Hot-air Baloon

Ch-9: Create a Better World for Yourself and Others

Section 3: O-PATSM: The Heart of Managing Your Time and Yourself
Tom G. Stevens PhD
Psychologist/Professor Emeritus, California State University, Long Beach
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Chapter 9,  Part 3, from You Can Choose To Be Happy,  Tom G. Stevens PhD
Go to book Contents  Go to chapter contents   Go to Dr. Stevens' Home Page

O-PATSM: A system for managing your time and your life;
learn how to accomplish more and have more fun!

 To attain your dreams, take one small step each
 Do you have too little time for yourself--and for fun?

From dreams and values to actions--creating the worlds we want


Do any of the following apply to you?

  1. Are you too busy? Do you feel overwhelmed with too many things to do?
  2. Does your life ever feel out of control?
  3. Do you often feel disorganized? Do you have trouble setting priorities?
  4. Is your life out of balance? Do you neglect one or more life areas?
  5. Do you worry about accomplishing enough or about being more successful?
  6. Do you lack enough decisiveness, self-discipline, or self-motivation?
  7. Do you ever feel adrift--like a small sailboat in a storm--to be thrown here and there by powerful outside forces? Do you long to have a course you can follow consistently?

"Yes" answers to any of these questions may indicate that your self-management system is in need of repair or that you need to find a whole new system. Several "yes" answers may indicate that you don't have a good, conscious, daily self-management system.

Most of us have a values-action gap. By values-action gap I mean that there may be little or no conscious connection between our daily actions and the satisfaction of our values and goals. We may spend most of our time reacting to situations instead of consciously planning our time and actions--to see that our values are adequately met. The values-action gap often causes unhappiness in one or more life areas.

If we don't regularly check in with the Higher Self to see how we want to spend our time in each area of our life, then we will not have any internal direction based upon our highest goals. The Higher Self can help us resist the external forces around us that are attempting to influence our time and actions. Family, friends, employers, teachers, and many others are constantly giving us messages to get us to spend our time in ways that they prefer. What is the source of our internal messages that provide us with internal direction? Often these quiet inner voices get drowned out in the face of the external demands.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you decided to make some changes, but later discovered that you had forgotten all about the resolutions you had made just a few weeks before? Perhaps you lacked a good self-management system to remind you of your goals each day. Learn to be proactive not reactive!

The little voice from within--representing your innermost desires--
may be weak compared to the loud demands
from your external environment.
Develop your internal compass to keep you on course.

Return to beginning


THE VALUES-EMOTIONS LINK: Get control of values to get control of emotions

One of my clients, a woman in her mid twenties, had been battling severe depression and suicidal thoughts for many years. She had been hospitalized for depression more than once. While she was a student at the university, I counseled with her on and off for several years and she had steadily improved. Three years after leaving the university, she came back to see me, and told me about how happy she was and how well she had beaten her depression.

I asked her what had been the biggest factor in overcoming her depression. She said, "Using the O-PATSM system." I was shocked. Because, during her appointments, we had focused on her interpersonal relationships. I had only casually recommended to her one day that she read the O-PATSM manual. I wasn't even aware she had been using the system.

When I asked her why O-PATSM was so important to her, she replied, "The main reason I was depressed was that I always felt like my life was out of control. Using the O-PATSM system gave me control of my life. For the first time, I could figure out what I wanted, set goals, and get what I wanted. I didn't have to please anyone else or depend on anyone else--just me."

O-PATSM bridges the GAP between VALUES and ACTIONS. The O-PATSM system gives us the conscious bridge to the values-action gap that we need to maintain conscious internal control of our lives. We have written lists of each stage of the process that we can keep checking. They remind us of what we said were our values and goals when we took time to look at the big picture. Study the O-PATSM figure now to see the different parts of the O-PATSM system and to see how they connect with each other to bridge the gap between our values and our actions. My research with the Life Skills Questionnaire found that just using parts of the PATSM system correlated .38 with overall happiness for the past three years.


