14 ways to get things done while the kids are asleep (without overdoing it)
Most moms imagine that the most productive times during the day to be when the kids are sleeping, but then reality sets in and you may be exhausted and just want a few minutes of peace and quiet, but still have a to tackle a whole list of things. Not to mention this may be the only time you are able to get some spend quality with your partner.
Sometime we try to make nap time so productive that we end up spending the entire 2 hours running around, only to find yourself exhausted by the time your kids wake up. This only leads you to want bedtime to come even faster instead of enjoying the evening with your family.
We need to stop spreading ourselves so thin to the point of exhaustion during nap time; and instead optimize it so we are productive, but also taking time for ourselves.
If this sounds like you; then keep reading for ways to optimize nap time to still be productive, while also taking care of yourself and family.
Nap time is a fabulous time to take a nap ourselves, but that is often something us busy moms neglect to do because we cant shake that thought of not finishing that mile long to-do list before we even think about relaxing.
I know I struggle to unwind when I know things are a mess. If you are like me, you surely are not along.
The key is to find some balance between needing to get everything done, and also finding time to relax and unwind. There are ways you can optimize your day to day routine and set yourself up in a better way before nap time even begins.
The goal behind this post is to allow yourself some peace and quiet while still feeling productive by the time your kids wake up. Having some quiet time to yourself while also accomplishing simple tasks around the house will give you that stimulation break that you are desperately needing as a busy mom.
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Preparing before the kids go to sleep is key
Who wants to spend nap time running around the house trying to clean up after the kids, making yourself lunch, trying to get in some self-care, AND finish your to-do list of chores? I sure dont. Nap time may be the only time you spend ALONE! So you need to take advantage of that.
I try my best to prepare the house beforehand so I can actually enjoy the time my kids are asleep. Straighten and make lunch BEFORE the kids fall asleep, so once they are you can enjoy a clean house and sit down to eat right away. I find myself tidying up a whole lot faster when the kids are awake then when they arent. This way you arent wasting any precious time doing tasks that could have been accomplished while the kids were awake still.
Use nap time to accomplish things that you cant do with kids awake. You can cut down your nap time chore list if you plan accordingly what needs done during nap time and what can be accomplished before and after.
Related: Why prepping your house BEORE nap time is so important
Tasks to do during nap time (without overdoing it)
1- Send emails
Its probably one of the most boring tasks but it is something that can be done while you relax on the couch or in bed while vegging to a new show on Netflix. Another perk is that you dont have little ones trying to press all the keys on your computer. Its a win win.
2- Clean your fridge
Yes, the thought of cleaning out the fridge is not very appealing, but it is a task that can be done while you watch some TV or listening to a podcast. It will give you a chance to do something different and also organize your refrigerator so it actually looks presentable from the outside. I dont know about you but I love a fresh, clean fridge once im all done. Its also nice to be able to take your time on this task without little hands grabbing everything in the fridge.
3- Plan an event or vacation
This is another task that you can sit back, relax and enjoy a show or podcast while still being productive. I find planning vacations and events very relaxing and rewarding, and it gives your something to look forward to in the future.
4- Cook or bake something
Take this precious time to do something you enjoy. I like to find new recipes to try, and nap time is the perfect time to test them out. This allows you to have a homemade dinner ready to serve with minimal stress. One pot meals are great for this as you dont have to worry about a lot of clean up after dinner.
There is also something about cooking or baking that really stimulates the senses, and it always lifts up my mood to smell something good cooking on the stove.
5- Pick a decluttering project
Nap time is the perfect opportunity to pick a decluttering project you would like to check off your list. You can make a list of the areas in your house that you would like to de-clutter and designate a certain amount of time to each area. Cleaning out closets, drawers and cupboards is always rewarding and something I find very satisfying when its complete. These are all fairly easy and mindless tasks that can be done quickly after the kids are asleep.
Related: Easy ways to declutter your home as a busy mom
6- Read a book
If you like reading there is no better time than while the kids are sleeping. Pick up that book thats been sitting on your nightstand for months. As moms, we dont get a lot of time to do things for ourselves like reading. This may not be something you do every day but I encourage you to carve out time during one nap or after bedtime one night a week to do a hobby that you enjoy. This will allow you to relax and not feel guilty about it.
7- Watch a show you enjoy
Who doesnt love some good tv time? I know my husband and I love to watch shows while we eat dinner or if the kids are already in bed for the night. Its great to be able to sit back, relax and watch your favorite T.V show. This isnt the most productive but if its something that you enjoy then you need to make time for it. May you can even catch a nap too.
8- Fold laundry
Doesnt everyone dread folding laundry? I know I do. Its almost impossible for me to do while my kids are awake anyway. I like to save this for the end of the day after the kids are in bed. Grab your favorite beverage, turn on your favorite show and get to folding. Its so much more relaxing to do it this way then folding laundry with kids trying to ruin your neat piles of folded laundry.
8- Plan your outfit’s for the next day
Have some fun with this! This is something I like to do. It makes me feel super productive and it can be done while watching tv or listening to a podcast. I love finding cute outfits on Pinterest that give you great inspiration for your wardrobe. Whats also nice about this task is…youll be prepared the next morning instead of scrambling to find an outfit for everyone when you are still half asleep.
9- Plan out dinner and lunches for the week
This is something that saves me so much time and energy later on. This is a task you can accomplish while relaxing on the couch. Find some meals you want to make for dinner and plan out lunches for the week and write out a grocery list. This saves you time and money in the end. You will be less likely to eat out when you have a plan in place and it give you the opportunities to try out new meals.
10- Clean out your car
This is something I like to do after nap time. This task can be done while listening to some music or a podcast. Its not the most exciting task but it certainly needs to get done. This task not only makes your car look better, but can help you out in an emergency too when you need to grab the spare or find the first aid kit. It will be so nice to hop in a freshly cleaned car later on!
11- Go through old photos and organize them
Taking time to go through old photos or scrolling through your photo album and deciding which ones you want to print. This can be fun because you get to look back on past memories. Often times this task gets put on the back burner because it can be time consuming and its not top of the priority list. Thats why nap time is the perfect time to accomplish it!
12- Split nap time
Instead of trying to be productive the entire time your kids are asleep; try dedicating one hour to accomplishing a task and the second hour doing nothing. I like to do this a few times a week because its something to look forward too and will keep you motivated to finish your to-do list. Its also nice to have dedicated time for vegging out so you make sure to do it! Its hard for busy moms to slow down.
13- Clean out your inbox
Take time to clean out your inbox. This is a great way to accomplish something with minimal effort. Be sure that you are deleting emails that you dont need or want anymore. Once you clean out your inbox, go through and organize it to how you like it. This is another task that so many of us neglect to do but once we get around to doing it-The world looks a little brighter and you will feel so organized!
14- Take a nap
Probably not what you were wanting to hear but make sure you take a nap or at least lay down and relax every once and a while. You deserve it! And sometimes a nap is just what you need in order to be productive later.
It is possible to still be productive while having some down time
You dont have to deep clean the entire house to feel productive during nap time. In fact, I dont recommend that at all! These are some simple tasks that you can do while also trying to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Sometimes the things you love to do can be the most productive during these times. So make sure you do them!
What do you like to do while your kids are asleep?