Fretting over the Mail

Sorting the stack shouldn’t be on one’s daily to-do list. Says writer Deborah Copaken: "Recycle junk, fish out checks (yay, money!) and notes (yay, friends!), and stash the rest by the front door to be dealt with once a month."

Overdosing on News

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Separating Lights from Darks

Yes, your whites may not stay so white. But if you can accept faint graying as a trade-off for time saved, toss it all into one load. If those red socks have already been laundered, they’re unlikely to give you a washerful of pink clothes.

Attending (Most) Showers

Send a gift and your regrets, and move on. Life’s too short to watch your cousin’s daughter ooh and aah over blenders or burp cloths.

Birthday Parties for Adults

If they’re over 18 and not turning an age that ends in zero, you’re off the hook.

Hosting Every Single Sleepover

Your kids’ friends also have homes. Don’t let yours become a hostel.

Kitchen Grunt Work

Shortcuts do not a lazy cook make, says Julia Turshen, author of the cookbooks Small Victories and Feed the Resistance. "Saved time is saved sanity! I use prepeeled garlic, shrink-wrapped cooked beets, and frozen peas. And I’d much rather pick up takeout rice than dirty yet another pot."

Lackluster Books

If you're 50 pages in and not in love, stop. (Of the world’s 129 million–plus books, one has to be a better fit.) Balking at the idea? Let Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden reassure you: "I own many books I didn’t read to completion, and that’s okay." Amen.


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