6 Tips for Self Management

Perspective can mean everything. For some leaders, managing others has been refined to a science. Workflow and production run without a hitch, employees are driven, monitored, and results fall perfectly into forecasts.  Why then, when it is so easy to catch glitches and overcome obstacles for others, can it be challenging to look at ourselves with the same clarity? What of the managers who run perfectly efficient work teams, but find themselves taking shortcuts, missing commitments, and feeling overwhelmed.

Self management is a skill that can take years to master and a lifetime to maintain. Self management is not just about time management, nor is it simply the art of making to-do lists. It does involve learning to resist or delay an impulse. Self management as a practice is similar to managing others, and involves goal setting, action planning, inspiration, and execution.

Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Command your impulses– It’s hard to say “no” to yourself; especially when you’re giving yourself those big, sad, puppy-dog-eyes.  But developing the ability to set and reinforce personal boundaries is perhaps the most critical aspect of self management.  The key is to act rather than react.  Sure, a fudge-drenched banana split would make a delicious dinner, but you’ve already prepared for tonight’s kale and kohlrabi salad. Right?
  2. Motivate yourself– Personal drive is more often a discipline than a personality trait. Even individuals prone to ingenious plans and spurts of creativity find it challenging to see a brilliant idea all the way to fruition.  Sales guru Zig Ziglar said, “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” The trick is to have a big dream and keep your eye on it.  Vision and purpose have more inspiration-power than deadlines.
  3. Cultivate good habits– Look closely at your daily routine. When are you distracted? What pulls you off course? It is extremely difficult to simply eradicate bad habits and time wasters. Your best bet is to replace old habits with new ones.
  4. Prioritize your tasks– It’s easy to see when others aren’t best spending their energy, but it can be difficult to see our own spinning wheels. Just ask yourself: If I could only get one thing accomplished today, what would it be? If your daily to-do list can’t fit on a single page, it’s time to pare down and delegate.
  5. Shed perfectionism– Not only can perfectionism chain you to a menial task unnecessarily, it prevents you from delegating. Ask yourself what must be perfect and what must be good. The greatest enemy of self-management is usually procrastination; and procrastination is most-often a symptom of perfectionism, not laziness.
  6. Develop yourself– The best way to take charge of yourself is to take an active interest in yourself and your accomplishments. Don’t rest on your laurels; be interesting. Read. Go to museums. Live in wonder. Be a constant learner. Expanding your mind expands your imagination, and your horizons.