And even if she does have a box full of slick, color-coded index cards to tell her what to do next, how does a working mother get the jobs done?

"Sidetracked Home Executives" Pam Young and Peggy Jones admit that they both have housekeepers who come in twice a week to run their homes (according to the sisters' system). Other women have sent their housekeepers to S.H.E. workshops to learn the system.

Otherwise, "start throwing a lot of those cards away," they say. "Make a list of the things that bother you and keep only the cards that reflect those nagging jobs. Then work at getting those jobs under control."

Remember, they stress, "you didn't get into this mess overnight." It took the sisters three weeks to see surface improvement in their homes; by six weeks they would never turn back to their former habits.

A working mother, they say, should give herself at least six months to get the closets, cupboards and drawers cleared out. And working mothers, particularly, should learn to delegate.

"We use the cards for delegating a lot now because we've become masters of delegation," says Young. "But back in our slob days we couldn't get the dog to mind us. It's easier with the cards, because everybody gets jobs to do and Mom's doing it all, she's got to learn to delegate fast. In our house on Saturday," says Jones, "we each work for one hour and 10 minutes."