Self Management Skills to Boost Your Effectiveness

Romy Catauta, January 22, 2021
self management

If you feel like you’re failing to keep up with your professional and personal life demands, it might be time to look at your self-management skills. Incorporating self-management strategies into your daily routine will improve your productivity and feeling of well-being.

What is Self Management?

Self-management can look a little different to everyone depending on their personal and professional goals. However the self-management definition boils down to this:

The act of taking control of your behavior in a way that promotes increased productivity and happiness in your professional and personal life.

5 Key Self Management Skills

Whether you’re new to the concept of self-management or have years of experience, everyone can benefit from adding or improving their self-management skills. Below are the skills you should practice on your journey to achieving better self-management:

  • Time management
  • Self-motivation
  • Organization
  • Setting Goals
  • Managing Stress

Let’s take a closer look at these skills. In the next section, we’ll talk about specific strategies you can implement to help you build each skill set.

Time management ⏳

It may seem like the obvious go-to, but time management is one of the most valuable skills you can incorporate into your life to improve your self-management. 

Most of us have to-do lists that outnumber the hours in a day. Instead of letting yourself feel overwhelmed by how you’ll find the time to fit it all in, thinking about the Pareto Principle may help you. 

In the 1840s, Italian Vilfredo Federico Damaso theorized that 80% of results come from a mere 20% of the action. So, try looking at your to-do list and focus on taking action on items that will have the most significant impact on producing results.

Self-motivation 💪

We’ve all struggled with self-motivation, even when it comes to working on something we genuinely want to accomplish. However, people who excel at self-motivation don’t let outside factors influence their ability to achieve the task they set out to perform.

By adjusting your mindset to being motivated to reach your goal regardless of internal and external obstacles, you’ll gain this valuable self-management skillset. 

Organization 📒

When it comes to self-management, the word “organization” refers to both the physical aspect of keeping your personal and workspaces clean and the less tangible aspect of scheduling. 

According to Ikea’s study, people spend nearly 5,000 hours of their lives looking for things. That equates to more than 6.5 months. Needless to say, keeping the physical items around you organized will give you back time, thus improving your self-management.

Staying organized by keeping a schedule is also invaluable for good self-management. Scheduling your activities ensures you stay on track with projects and reduces stress from worrying about forgetting something.

Setting goals 🏆

People with excellent self-management skills understand the importance of goal setting. By having a clearly laid out goal with a timeline of steps needed to reach that goal, you’re more apt to reach personal and professional deadlines.

While it’s fulfilling and motivating to achieve goals, don’t hold back on setting a bold goal for fear of failure. There’s a common belief among successful people that if you achieve everything you set out to do the first time around, you’re not setting your goals high enough.

Managing stress 😨

Stress management is a critical component of self-management. By practicing the skills we covered above, your stress levels will naturally decrease.

Eating healthy and exercising is also an essential component of reducing stress levels. According to the American Psychological Association, 62% of adults who exercise said it’s effective for managing stress.

Self Management Strategies

Now that you have a better idea of the skillsets needed to improve self-management, let’s dive into the strategies you can implement to achieve each one.

Time management strategies

Planning is one of the best time management strategies you can incorporate into your life. Before you start your day, you should have each hour scheduled, including free time. Below are some ideas to help you achieve better time management:

  • Use a time management tool such as Google Calendar, Trello, or Everhour.
  • Prioritize your most important tasks.
  • After you complete each task, re-examen where you’re at in the day and if anything on your schedule needs adjusting.
  • Delegate tasks that can be achieved without your presence. You could also consider hiring freelancers to help you out. For example, if you’re planning to hire a designer, a  freelance designer hiring guide can get you started on thinking about your options and finding the right candidate sooner.

By implementing these time management strategies, you’ll likely find that you stay more focused on tasks, you get your work done quicker, and you improve your work-life balance.

Self-motivation strategies

One of the great things about self-management is that many of the strategies support each other. For example, scheduling and goal setting are excellent ways to improve self-motivation. Let’s take a look at some other great strategies for reviving up your motivation:

  • Remind yourself why you’ve set out to achieve a particular task. When things get hard, it’s easy to become disconnected from the emotional side of what drove you to want to do the task or reach a goal in the first place.
  • Reward yourself when you reach a milestone. Whether it be taking a break, eating a piece of chocolate, or doing anything else you love, knowing a reward is waiting for you will improve your self-motivation.
  • Create positivity and fun. Consistent happiness doesn’t rely on external factors. If you approach your day with a positive and fun attitude from within, your self-motivation will skyrocket. 
  • Avoid distractions. Nothing can throw off your motivation like checking social media for “just a minute” when it turns into much longer than that.

Above all else, be kind to yourself. Better self-management is about self-improvement, and so your motivation should come from a positive and self-loving place. 

Organization strategies

We’ve all met people who have their act together, and one of the biggest roots of this self-management skill is that they live an organized life. If you’re ready to jump on the organizational bandwagon, try out the following strategies:

  • Declutter everything. Donate or throw out anything you don’t use, and develop a storage system for your paperwork and belongings.
  • Consolidate your tasks into one calendar. While there’s value in separating work and personal life, it’s too easy to miss a task if you’re working with two calendars.
  • Take advantage of task management apps such as Asana or Trello.
  • Identify the highest performing hours of the day. Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, know the time of day you’re most productive and schedule tasks that require the highest amount of concentration for that time.

Taking proactive measures to improve how you organize will significantly improve your self-management. You may even find that it opens up more time to get a greater number of tasks done on your to-do list.

Goal setting strategies

Have you ever met a person who seems to always reach their goals? Goal achievement stems from excellent self-management skills. It’s also derived from evaluating missed goals and re-designing them into a new goal. Try out these tips to get started on effective goal setting strategies:

  • Set and schedule deadlines for different stages of your project. If you miss a deadline, set a new one, and evaluate whether it’ll impact your goal’s timing.
  • Don’t procrastinate. You might be tempted to push off your smaller deadlines, combining them before your larger goal’s deadline. However, this almost always leads to decreased motivation and missing your goal. 
  • Seek out a mentor. Having someone with experience to guide and encourage you is invaluable to staying on track with your goals.
  • Be open to feedback. Just because you set a goal doesn’t mean it can’t evolve. Seek out the opinions and feedback of others as you work towards your goal and make tweaks if necessary.

Finally, tell the people in your life about your goal. Although self-management is about improving your own skillsets, there’s value in other people helping to keep you accountable, especially if you’re just starting on your self-management journey.

Stress management strategies

It’s impossible to eliminate stress from life, but having the coping mechanisms to handle it plays a big role in improved self-management. Learning to manage your stress will help you become a healthier and more productive person. Let’s take a look at some stress management strategies: 

  • Meditate. Meditation increases mindfulness and helps the body relax through deep breathing. According to the Mayo Clinic, just a few minutes of meditation per day can reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Exercise. You don’t need to perform intense exercise routines to feel the stress-relieving benefits of exercise—a simple walk around the block will do.
  • Use a smart alarm clock to ensure you’re getting the right amount of sleep, which will reduce stress. The clock will track your sleeping phases and let you know the ideal time for you to wake up.
  • Hug someone every day! No kidding: studies show that hugging reduces the amount of cortisol in your body, which in turn reduces stress.

Ready to Be on Your Way to a Better Self?

There are many benefits to incorporating self-management skills into your life. By working on the strategies we discussed here, you’ll be on your way to a more productive and happier self.

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Romy Catauta

Romy Catauta

Romy Catauta works in the marketing field and is passionate about writing on web design, business, interior design, and psychology.