Your time is your most valuable asset, and it’s under assault every second of everyday – from your boss, your friends, even your own body. prepare to strike back.


  1. Present an Excuse

Tell the host you have a competing commitment when you RSVP, says Jacqueline Whitmore of the Protocol School of Palm Beach.


  1. Take the Scenic Route

Show up about 30 minutes after the party starts, unless it’s a sitdown dinner. Most guests will have arrived by then and you’ll be seen.


  1. Pull a Disappearing Act

At larger gatherings, you can simply “ghost” – as long as you thank the host the next day, says Patricia Rossi, author of Everyday Etiquette.


  1. 1 Hour Before

Go over the bedtime rituals with your kid, noting everything that will happen – go upstairs, put on pajamas and so on. Toddlers are like little lawyers, so be specific: “Read two books”, not “read books”.


  1. 40 Minutes Before

Turn off backlit devices. The light suppresses melatonin, keeping both of you awake. Instead, start playing. It doesn’t have to be quiet. A little roughhousing could tire the tot out faster than any lullaby.


  1. 20 Minutes Before

Start going down your list. Make a game or simple choice out of each item. For example: “Should we go upstairs loud like an elephant or quiet like a mouse?” Or set an egg timer and race to put on pyjamas.


  1. 2 Minutes Before

Give the two-minute warning. Most kids don’t understand times longer than this. Use familiar bedtime cues: draw the curtain and turn on the nightlight. And consider using a sound machine.



  1. Hit the Sealing

Each box needs just four tape strips – two to seal the bottom and top flaps shut, and two to go across the flaps. Save tape and time.


  1. Don’t Top It Off

When a box reaches maximum weight, pack the space with crumpled newspaper and move on – don’t find things to fill it.


  1. Employ Pack Mentality

Don’t waste time removing your clothes from cupboards – just remove the drawers, cover them up and haul them off individually.


  1. Stop Drinking

Duh. But don’t go to sleep right away – that’ll slow your metabolism. Stay up a half hour to whip up and scarf down a cheese omelette. It’s high in cysteine, an amino acid that can help your body detox.


  1. Take Your Medicine

After your omelette, pop 200 milligrams of ibuprofen. This will help alleviate booze-induced inflammation, a major cause of hangover agony. (Avoid acetaminophen because it stresses your liver.)


  1. Head, Meet Pillow

You can hit the sack now, but don’t try to sleep off the damage. For the same reason you stayed up an extra 30 minutes, you’re going to set your alarm to sound eight hours from now. You hit snooze, you lose.


  1. Pour a Tall One

In the morning, rehydrate with a low-kilojoule energy drink, and have some chips and bacon to replenish your sodium. Avoid the hair of the dog – it may work in the short term, but you’re delaying the inevitable.



  1. Call a Code Blue

… or any other predesignated safe word to signal a 30-minute timeout. The first step is getting both of you to a calmer place.



  1. Snuff Your Fuse

Set your phone alarm for 25 minutes and use that time to distract yourself with something you enjoy doing, like going for a run.


  1. Be the Bigger Man

Spend five minutes of your timeout thinking about how you can be the first to take a little responsibility. Now it’s her turn.



  1. Make a Colour Run

Tough colours to cover (like red) might require primer and multiple coats. Instead, go with the same colour in a flat finish – you’ll likely get away with one coat. Also, use a brush you don’t mind ruining.


  1. Drop Everything

Push furniture into the centre of the room and cover it with plastic. Then lay drop cloths in a 1.5-metre swath around the perimeter. Now you can paint away without stopping to wipe up roller spatters.


  1. Brush Up

Using your paintbrush and a stepladder, paint a line 10cm wide in the corners, around all the trim work and along the top edge of the walls where they meet the ceiling – anywhere your roller won’t fit.


  1. Roll with It

An extension pole is a godsend that lengthens your reach, cutting down on ladder time. Use it to work quickly around the room in one direction. No need to overdo it – working faster is actually better.



  1. When a guest just won’t take the hint

Use nonverbal cues to convey that the party’s over: turn off the music, switch on the lights and start washing the dishes. Unfortunately, even these moves may be too subtle for someone who’s inebriated, in which case, ask (politely) how he or she is getting home. Call a taxi (or Uber) – or better yet, coordinate with a friend for a ride. If that doesn’t do it, be direct, but use a hint of humour. Hendriksen suggests phrases like “Okay, I’m kicking you out” or “I will now be your bouncer for the evening.” Say it with a smile, and promise future plans as the door is closing.