Reduce stress and stay organized while running errands

A day of running errands can be stressful for anyone. A simple journey around town can involve a great deal of coordination, from planning what you need and where to go to finding a simple route around town that hits all the necessary destinations. Technology can help you get organized and reduce some of this stress.

Tip #1: Plan ahead using the Web
Before you set out, use the Web to check the local weather and possible traffic around town. You might also want to check the hours of operation for the stores you plan to visit; many times stores will post this information on their Web sites. You can use MSN for most planning needs.

Tip #2: Know your budget
Errands usually involve spending money, so double check to ensure that you have sufficient funds for your transactions. Determine your balance before you head out so you know how much you can spend. Personal finance software, like Microsoft Money, can help save you time.

Tip #3: Use a PDA to help you stay on track
A Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or Smartphone can be very helpful while on the road. You don't want to forget anything while you're out and about, so use your PDA to keep track of your different lists for shopping. Be sure to install Windows Mobile software and you will also be able to access Internet Explorer.

Tip #4: Travel efficiently—map your shopping route
There are several devices available for in-car navigation. If you're looking for something affordable and easy to use, software might be the way to go. Microsoft Streets & Trips with GPS Locator can turn your laptop into a powerful navigation system.

Tip #5: Keep the kids entertained
Spending a lot of time in the car can be boring for children. To help alleviate their boredom, bring along some toys or travel games to keep them occupied and entertained. Consider bringing a laptop with Microsoft Encarta, which is both educational and entertaining, and doesn't require an Internet connection.

Read the full article from Meredith Williams.

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