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Stress Management

Reduce Stress With This Simple Time-Management Tool

keep track of? Do important things sometimes fall through the cracks? You can reduce your stress and stay on top of important details by using a simple time-management tool that I call a "skeleton schedule."

The skeleton schedule is simple enough to use on a regular basis, yet powerful enough to organize an entire week. It works because it reduces your scheduling to the bare bones - the minimum that you need to do to make your week a success.
To understand it better, consider the more typical approach to scheduling…

Suppose that you sit down on a Sunday evening and decide to plan out your week. Inevitably, you will end up with a schedule that is part high-priority and part "wish list" - in other words, alongside the things that really must get done will be an assortment of things that sort-of have to get done or that you've been meaning to give attention to (so why not this week).

A skeleton schedule, on the other hand, has an important difference: it includes ONLY the things that MUST get done… the appointments that are set, the to-dos with deadlines, the routine necessities that keep life orderly, and the things that - if left undone - will cause unwelcome or embarrassing consequences.
In short, it is a concise summary of the bottom line… the bare minimum that must get done in order to stay on top of things. Think of it as the backbone of your week.

With this time-management tool, you can begin each day by reviewing exactly what you will do to make your day a success. You can then feel free to use any remaining time for those other "wish-list" items - or for relaxation, hobbies, or time with family and friends. Benefits include:

* Reduced stress… At the end of the week, you can feel sure that you've covered what was most important - and everything else you got done was gravy.

* Less overwhelm… You can turn to your one-page summary at any time to get your bearings and review your priorities.

* Greater freedom… To make the most of the time that remains after the necessities are done.

A skeleton schedule is easy to make. To begin, choose a time of the week when you will routinely create your schedule (I recommend Sunday evening). Although a skeleton schedule could be created on a daily basis, it is far more effective and time-efficient to look ahead to your week as a whole.

Second, for reducing stress ,set up a scheduling format. Typically, a skeleton schedule for an entire week can be fit on a single page, using seven columns for each day of the week. A useful format has an appointment grid in the upper part of the page, and space for a daily list at the bottom.
Third, for reducing stress ,transfer information into your schedule from your calendar and other places where you keep reminders… if you don't have a good system for keeping track of such details, now is the time to set one up! I recommend using the skeleton schedule in conjunction with a monthly wall calendar and a set of four "tickler" files (one for each week of the month).

Finally, put any items that aren't absolute "must-dos" into a list on a separate sheet of paper. During the week, you can refer to this list whenever you have extra time above and beyond your skeleton-schedule items.

This simple time-management tool may be the key to handling your busy days as well.

Time Management from Mind Tools - How to manage time and maximize and how to use personal time management skills.

Effective Time Management Tools to Help End Procrastination Of all time management tools, this one alone will end procrastination, reduce stress, and add value and balance to your life.

Visit Ruth Anderson at and click on "Free Time-Management Tool."