Guidelines for the executive enterprise of running a home.
Most people, says Stephanie Winston, president of the management consulting firm The Organizing Principle, underestimate the degree to which terms such as planning, control, and logistics - employed by managers and executives - can be equally applied to someone who runs a home.
''Running a home is, in fact, an executive enterprise,'' she says.
A few months ago, Miss Winston shared her secrets for managing time, paper, and people in her latest book, ''The Organized Executive'' (W. W. Norton & Co., New York, $15). The other day in an interview she indicated how many of her guidelines could also help those women who are boss of their own homes.
Here are a few of her suggestions:
* People who work at home must also protect their time, particularly from long-winded chatterers. So get an answering machine to screen and handle telephone calls for an hour or two, a solution that provides you with some uninterrupted quiet time. Simply say, in your recorded message to callers, that you will not be available to talk until 4:30 p.m., or whenever. Lacking an answering machine, don't be afraid to use lines like, ''This isn't a good time for me to talk. May I call you back about 4:30?''
* Develop a uniform system, followed by the entire family, for keeping track of call-backs. That way no time is lost hunting for messages or trying to remember who called whom, when. Always anchor phone messages in the same place, such as on an old-fashioned desk needle, or in a box beside the phone.
* Delegate creatively. Consider what tasks you can hire someone to do, such as sewing, running errands, and help for housecleaning and party giving. If you delegate chores to children, learn the subtle art of properly telling them what to do. Most children really want to help around the house if they can do it without hassle from parents, Miss Winston says. It helps to make a child responsible for doing a certain number of chores during a day or a week, and have them completed by a given time. Once the completion time is understood, then never nag. You have entrusted the matter to the child and he has accepted the burden of completion.
* If you delegate chores to a spouse, remove any ''power element'' or strong emotional charge by rightly assessing temperaments and proclivities and working around them. Instead of bickering, work out quid pro quo bargains. You will pick up his clothes and keep them mended and in order if he will be responsible for the care and feeding of your car, including washes, oil changes, and so forth. You will be glad to do the dishes after supper if he will, at the same time, get the children ready for bed.
* Every day set accomplishable tasks, and then accomplish them. People tend to feel overwhelmed by the intimidating infinitude of jobs that need to be done, and end up abdicating their control over their own possessions and affairs. The solution is to whittle big jobs down into manageable components. It is these bite-sized portions that then get put on your daily to-do list of no more than 10 items.
* As for time management, boil everything down to two lists. Keep one master list, on which you write down each thing you have to do as it comes up, from picking up the cleaning and the shoes, to reorganizing the kitchen.
On your secondary list, however, list only components of the larger chores. For instance, you might assign yourself to clean and rearrange one or two shelves a day, or to measure the wall for new grids on which you will eventually make pots and pans more accessible. You can give yourself a time allotment in which to answer five letters, or pay five bills. Having completed your smaller jobs, you can then say to yourself, ''This I do today and no more,'' and tackle other components the next day.
* Always have a ''writing kit'' made up of appropriate stationery, envelopes, stamps, return address stickers, etc., to expedite bill paying and letter writing.
* Paper and what to do with it is a major problem in business and in the home. Rather than letting paper communications and information become a smothering weight, act on each piece promptly. Throw it away, handle it with a letter or telephone call, or put it away in a temporary or permanent holding position.
* If you file paper, file headings should be as general as possible so that all the information relating to one subject can be found together. Each heading should make sense in terms of your own needs and general associations. Ask yourself why you are saving the material and in what context you will think of it in the future.
* To get organized, you have to listen intently to your own internal logic about where things are most useful to you, and what to keep and what to throw or give away.