“Self-management, therefore, is all about becoming your own leader by training your mental, physical, social and intellectual faculties in different ways.” – Dr. Prem Jagyasi
“Making appointments with yourself and scheduling other things around them is key to proactive self-management.” – Michael Hyatt, Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want
“You are your own leader. Where are you driving yourself too now? You cannot afford to go wayward! Rise up and break new territories and live life so well.” – Israelmore Ayivor
In this article, we are going to talk about self-management and how we can improve it. First, let us try and find out what self-management means. Self-management is our ability to manage our behaviour, thoughts and ideas, emotions and feelings in a way that benefits us. And in a way that is productive.
People who are good at self-management know how to act and react in different situations. For example, they know how to manage and control the feelings of being angry when something frustrating happens. They know how to be able to avoid distractions whenever they are working on a project. They know how to meet tight deadlines. They know how to deliver their projects on time. They can manage all facets of their life.
Self-management is a skill that is closely related to another skill that we have talked about a lot in our blog. This skill is called emotional intelligence, which is, the ability to control and manage one’s emotions in a productive way.
Why are they both related? The answer is that emotional intelligence leads to self-management per se. For example, if you are an emotionally intelligent person, it means that you can have self-awareness. And if you are aware of things around you, you can have control over them.
Why is Self-Management Important?
Ok, now we understand what self-management is and the prerequisites for developing such a skill. Now, let us try and think about the benefits of self-management skills. Why do we need them?
If you run or company or lead a business, you will surely appreciate employees with self-management skills. Why? Well, because they are essential and critical to the effective and productive functioning of your business in many important ways.
Such employees have healthy relationships with deadlines, they can stay focused on their tasks. They are also capable of sticking to the strategy adopted by your company or business. They are committed to their projects and professional endeavours. Finally, they are valued by their colleagues and admired by their clients.
Those employees that have good self-management skills are also extremely innovative and resourceful. They can find quick and smart ways of overcoming difficulties and sorting out challenging problems. They have a clear understanding of what is expected of them. They know their responsibilities, are aware of their objectives as well as understand what they need to do to achieve them.
What are the Examples of Self-Management Skills?
Truth be told, the term “self-management” may sound a little too broad. Let us provide some examples which can give you a better idea of what these skills are about.
- Being organized. People who can organize themselves are good when it comes to self-management. They can understand how to prioritise tasks and execute them. They are also good at controlling their physical space and allocating their energy so as not to waste it. Moreover, they are good at taking care of their mental health and understanding its importance for their productivity.
- Being able to manage your time effectively. This skill is closely related to self-management. If you can manage your time effectively it means that you know how to prioritise tasks – understand which one needs to be done first and which one could be put on the back burner. Such an ability helps to complete tasks on time. Not only does time management allow you to finish your project on time and receive positive feedback from your boss. It also has a positive effect on the productivity of the team a part of which you are.
- Being able to have initiative. People who have initiative usually can work on their own and require little or no supervision. Employers appreciate and value initiative as they know that those employees who have it are prepared to take risks and take appropriate action if a situation requires them to do so.
How You Can Improve Your Self-Management Skills
Now, let us think about how we can help you to improve your self-management skills. The truth is that not many people are good at managing themselves. Do you ever catch yourself watching TV or talking to your friends on Facebook when you have some big homework to do? Have you ever got a bad mark for failing to do your homework or for doing your homework poorly? Have you ever failed at a school task because you were unable to deal with distractions that stole all your time?
If you answered “yes” to one of these questions, then it may be possible that you are struggling with self-management. So, let us go back to our original questions – how can you help yourself improve your self-management skills?
- Identify your strong and weak points. If you understand your strengths and weaknesses, you can make effective use of them. After identifying your weaknesses, make a conscious effort to work and improve them.
- Learn how to work with deadlines – this ability is a crucial component of any time management skills. So, for example, you can take a piece of homework or a school project that you have been assigned and set your own deadline (earlier, of course) for completing this task. Or you can also choose any house chore – like washing the dishes and set a deadline for its completion too. Although setting deadlines for these tasks may seem unnecessary at first, getting into the habit of doing so can pay off in the future. It will help you get into this frame of mind that every task needs to be completed at a certain time. Believe me, it is extremely valuable and if you learn to have a healthy relationship with deadlines you will be an asset to any business or company.
- Make a conscious effort to develop your emotional intelligence. In the first paragraphs of this article, we were talking about how emotional intelligence and self-management skills are closely related. So, it makes sense that you need to pay close attention to developing your emotional intelligence. You can find a lot of useful advice on our Blog on how to develop your ability to notice, understand and manage your emotions.
- Do not be late. Being able to come to school on time is a good habit as it can help you in the future. When you start working, you will understand that being punctual is a skill that many employers also value. So, start developing this important habit as early as possible.
- Focus on one task at a time – avoid the temptation of doing several tasks at once. If you are struggling with self-management and time management, then trying to juggle a few things at once may not be a promising idea. When you do one thing at a time you are also helping yourself avoid unnecessary stress. Just make a to-do list and once you finish a task, tick it off on your list.
- Do not forget to take care of your health and mental well-being. Nutritious food and good sleep will help you feel better and contribute to better health. This, in turn, will give you the strength to manage tasks and commitments as they come your way. Learn simple relaxation techniques and use them whenever you feel overwhelmed by the work that you must do. And remember the better your mental health is, the more likely it is that you will be able to manage your life well.
Self-management skills play a vital role in our life. They have a direct effect on our productivity and performance at work. If you want to be able to achieve your professional goals in the future, and attract employers and recruiters, you may want to think about improving these skills.
Russ Gadzhiev obtained his PhD in history and politics from University of Melbourne. He also holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Moscow State University of International Relations, a top-ranking diplomatic school. Russ is a strong education professional with a history of working in the higher education sector of Australia and effectively communicates with learners from diverse cultural backgrounds. He is enthusiastic about teaching and mentoring, writing, curriculum development, research, information management and public speaking. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Portuguese.