The O-PATSM Self-Management System, and how it bridges the gap between values and behavior 

A checklist for each part acts as a perfect memory device and keeps us accountable to ourselves. Each O-PATSM link can serve as a perfect memory so we don't lose sight of our beacons. Each checklist is a reminder of what we said was important during times when we had a better perspective on our lives.

O-PATSM gives us more internal control over the external forces that are constantly interfering with our priorities.

Return to beginning

To use O-PATSM, complete the following steps:

Step 1: Clarify values and dreams. Create a values checklist.

Step 2: Write goals and objectives.  Every few months create a written set of goals and objectives and a written average weekly schedule--based upon satisfying all of the values on your values checklist.

Step 3: Hold regular self-management sessions--and create a new written, prioritized to-do list, which covers your important to-dos from each area of your life.

Step 4: Consult the to-do lists before you decide upon activities. Use this to-do list on a moment-to-moment basis to set priorities and decide what you want to do next.

Since we check each item from the past week's to-do lists as we make our new weekly to-do lists, we cannot forget any to-do for very long. Likewise, we check all of our objectives weekly to see what progress we are making on them. Thus, we have a complete accountability system for sticking to our important values and goals. We know what progress we are making. Our lists remind us of what we really want.

Completing important tasks and making progress on goals increase our confidence and motivation to accomplish even more. In the long run, this process can dramatically affect our self-esteem.

 We may not get everything done on our to-do lists; but as long as we keep doing the highest priority items first, then we will make sure that we get the most important things done. And we will spend most of our time engaged in "A" priority activities. Our life will be spent in "A" quality time-being productive and having fun! What more can we ask from life?

O-PATSM--an acronym for good self-management. To help you remember the key aspects of this self-management system, remember the meaning of each O-PATSM letter.

O = OBJECTIVES. Write them at least once a year and use weekly to make to-do lists.

P = PRIORITIES. Prioritize all objectives and to-do's. Do highest priority first and best.

A = All life AREAS. Take good care of yourself in every life area--achieve balance.

T = TO-DO lists. Make weekly and daily lists. Keep with you and use at all times.

S = SELF-MANAGEMENT SESSIONS. Take 1 hour each week to get control of your life. Make that time sacred!

M = MOMENT-TO-MOMENT use of the system. What do you want to do right now?

The above is an overview of O-PATSM. In the next sections I will provide the details you need to make this system work for you.



Learning how to set priorities is a crucial aspect of the O-PATSM system. We need to be setting priorities constantly--while writing goals and objectives, while writing weekly to-do's and during moment-to-moment decisions about what do in the next time frame. Following is a list of guidelines. Learn these well so that you can begin to establish them as automatic habits.

1. Prioritize all activities "A," "B," or "C" by how much they contribute to your overall happiness. You may want to use finer divisions of priorities if needed such as A+, A-, etc or A1, A2, etc. The highest priority activity is the one which contributes most to the overall happiness of yourself and others over the longest period of time.

2. Recognize that "A"'s provide the most satisfaction of your values over time. That is the definition of an "A" activity. Balance immediate versus long-range values and self- versus other-oriented values. Try giving high priority to some items from every major life area.

3. Spend as much time on the "A"s and as little time on the "C"s as possible. Recognize that you can't do everything. You probably don't have enough time to accomplish everything you would like. A restatement of my ultimate goal of happiness is to spend as much of my time as possible doing "A" activities and as little time as possible doing "C" activities. (These are process goals.)

If you can't be productive or have fun, then why do it? Try applying your priorities to how you spend other resources--such as your energy and money.

4.  Do "A"s as well as possible, and the "C"s as quickly as possible--or not at all--or get others (to whom they are important) to do them. A high "A" activity or goal is worth the resources required to do it at a high level of quality, a "C" activity is not. Compulsive, over-perfectionistic people are ineffective because they waste so much time on the "C"s.

