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Yesterday I wrote about making progress toward your goals as it relates to both happiness and productivity. Today I want to share with you one other interesting result from the Real Simple magazine happiness survey. They reported it as “3 things that the happiest women do.” Although I bet it’s true for men as well.

The three things the happiest women do are:

  • cancel appointments to get more time alone
  • don’t always answer the phone
  • know how to say no.

These are all excellent points and they support my earlier post about taking control as a key to productivity. It seems to make sense that productivity and happiness would be related, as no one would likely associate “stressed out and unproductive” with happiness. When the minutes and hours of your life pass with you always doing things for, with, or because of other people, this is a signal that you are not in control of your time. And if other people are controlling your time, in a very real way, they are controlling your life.

So it’s important to get back in control, which will make you not only more productive, but happier. Taking the first point about canceling appointments: It’s important to recognize when you are over-committed, and sometimes just begging out of a few appointments or plans you’ve made is a great way to catch your breath and get back in control.

The second one is something I say to my clients and in my classes all the time: “just because the phone is ringing, doesn’t mean you have to answer it.”  And it’s not just the phone. You can take the same attitude for email, instant messages, text messages, Twitter, faxes, snail mail, and all of the other communication methods we are subjected to.

Knowing how to say no is important but I think there’s more to it. Sometimes it’s not as easy to “just say no,” especially if the person asking is your boss. However, this is where having your to-do list out of your head, where you can see it, comes in especially handy. You can only truly manage things when you can see them, and you can only see them when they are out of your head. When your boss comes in to drop yet another assignment on your desk, having your task list available gives you ammunition for a conversation. You can discuss your workload with them, and your priorities, and have a useful dialogue about your workload. This really helps to put you back in control of your time, rather than being helpless to just accept the work that’s always being “dumped on” you.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to comment.