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Time
Provide more hours in the day

12/11/14
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



Time: it’s the one thing you can’t buy, can’t take back and can never have enough of. But you can devise a gift that enables less time wasted and more time spent doing things you love.
 
Time management
Buy a planner, a tablet with apps that promote organization or perhaps even a personal assistant who will help gift receivers organize and find more time.
“Lots of people don’t know how to manage their day,” said professional organizer Sue West in a phone interview. “Everybody is so busy and life has gotten so much more complicated. We’re all on 24/7, and everyone is attached to an iPhone. We also have more kids moving home and parents moving in with their children.”
So much so, they don’t spend time doing things they’d really enjoy.
“What I find people are saying is that until they get their own households in shape, they feel guilty going off and doing classes or hobbies on their own. They feel they have to get their lives in shape,” West said.
For some people, the answer will be finding a temporary (or permanent) personal assistant. Others may benefit from a class, held either online or locally, about time management. (West also teaches programs through Bedford Parks & Recreation every so often, bedfordreconline.com, and she says there are also online classes available.)
If you’re going to try to find someone a physical planner, make it a novelty item. West says lots of people have difficulty with personal planners, as they don’t like the idea of being structured at home.
But they might be moved to do so with a new tech device, like a tablet, that will also help with organization. 
“There are lots of free apps that help keep track of routines,” West said. “If you wanted to have everyone [in your family] on the same calendar, you can use Google calendar. Some people also like cozy.com, for which you can get the upgraded package.”
If this person is more a paper person, then go for a gift certificate or order a beautiful, specialized planner. Find one locally made by an artist, or find a custom-made one online; to her customers, West suggests Whitney English, whose planners can be seen at daydesigner.com.
 
Outsource time
What seems to take up this person’s time? What is he/she complaining about? What could make this person’s life a lot easier, even for a week?
West thinks hiring someone to help out with daily tasks could be of great benefit. Even something as simple as taking out this person’s trash or hiring someone to take out this person’s trash could be greatly appreciated.
“We outsourced our trash. We had somebody come and pick it up because it took up a whole Saturday,” West said. 
Other ideas: hire personal grocery shoppers for a day (or week, two weeks, etc.). Find a personal assistant. Be a personal grocery shopper or personal assistant.
Renee and Trainor and Elizabeth McMullen, co-founders of Lettuce Shoppe (lettuceshoppeforyou.com) in Nashua, perform a variety of services that involve a multitude of jobs, from shopping (at Trader Joe’s, Hannaford, Shaw’s, Market Basket, even Panera) and putting groceries away to cleaning refrigerators and reorganizing cabinets and pantries. They also perform errands (picking up dry cleaning, prescriptions) and house checks (while customers are on vacation) and can help with meal planning. 
All in the name of giving the customer more time to do what they really want or need to do.
These little things, McMullen said, make a huge difference; on a recent excursion, the person receiving the Lettuce Shoppe groceries as a gift was so surprised and delighted she began to cry. 
The pair have regular clients, but you can hire them for one or two shopping trips as well. They stage it so that everything’s fresh — they keep heating bags and coolers in their cars, and they only perform about two excursions at a time.
They found a niche in Nashua; grocery shopping can take up a great deal of time, particularly during the holiday season, when lines are long and parking lots are packed.
Another benefit: you’ll not only cut down on time, but you may even save money. No impulse buys, and McMullen says they always try to find the best sales.
“It’s nice to know that everything’s handled for you,” McMullen said.
Want to save money? Take the time and do these services for your friend/family member yourself.
 
Tell time 
If Apple has anything to do with it, the watch is coming back. Lots of phone and tech companies are already selling techy watches — cnet.com’s favorites for 2014 include Pebble Steel, Jawbone Up24, Garmin Forerunner 15 and Samsung Gear 2 Neo.
For something more aesthetically pleasing, check out a local jeweler — David Bellman of Bellman’s Jewelry says oversized, metal bracelet-styled watches are popular for women, and high-tech styles are popular for men.  For value, first look at the type of material over the watch’s face. Crystal is sturdy like plastic but scratch-resistant like glass, and reasonably priced, which will enable a longer-lasting item. 
“Also, look at the way the watch feels, the way it’s put together. Is it lightweight and flimsy? It’s a better quality if, when you hold it, it has substance,” Bellman said.
For something unique, find something made by a local or New England artist. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen galleries often showcase Vermont artist Lochlin Smith’s hand-crafted watches, which are playful and whimsical, a chain of fun shapes linked together in bronze or silver. He’ll sometimes create commissioned work; check out his work at lochlinsmith.com. 
“People like them because they’re beautiful, like jewelry, but are also functional,” Smith said in a phone interview. 
 
As seen in the December 11, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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