On the other hand, other people do their "A"'s quickly or poorly. Or, they may avoid doing the "A"s because they seem too overwhelming or unpleasant. These people become sloppy or erratic. They are ineffective doing the most important things in their lives. They often feel like failures or "losers."

The ideal is to be perfectionistic on the highest "A"'s and to be "quick and dirty" on the "C"s. Or, don't do them at all. If the activity is important to someone else, normally let that person be responsible for getting it done.

5. Discriminate between your true priorities and others' priorities (for you). Act accordingly. Balancing your own values against the requests, demands, and needs of others who you may care a great deal about is difficult. Assertiveness includes the ability to pursue your own values actively--even in the face of opposition, ridicule, or threats. In addition, assertiveness means caring about others and their values and needs.

6. Spend one hour each week planning how to spend the other 112 waking hours. This is the best investment you can make of your time, because it determines how effective and happy you will be with the other 111 hours. Just a 1% increase in effectiveness and happiness more than repays that one hour.

Return to beginning


Are you ready to start testing the O-PATSM system in your own life? I suggest that you try it for a minimum of four weeks. If you are ready to start, follow steps 1-4 below.

STEP 1: CLARIFY VALUES AND DREAMS. First make a written values checklist as described earlier. This process includes prioritizing your values and understanding your ideal and minimal expectations.

STEP 2:  WRITE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES. Make written lists of general long-term goals and more immediate and specific goals (objectives). Every 3-6 months, revise your objective lists. The objectives should be specific, time limited, and clear about what to do to meet them. For example, write "I will play tennis an average of 3 times per week" not "I will get more active."


(With priorities, life areas, and objectives)


A         1. Complete rough draft of book by end of January.

A         2. Read at least 2 books on writing style and publishing.        ETC


B+      1.Activity with another couple at least average 2/month.      

B+      2.Socialize with work friends at least 30 minutes, 2-3/wk.

A 3.See close friends for lunch, etc. 2-3/month.   ETC

  Health & Physical Activity

A         1.Play or practice tennis 3 to 5 times per week.

B+      2.Do 5-minute warm-up exercises each morning.

A-        3.Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day.

A         4. Get regular checkups

B 5. Read health articles and subscribe to heath magazine        ETC


A         1 Have nights high quality time Wed, Fri, Sat.nights

A         2. Sunday day together doing what we feel like

A         3.Take weekend vacation at least once per 12 weeks.

A-        4.Go to concerts, dance, plays, etc. at least 1 per month.

A         5. Vacations: Summer to Maui, Winter: Skiing 10+ days        ETC


A         1.Plan in relaxation or safety-valve periods each day.

B+      2.Speak more concisely and focus on results more.

A         3. Focus on improving writing skills 

A         4. Keep working on development of Life themes and generating positive thoughts. ETC

OTHER OF MY LIFE AREAS INCLUDE Family-Friends, Career, Financial, Home Maintenance, etc.


Prioritize all objectives and to-dos "A," "B," or "C" according to how important they are for satisfying your values, these priorities can empower your decisions later about what will make you the happiest. (See 6-Month Objectives Example.)





 7am ------ GET UP SLEEPY HEAD, WAKE-UP EXERCISE, EAT, ETC ------------------ 


 8am           Self-Mangmt         Appointments                Appointments                Appointments


 9am           Appointments               Crisis Hour             Appointments              Appointments


 10am          Appointments               Appointments           Staff Meeting               Appointments


 11am          Appointments               Workshops             Meetings                   Workshops


 12am           Lunch                     Lunch                 Lunch                     Lunch


  1pm          Admin                    Special Projects            Supervision                Special Projects


 2pm          Appointments               Special Projects            Univ Planning Committee     Special Projects


 3pm          Crisis Hour                 Special Projects                                    Special Projects    


 4pm          Appointments               Special Projects               "                     Special Projects


 5pm          Appointments               Special Projects               Chores                 Special Projects


 6pm          Class                                Tennis           Sherry/Nite-out             Tennis


