Order groceries online. Peapod.com delivers in LaWanda’s area. She can plan meals for the week, make a list, and order without dragging Rayshawn to the store. That will also save time and money during the week, when the pair often eat out because there’s not much food in the house. “And don’t overthink dinner,” says Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think ($26, amazon.com). “A sandwich or an omelet is fine. You don’t have to channel Julia Child.”
Set boundaries. LaWanda loves to help people out. She can spend hours tutoring a neighbor’s son in algebra. “It’s hard for me to say no,” she admits. Keeley says, “Being the one to save the day is rewarding, but LaWanda can’t afford to do that. She needs to learn to say, ‘I’d love to, but with my schedule the way it is, I wouldn’t be able to give this the attention it deserves.’ ” That strategy might save her enough time to cram all her studying into Monday through Friday.
Consolidate the calendars. Multiple organizational strategies breed chaos, says Keeley. LaWanda should hang one big calendar in the kitchen—something she can see without turning on the computer (and e-mail)—and record all events and deadlines on it. On the go, LaWanda can jot down information in a small notebook or enter it into her phone. “But as soon as she gets home, those details need to be immediately transferred to the wall calendar so she won’t lose track of things,” says Keeley.
Keep bill-paying information in one spot. Searching for a forgotten user name or password sucks precious minutes from LaWanda’s day. Stack suggests saving passwords and PINs in a site like RoboForm.com. Then LaWanda can cruise through bills more quickly.