The sage advice of “sleep while your baby sleeps” often goes unheeded by new parents, especially parents of new babies and older children. We all know that nap times prove to be some of the most productive times of the day; without them we’d all be eating take-out and wearing dirty clothes. (Well, more often than usual, anyway.)
Being productive in a sleeping house is tricky, however. While most kids can—and should—sleep through a bit of noise, if you make too much of a ruckus cleaning, you could cut that precious nap time short, which isn’t good for anybody. This means tasks like vacuuming and dishes are better left to the waking hours.
If you want to make most of the nap time, here are a few ways you can quietly get things done.
- Pay bills. Grab a cup of tea or coffee and settle in to settle some invoices.
- Write a to-do list. The next best thing to getting things done, list making helps you organize your thoughts so that you can hit the ground running when time frees up. Do yourself a favor and put some fun things on this list, too. Reading the next chapter of the novel next to your bed (while you are still awake enough to read) should definitely get a top spot.
- Catch up on laundry. The soft hum and drum of a busy laundry room can lull anyone to sleep, and there’s just something nice about having a task going on in the background that you don’t have to keep your hands on. Folding laundry is one of the quietest cleaning tasks we know of, especially if you listen to an audiobook or a movie while doing it.
- De-clutter. Grab a laundry basket and go from room to room, removing the items that shouldn’t be there and putting them back where they belong.
- Wipe down the bathroom. Swish in your toilet bowl cleaner, wipe down the countertops, and give the room a quick sweep. The five minutes you spend here makes a huge difference.
- Clean up your photo storage. If you have kids, you have pictures, and chances are you have way more than you need. Take 20 minutes during each nap time and start weeding out the ones you’ll never look at again and start flagging your favorites. Don’t spend too much time with this project; just dedicate a little time each day to sorting and tagging files. You’ll be so glad you did!
- Clean out your inbox. Time to reply to party invites, emails and catch up on the latest news. To make quick work of this, organize your email inbox with these tips.
- Go for mental clarity. Have you ever meditated? Nap times are a great time to take a few moments for yourself. From improving mindfulness to recharging your brain, meditating has been proven to increase focus, reduce stress and help people feel better equipped to face the world—all things parents can use. Whether you just take a few minutes to concentrate on your breathing or you take the time to learn meditation techniques, you’ll leave better than when you started.
- Make a mental note. After you’ve given yourself some mental space, take a moment every once in a while to jot down a thought or two about the day in a diary or journal. Write down things your children have said or what you are grateful for that day. When life gets chaotic, you’ll have these notes to come back to as happy reminders of the beautifully calm.
- Schedule your free estimate for a cleaning service. Okay, we know, blatant self-promotion. Hear us out: Lots of moms (and dads) schedule our cleaning crews to come during their morning errands. They leave, we come in, we leave, they come home, and POOF—a clean house during nap time, which means parents can finally catch up on some quiet time of their own. Like taking a nap themselves.