 7pm          Class                                Tennis                 "                  Tennis


 8pm          Dinner, etc                   Dinner, etc                 "                           Dinner, etc


 9pm          Relax, etc                    Relax, etc                 Relax, etc                       Relax, etc


 10pm          "                       "                                       "                       "


 11pm        BEDTIME--------------------------------------------------------------------->>


Prioritize all objectives and to-dos "A," "B," or "C" according to how important they are for satisfying your values, these priorities can empower your decisions later about what will make you the happiest. (See Objectives figure.)
Return to beginning

Make a Typical Weekly Schedule. Make a schedule that will list every waking hour of every day Monday through Sunday. I generally make only one of these per semester. On that schedule I list all of my regular activities such as work activities like appointment times, classes, regular meetings, and creative time. I also list all of my regular personal life activities such as reserved times for Sherry, my tennis times, my chore times, and my thinking or alone times. This schedule is flexible, but serves as a useful guideline to make sure I have a regular time in my schedule for my "A" activities. My schedule is a powerful rudder for resisting outside forces.


Making this schedule in itself requires some practical resolution of inner conflicts. Your inner conflicts often make themselves felt most in conflicts over how you spend your time. Create a typical weekly schedule that embeds the conflict resolution into your life (and helps break old habits).

For example, if I build tennis into my schedule, I assure that my inner tennis player and my inner health expert will get their needs met. Writing a typical weekly schedule is a necessary part of writing objectives, because I cannot play tennis three times per week unless I can build those times into my schedule. If I cannot find the three times without interfering with some other goals too much, then I must compromise and only play tennis two times per week. (See Proposed Weekly Schedule figure.)

Return to beginning

STEP 3:  HOLD REGULAR SELF-MANAGEMENT SESSIONS once per week. Find a time on your schedule that you make "sacred" for your weekly self management sessions. Possibly use an hour of "work time" for planning. At that time, do the following:

(1) Review last week's to-dos. Review and check off what you have accomplished on the past week's to-do list. Re-write (at a later time) or eliminate items you have not completed.

(2) Make your new to-do list for the coming week. Consult your list of objectives as you write your prioritized to-dos. This is critical in bridging the values-action gap. Prioritize all to-dos and make sure you cover every life area.

(3) Check in with your current feelings. Since your feelings reflect your current value satisfaction and your feelings about the future, they can help you see if you are overlooking any important issues. As a result of checking your feelings, you may want to modify your objectives or change your to-dos for the week.

Get a to-do book that you can carry with you at all times and can get to within 3 seconds. I recommend a small calendar that has two pages for each week (for most people). Make separate weekly and daily to-do lists. Try dividing lists into work and personal lists. You can also make special lists like "errands" and "phone calls." Each time you write down an item, put an "A," "B," or "C" beside it. Write your "A" items at the top. (See the weekly to-do book figure.)

1. Weekly to-do lists include to-dos that can be done any time that week.

2. Daily to-do lists include to-dos that are targeted for specific days (Eg. appointments, deadlines, activities, etc.)

3. Weekly Sublists divide to-dos into types. I have separate lists for work, personal, phone calls, errands, or special meetings or agendas.

4. Other lists: This book is my MASTER LIST. I keep other special lists elsewhere.

Examples: *goals/objectives, lesson plans, special projects (see two-dimensional list figure below), shopping lists, and detailed agendas. Counseling appointments kept by receptionist.

