8 Tips for Managing Yourself Effectively

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated October 3, 2022

Published September 7, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you struggle with managing yourself, you may have a hard time leading a team or working to the best of your abilities. Developing strong self-management skills can help you improve your performance and achieve your professional goals. Learning more about why self-management is important and the skills you need to succeed is a great place to start. In this article, we discuss what it means to manage yourself, why it's important, eight tips to practise self-management, and the skills you need to do so.

What does managing yourself mean?

Managing yourself, or self-management, is the ability to control your thoughts, feelings, and actions at work and in your personal life. This means you can take the initiative to reach your goals and motivate yourself to keep working hard. It's an essential skill as a manager, as you need to know how to manage yourself before you can encourage others to follow your example.

Why it's important to manage yourself

Being able to manage yourself effectively is important because it helps you complete your tasks, adhere to deadlines, communicate with your team, and empower them. Even if you aren't a manager, being able to manage yourself makes you a better team member as well. It ensures you can collaborate effectively and make decisions that benefit your team and the entire company. Having strong self-management skills is something that many employers look for, as it shows you're reliable and a hard worker.

Related: Personal Management Skills (With Definition and Examples)

What skills and attributes do you need to manage yourself?

To manage yourself successfully, you need the following skills and attributes:

Initiative

Being able to take initiative is a skill many employers look for. It means you can work independently without constant guidance and instruction. This shows employers you're reliable, can think for yourself and take the actions required to be successful at work. These are all essential abilities for self-management.

Organizational skills

Staying organized is important to help you manage yourself because it allows you to complete your tasks on time, plan your schedule accordingly, and improve productivity. Organizational skills also allow you to keep a neat physical and mental space. Too much clutter on your desk or too many thoughts in your head won't overwhelm you, as you'll be able to organize them properly.

Ambitious

Being ambitious can help you manage yourself successfully as it allows you to set goals and strive to reach them. Your ambition helps you determine what you want to achieve at work and develop an action plan to ensure you can. This allows you to improve productivity as you are using your time wisely.

Self-motivation

To manage yourself, you must first motivate yourself. Self-motivation is an essential ability as it allows you to work hard to reach your goals. If you're in a managerial role, being able to motivate yourself makes you a better motivator for your team as well.

Time-management skills

Strong time-management skills help you manage yourself as they allow you to stay focused and prioritize tasks appropriately. There are likely constant distractions around your workplace, such as coworkers that want to talk to you or your personal phone ringing nearby. But strong time-management skills allow you to avoid these distractions, ensuring you adhere to all your strict deadlines.

Stress management

No matter how much you love your job, you likely feel stressed from time to time. Maybe a tight deadline is coming up, or you made a mistake on a project, so you're rushing to fix it. Whatever is stressing you out can affect your personal and professional life, so it's important to manage your stress appropriately. Try to manage your stress before it becomes a major issue. For example, if you know the following week will be busy, work ahead to lessen your workload.

Focus on maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine while still pursuing activities you enjoy in your personal life, such as yoga, hiking, or meditating. This allows you to manage your emotions more effectively so you can maintain a calm, professional demeanour at work.

Adaptability

To manage yourself, you often have to be adaptable. Adaptability allows you to adjust to new conditions at work easily. For example, if your CEO implements a new policy or your manager changes your schedule, you can easily embrace the changes. This shows you can manage your emotions and behaviours and do what's best for the company.

8 tips for self-management

To manage yourself efficiently, consider the following tips:

1. Assess your skills and attributes

The best way to start improving yourself and your skills is to determine your areas of improvement. Make a list of skills and attributes you have that you use at work, such as strong communication or leadership skills. Then, make a list of skills and attributes you think can make you a better employee or manager. Compare your lists to determine what skills or attributes you need to develop or improve.

This self-awareness is essential in being able to manage yourself. It allows you to get to know your strengths and weaknesses and work towards being a better manager or employee.

Related: Top Management Skills Every Manager Needs

2. Take accountability

An essential skill that every employee needs is the ability to take accountability for themselves and their actions. This means you can take responsibility for your work, ensuring you always put your best efforts forward. It doesn't mean you don't make mistakes; it means if you do, you take responsibility for them and use the experience as a learning opportunity.

3. Ask for feedback

While self-awareness is an important part of self-management, it can be hard to recognize all your strengths and weaknesses yourself. One way to solve this is to ask for feedback from your colleagues or even your family or friends. Talk to people you trust and respect, as they will be honest about what your strengths or weaknesses are. Then, use this feedback to develop or improve skills or attributes you're missing.

4. Be patient

When trying to manage yourself successfully, it's important to be patient. Change won't happen overnight. You need to change the way you think, act, and feel over time. If you try to rush, you may not develop all the necessary skills and attributes you need to manage yourself.

5. Create SMART goals

To help improve your self-management skills, consider creating SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. This means every goal you make should meet these criteria. For example, instead of just having a large, general goal to improve your communication, turn it into a SMART goal by saying, "I want to improve my active listening skills and verbal communication to get to know my team better." Break this large goal down even further into measurable steps, such as "Talking to one new person a day" or "Starting weekly brainstorming meetings to listen to my team."

Having SMART goals ensures you can take your self-improvement journey one step at a time and work towards successful self-management. It makes the journey seem less daunting and more achievable.

Related: SMART Goals: Objective for Your Career

6. Focus on one task at a time

Multi-tasking can be useful in many situations, especially at work, but not in your self-improvement journey. It's important to focus on one task at a time, such as improving your time-management skills, to ensure you can complete it successfully. Focusing on too many tasks can overwhelm you and take energy away from effectively managing yourself.

7. Take care of yourself

While you're focusing on developing the necessary skills and attributes to manage yourself, you may stray from taking care of yourself physically and emotionally. It's important to maintain a proper diet, exercise regularly, and practice self-care to ensure you have a clear mind and able body. If you don't, you may feel too tired, stressed, or overwhelmed to practice self-management.

8. Find a mentor

While being able to manage yourself is an independent skill, finding a mentor to help you, in the beginning, can be helpful. Consider managers or other employees you look up to at work as they likely have the skills and attributes you want to develop. Ask them questions, shadow them if possible, and get to know their management style.

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