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The Best Times of the Day to Run Errands

When in the day are your dreaded mom chores the easiest to tackle? We checked in with Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That, and Go There ($13.99, Harper Paperbacks), for some answers:

1. Returning the Winnie the Pooh sweater your brother-in-law gave your 12-year-old: 10 a.m.
The reason: The shop won't be too busy yet, and the most experienced staffers (say, ones who can wrangle you a store credit even if you don't have a receipt) will be on duty-stores schedule their best employees for the day shifts.

2. Filling your daughter's third pinkeye prescription of the year: 10 a.m. to noon
The reason: You'll miss the morning rush of people getting their prescriptions before work-and the afternoon crowds who go to the pharmacy after seeing the doctor.

3. Taking your child to the dentist: 1 p.m. or after 3 p.m.
The reason: If your dentist takes a lunch break, and most do, the one o'clock slot is a good time because patients with late-morning appointments are long gone, and you won't have to wait. If your child's especially dentophobic, shoot for after 3:00, though -- that's when our bodies best tolerate pain from cold and other stimuli (such as a minor poke from a metal instrument).

4. Cleaning your house: 4 p.m.
The reason: That's when energy and mood levels tend to peak. The worst time? About two hours before, when a dip in your body temperature and your circadian rhythm make you drowsy.

5. Walking the dog that everyone swore you'd never have to walk: Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
The reason: You usually have the most time then, which allows him to linger and enjoy the outing, unlike with morning walks. It also tends to be cooler in the evening, so walking your dog then helps him avoid overheating.

6. Dragging a mop-top kid to get a haircut: 9 a.m.
The reason: No latecomers will have thrown off the schedule. And many stylists say this is when they are most enthusiastic, largely because they have yet to be exposed to difficult clients (your kid can be the day's first!).

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