Weekly Work List
A+ Edit Ch-8
A-write PEP report
A-abstract search

B-start GE proposal
B-get travel forms
B-plan workshop dates
B-install new software
B-reference letters

C-get performance tickets



A-proposal to planning
B-meet with dean

Course Prep

A-write exam
A-revise lesson 14
B-make new overheads
B-check on duplication





Monday 15
A-call M. Das

12-meet w/ Alan

*hand back papers
*lesson 12


Tuesday 16

A-mail CE money

12-meet w/Mike

4:30 meet w/students association

6:30 Lance, tennis

Wednesday 17

B-car in

12 A-meet w/ dept chairs

2-4 A-Planning & EP Council

A-Broginos nite out


Weekly Personal
A-plan summer trip
A-plans w/friends
B-car in for check-up
B-copy 8mm videos
B-work on serve



Phone Calls
A-schedule cpr meeting
A- get concert tickets
B-check on payees
B-kids for dinner


B-computer parts
B-Fedco (see list)
C-groceries (see list)





Thursday 18
A-workshop prep

4:30 meet w/ student assoc

6:30 Mark tennis



Friday 19
7:15 meet w/ Clyde

1-4: Depression wkshop

A-pizza & movie



Saturday 20
9:30 Dave, tennis


A-prep for class

Sunday 21

A-trip to Balboa?




Weekly To-Do Book:

  • A calendar showing one week at a time that fits in a pocket or purse easily. 

  • Tear the right corner to go instantly to the current week.

  • Items are prioritized A, B, or C.


STEP 4:  CONSULT THE TO-DO LISTS BEFORE DECIDING ON ACTIVITIES. The final part of bridging the values-action gap is using your to-do list in your daily moment-to-moment life. Follow these simple rules.

Do the highest priority items first! This is at the heart of good time management. If you do the highest priority items first, then you will spend most of your life in high priority and high quality activities. If you spend your time on low priority activities, you may never get to the most productive and enjoyable times of your life.

Do the highest priority activities with high quality and spend more time on them. 
Do the lower priority activities as quickly as possible
, put them off, or don't do them at all.

"What am I going to do now?" This is the most important question in your life! Because "right now" is all that you can ever control. Your current thoughts and actions determine the outcomes that you will have to live with in future moments. The most important answer to that question is, "I will choose the alternative that I think will create the most overall happiness."

If your values, goals, 6-month objectives, and to-do's are well thought out and reflect your ultimate concern, then the item marked with an "A" on your to-do list will contribute most to that ultimate happiness. Get in the habit of looking at your list before making decisions about what to do next--because your list represents the quiet, inner voice of your dreams.

Return to beginning

One step at a time, one day at a time. These little decisions about what we will think and do right now usually seem insignificant at the time, but these are the decisions that--when added together over a longer period of time--have huge effects on our life. Saying little loving remarks an extra few times per day can have dramatic effects over a longer period of time.

Smoking cigarettes 20 times a day can have dramatic effects on our health. Putting a little extra time into studying each day can make the difference between an "A" and a "C" at the end of the semester. These little actions make the difference between a happy marriage and a divorce, between life and death, and between getting the job you want or not.

To attain your dreams, take one small step each week. A friend of mine, who was a 50- plus year old woman had a dream for many years to climb Mt. Everest--even though she had never done any mountain climbing. But she had assumed she was too old. One day, she questioned that assumption. She decided to go as far toward her goal as possible, and decided to not let negative assumptions stop her.

That week she bought a pair of mountain climbing boots and enrolled in a mountain climbing class. She has since climbed a number of mountains and loves it. Some day she may make it part way up Mt. Everest! Dreams--even impractical ones--can come true if we take one step at a time.


Two-Dimensional To-Do List--to track several task areas
(College student example tracking classes for semester)







MON, Oct 22

A-Write Essay




TUE, Oct 23

A-Finish Ch9

A-Problems DUE



WED, Oct 24


A-Exam Review 1

A-Read Ch5


THUR, Oct 25


A-Exam Review 2



FRI, Oct 26

A-Essay DUE



here or

SAT, Oct 27





SUN, Oct 28

A-Read Ch10

A-Start Ch13

A-Do Lab Problems







Repeat Each











STUDENTS: (1) Make a "blank" to-do book for the entire semester; (2) fill in the due dates of all assignments from course syllabi, (3) do the detail for the next week during your self-management session, (4) update each time you study.

