What is Self-Management
Self-Management pertains to your ability to control yourself and regulate yourself with regards to your behaviour, thoughts and emotions in order to perform your best no matter the situation you are in.
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According to Transforming Education, being able to manage yourself includes being able to manage your stress, self-motivate, work towards your goals whilst at the same time delaying gratification. Being able to do so maximizes your productivity and could help improve your academic or work performance.
Indeed talks about some examples of self-management skills and in this article, I will expand on three of them. Being able to self-motivate, efficiently organize, and manage your stress on a day to day basis will help you get through your day with possibly the best outcome instead of just trying to “survive” the day.
Table of Contents
- What is Self-Management
- Self-Motivation is Key to Self-Management
- Organization Skills are Essential in Self-Management
- Stress-Management is Part of Self-Management
Self-Motivation is Key to Self-Management
There’s a friction in getting things done or performing any task no matter how mundane they are if there is no motivation. However, unlike the common knowledge that you need motivation first before you can act, the key to self-motivation is knowing that “Action leads to motivation, not the other way around”.
Your first action will give you that momentum you need to continue performing no matter how small that first action may be. Instead of passively waiting or being reactive to external motivators such as inspiring videos and books, we can choose to “actively inspire ourselves” by making that first move. Sometimes, Nike’s slogan, “Just Do it” helps me by mentally shutting off all the reasons not to do it.
Knowing your “Why” is cliche because it’s true.
Simon Sinek says our “Why” is the cause, the purpose, or the belief that drives each one of us. I’ve been hearing a lot about this “Why” to the point that it sounds cliche but it does matter. Although The Four Tendencies may argue that not every person needs a “why” to get motivated, figuring out yours could help give you more reason to perform better on a day to day. Not every situation to perform will be ideal so to effectively do self-management means to effectively self-motivate from time to time. Having a reason to go back to could help you in times of distress or struggles.
Showing up takes practice. You don’t get it the first time around.
By no means am I promoting burning yourself out. If you’re tired, take a rest. I think that balance in life matters. However, doing things you have to do even though you don’t want to do them at that moment is a skill. If it’s a skill, it takes practice and it means you don’t get good at it the first time around.
I think that “showing up” to tasks or work despite “not feeling like it” is a habit just as how it could easily be a habit to be late or to not attend anything at all. James Clear discusses in his book, “Atomic Habits”, about mastering this habit of showing up because this is the basic thing you can do before you get to improve and get better in doing whatever it is you need to show up at.
Organization Skills are Essential in Self-Management
Disorganization leads you to stress and confusion and even causes you to paralyze and not do anything at all. Getting into the practice of constantly organizing your physical space, digital space, and mental headspace could make your everyday feel lighter and more productive and therefore making you better at self-management. The more you organize on a regular schedule, the less organization you have to do.
Organizing Your Physical Space
The very visible sign of an organized person is his or her environment. Unorganized spaces could be disruptive to one’s or people’s productivity and could even increase or lead to stress. Practicing self-management means being able to control how you behave in your environment, which includes your efficiency in organization. The more organized your space is, the less time you need to “look for things”. Clutter could encourage creativity, but if you want to be productive, it could be threatening.
Of course, it could seem daunting to clean and organize everything all at once. 5-10 minute cleaning and organizing everyday could help you in the long run. What helps me is to only clean in “zones”. I don’t clean everything in my room all at once. I either focus on my desk, or my closet, or my bed area. This helps me not get overwhelmed and actually get things done.
Organizing Your Digital Space
There are now a lot of applications and systems you can use and adapt to help you organize your digital space for better self-management. I would recommend a regular organization of your files such as emptying your trash and sorting out your downloads, and backing up everything on the cloud to make sure you have everything on the go.
Organizing Your Mental Headspace
Clutter affects your mental health but aside from organizing your physical space in order to manage your headspace, there are other things you could do which would help in self-management.
Journaling and meditation are two of the means to help yourself remain calm in any situation. Listing down your thoughts and emotions will help get them out of your head. Doing breathing exercises could help you refocus and ground yourself.
In order to efficiently manage yourself, it would help to practice the skills that will enable you to not get over your head or lose control because of what you think and feel.
When it comes to your tasks or things you need to take note of, it would be wise not to rely on your own memory. Jotting things down will remove the pressure to remember and at the same time help you organize, look at tasks, and tackle them one at a time.
Stress-Management is Part of Self-Management
Stress-management pertains to the techniques you can practice in order to control or alleviate your levels of stress. There are physical exercises and mental exercises you could do in order to effectively manage your stress.
Manage Stress Physically
Exercise is a giveaway but it really is helpful when it comes to self-management and stress-management. According to Mayo Clinic, it boosts your endorphins and distracts you from daily worries. As a plus, physical activity helps improve your sleep and better sleep is equal to better stress management.
Eating healthy meals doesn’t only positively affect your body but it also affects your mental health. It lessens the effects of stress, levels your mood, builds up your immune system, and lowers your blood pressure.
Lack of sleep adds to your stress levels and therefore a good night sleep would definitely help. Although insomnia could be caused by stress, you would want to practice good sleeping habits before reaching this sleep disorder. If you do have insomnia, you could see a doctor to help with medication or treatment.
Manage Stress Mentally
Meditation helps you organize your headspace and therefore could also help you lower your stress and alleviate anxiety. With meditation, you’ll be able to practice focusing your attention on one thing at a time whether it’s your breathing, word, or object. It would help you look at your thoughts and practice noticing them without judgement.
Spending time with loved ones helps calm and lower your stress levels. Connecting with people in person helps the body release the hormone that stops the fight-or-flight response and therefore, you end up relaxing.
When you realize that your thoughts are not you and that not all of them are true, you start to detach yourself from them. The voice in your head affects your stress levels most definitely, but it helps to know that you are still in control. When you learn to practice the techniques, it would most likely help you manage your stress and therefore effectively perform self-management.
There are a lot of ways or skills you could use to effectively do self-management. These are only three of some of them but I think they play a huge role in helping you get started and continue.