To increase morning efficiency, set breakfast table at night


August 21, 1994|By Susan Hipsley | Susan Hipsley,Special to The Sun

Rare is the person who will baldly claim to be organized, time-efficient, in control of life's kadillion demands.

But the fact is most people use or develop some time-saving behaviors. We just don't label them as such, because in the heat of the daily battle to conquer the must-do's on our menacing schedules, we think of them only as survival techniques.

Every person contacted for a tip to contribute to this column laughed nervously and proclaimed him- or herself hopelessly adrift in the field of time management. But a gentle nudge and five minutes of quiet in their personal think tanks produced a surprising -- to them -- catalog of things they do to ease the nasty pinch of the Time Crunch.

(See the "In Time" box, right, to learn how you can share your own time-saving tips with other readers.)

* Bobbie Valderas owns TLC Pet Sitting in Ellicott City, travels with her husband for his business and is the active mother of a married daughter as well as a teen-age son who lives at home. Her method of coping with a packed schedule is to keep caught up daily.

"I set the breakfast table the night before and put out my clothing for the next day. Because TLC is my own business, I have some time at home during the day. I wash and iron almost every day to keep it up to date. I also shop off-hours when it isn't so busy. But [my plan] doesn't always work. There are times when it's so hectic. But I'm lucky. My family cooperates quite a bit."

* David Williams, copywriter for Richardson, Myers & Donofrio and father of two young children, says he learned early to use several classic time-management tools to help him in his deadline-oriented job.

"I was in my second job and still learning how to manage my time and my work when someone I know, who had no handle on time management at all and was in a very busy job, had to get a Day-Timer to help her organize her time. It made all the difference in the world, and she suggested I get one. They come with an instructional booklet about time management.

"The drawback to these things, though, is we're inclined to put down everything that needs to be done. But that's an unrealistic goal, so you prioritize things -- what you can get done today. Everything else you schedule for after today. And there's always the possibility you'll be able to get started later today on something you need to get done in the future because you also learn to break down jobs into manageable steps.

"If you accomplish what you need or really want to get done, you'll end the day feeling good. If you don't, you feel out of control and that you're drowning in work. That's what time management is all about -- about being in control."

* Ginsy Glicksman is the leasing manager for Montrose Manor Apartments in Catonsville and a single mother of a 5-year-old son. There's very little time for her to read to him at the end of her day because she works until 6 p.m. and still faces evening chores. But she found a way to fit reading into their highly scheduled days.

"Because my son is difficult to wake up in the morning, I start the day by reading him Mother Goose nursery rhymes. Not only does it allow us to spend extra time together, it increases his vocabulary and makes him alert. That starts our day off on a positive note."

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