MANAGERS AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS can use the same two-dimensional format to organize complex projects, businesses, etc. For example, a small business owner might use headings such as Marketing, Personnel, Legal, Financial, Customers, etc. List the days/dates along the vertical axis and the task areas (example: marketing, finance, personnel, operations) along the horizontal axis.

Return to beginning


By consciously focusing and planning to get your values met, you increase the odds that you will actually get them met. You will probably begin to see improvements in every area of your life. This may seem like a miracle as if we are creating more time, but it isn't.

PRACTICE: Try using O-PATSM for at least one month. Consider the time-management system you have been using. Try using the O-PATSM system for one month. This was the challenge I made to several thousand students who took my self-management workshops. After trying it for one month, their follow-up ratings of O-PATSM's "overall usefulness" averaged over 8.0 on a 9-point scale. They also rated over a 90% probability that they would continue to use O-PATSM. To use O-PATSM, carefully follow this chapter's instructions.


Do you have too much to do and too little time to do it? Do you feel too stressed, anxious, or guilty about not getting more done? If so, you sound like hundreds of people from all types of professions who have taken my self-management workshops.

A woman who held a high executive position told me that as she had been more and more successful in her work, but had begun to suffer from hurry sickness. She rushed through almost everything she did and therefore even many of the fun things in life had become chores to her that she would just rush through. As she had taken on more and more responsibilities at work, she had less and less time for herself.

She felt good about her work, but overall was feeling more stressed and less happy as a person. Ultimately, she added more time for herself and her family (by spending less personal time on her work). It was a big gamble for her. She had assumed that it was essential for her to spend all of this extra time on her job. She had a huge fear of failing at her job if she took this risk.

She took the risk. She used O-PATSM and got more assertive about setting priorities at work. She focused more on quality instead of quantity. She also focused more on doing what she thought was important versus doing what others expected. The quality of her life improved dramatically!

If we add activities, we must subtract something. It may seem too obvious to say that we only have a fixed amount of time, but we may often forget that fact when we make new commitments. Often we add something and fool ourselves into thinking we are not subtracting something--only to find that we are subtracting peace of mind. Ask yourself, "What will be the costs of adding that new activity?" I prefer to choose what I will subtract--instead of leaving it to chance.

If I am considering teaching an extra class, I ask myself how working 12 hours on Mondays, reducing tennis once a week, and taking time away from my chore time on Saturday afternoons will affect my happiness for the semester? How can I juggle my schedule to reduce the impact of adding this class? How do these loses compare to the gains?

What if we have too many responsibilities and too little time for ourselves? In one of my classes a woman raised her hand and was visibly angry when I said it was possible to have fun, enjoy life, and be very productive. She said, "Dr. Stevens, you may have time to play tennis, go out, and travel a lot, but I have too many responsibilities to have any time for myself or for playing. I am a professional and when I come home every day I have to take care of three children, feed my family, do the dishes, clean-up after everyone, and put the kids to bed. On the weekends I shop, do the laundry, clean the house, work in the yard, go to my kids activities, and lots more. You tell me how am I going to find any time to have fun!"

Before I could answer, another woman sitting right behind her raised her hand. She said, "Dr. Stevens I would like to say something to this lady." She turned to her and said, "I also work full time as a professional and I have five children and a husband. But I still do almost all of the things that Dr. Stevens does to enjoy life. I play tennis twice or more a week, go out with my husband once or twice a week, travel a lot, and have time for myself. Would you like to know how I do this?"

The first woman was very interested, so she continued, "In my family, I don't do many things for people. Instead, I am the household manager. Everyone takes care of themselves and has chores that contribute to the whole family. My job is to organize it all and to follow-up. The result is that everyone has learned to be cooperative and independent. My children have learned how to take responsibility for themselves, do very well in school, and get their chores done without my saying much."

The first woman had been taking care of everyone in her family and had never learned how to be assertive about getting everyone organized or learned to at least do no more than her share. The second woman and her family had learned to prioritize their activities. They spent as much time as possible in quality activities and tried to get their chores done as efficiently as possible. Everyone did their share, so no one had too much to do.

