It’s the backdrop for so many of our memories. It’s a place to rest, relax, feel comforted and safe. When we’re world-weary or weather-beaten, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of coming home. 

This place, however so humble, has an unique role in our lives and an unparalleled place in our hearts. Home is far more than just a roof over our heads. Its role goes way beyond mere protection from the elements. It affects how we feel and how we think about ourselves. It has the potential to hold a powerful, even magical influence over our whole life – even when we’re not there. 

Our home is not just significant in our success and happiness – it’s vital. In her beautiful book Space Matters, Kathleen Cox endorses what she calls our sublimely critical space. ‘Home should celebrate who we are and what we love. Home ought to serve us well, make us feel good and protect the core of our essence – our soul.’ 

Recognising the incredible role our home plays in our lives highlights just how much is at stake in the care – or neglect – of where we live. When we reconnect to the value of our home, when we realise the extent of its effect on our lives, we naturally become more respectful and appreciative of our little corner of the world. When we stop seeing the home purely as a place of chores and maintenance, there’s a chance to treasure it as the wonderful sanctuary it’s meant to be. 

In this light, the upkeep of a home is less oppressive. It becomes a labour of love. There is undoubtedly work involved in having a home, but in the same way that children and families involve a degree of work – the payoff makes it all worthwhile. Home offers us much in return. We reap rich dividends for our labours. Our efforts are always rewarded, one way or another. 

Admittedly, there are times when the upkeep seems endless, futile, repetitive, monotonous and mundane. But remember there is real value in this work. Though it may be unpaid, unacknowledged, even unnoticed, the gains of taking care of your home are priceless. The returns are your quality of life. 

One of the biggest frustrations of the domestic realm is that, in doing housework, we’re missing out on something else, something better or more important. But isn’t it true that we will miss out on far more by neglecting our homes? If we don’t take care of it, how well will it take care of us? 

I leave you with this challenge. Go now and rediscover your home. Reflect on exactly what it means to you and the crucial role it plays in your life. See if, deep down, you love where you live. And if you find that you don’t – could you learn to?

Put the heart back in hearth. Put some love back in your home. 

Dorothy was right: there is no place like it.



 • • • 


housework blues book cover.jpg

“… worth a million how-to-clean books,
can’t recommend it more highly.”

~ Amazon review for Housework Blues.


For reviews, sample chapters and more details of
Housework Blues – A Survival Guide, click here. 



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