Return to beginning

Do you have too little time for yourself--and for fun? I play tennis three or more times per week, spend at least three or more quality nights with my wife Sherry, take a full day with Sherry on the weekend, visit with friends, spend time with children, and work outside my job time on creative activities such as my book. In addition, Sherry and I split the chores pretty evenly.

Sherry also works full time and has a schedule similar to mine. Almost all of our time is spent in interesting or fun activities. Yet, we have also learned to normally avoid scheduling so much that we feel too rushed. Several good friends have said that we lead the best lives of anyone they know. We appreciate those comments very much.

The principles of the O-PATSM system and balancing activities are major factors in why this all works so well for us. Each day typically includes challenging mental activity, interpersonal activity, and physical activity. Also, we spend time in beautiful settings, give and receive affection, eat well, sleep well, and spend time alone.

Our year has various times where we may focus more on one interest than another--skiing, spring plays and concerts, summer travel to Maui or elsewhere, the Hollywood Bowl season, fall romantic dinners by the fire and TV mysteries, and finally, the holiday season. These activities contribute to values of romance, beauty, creativity, exploration, sports, travel, family, and friends. I hope your life is (or will be) at least as interesting and fun. O-PATSM can help!


SHAQ Research Results: Self-Management Habits


   The Self-Management scale was designed to test the main aspects of the OPATSM system and some self-development habits. This scale correlated with Happiness, .66; with Low Depression, .40; with Low Anxiety, .32; with Low Anger-Aggr, .38; with good Relationships, .50; with Health, 47; with Income, .10; with Education, .14; and with college GPA, .20.  


The four self-management subscales follow.

1. OPATSM time-management habits correlated with Happiness, .41; with Low Depression, .20 with Low Anxiety, .11; with Low Anger-Aggr, .13; with Relationships, .35; with Health, .26 with Income, .02; with Education, .07; and with college GPA, .11.

2. Busy, efficient task accomplishment correlated with Happiness, .55; with Low Depression, .39; with Low Anxiety, .30; with Low Anger-Aggr, .28; with Relationships, .34; with Health, 29; with Income, .07; with Education, .06; and with college GPA, .08.

3. Self-health care correlated with Happiness, .46; with Low Depression, .27 with Low Anxiety, .22; with Low Anger-Aggr, .28; with Relationships, .33; with Health, .59; with Income, .09; with Education, .13; and with college GPA, .14.

4. Self-development, habit change correlated  with Happiness, .56; with Low Depression, .30 with Low Anxiety, .23; with Low Anger-Aggr, .35; with Relationships, .42; with Health, 35; with Income, .09; with Education, .15; and with college GPA, .17.


   Self-management is a key factor associated with happiness and less negative emotions. It also has surprisingly high correlations with relationships and is associated with health, income, and educational outcomes. However, our data show that few people really follow all or even most of the OPATSM system practices. Therefore, I think that the data actually underestimates the value of putting all of those elements together—especially in the areas of career and academic success.


Note: For all correlations, p < .0001 and Ns ranged from 1448 to 3226. 


Chapter Summary:

Clarify your values,
develop a variety of interests and routes to happiness,
reflect and plan regularly, and
spend as much time as possible in high quality activities.
If you do, you can overcome the external forces pushing you off course,
and you will become more internally controlled.
One day at a time,
you will create a better world for yourself and others.

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The BOOK (free download): Go to Contents of Dr. Stevens'  book,  You Can Choose To Be Happy: "Rise Above" Anxiety, Anger, and Depression.

FREE SELF-HELP materials available on this web site (click here to see list)  

  How to ORDER You Can Choose To Be Happy  

Success and Happiness Attributes Questionnaire (SHAQ)  to assess self on many factors  including HQ-Happiness Quotient 

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California State University, Long Beach Counseling and Psychological Services.
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