Self-management Fundamentals

By Francisco Sáez • October 10, 2011

Self-management is a key skill needed in all facets of life. Many students earn low grades or drop out, not because they are unable to assimilate lessons, but because they get overwhelmed by the workload. Often, employees who promote in a company are not the most intelligent or educated, but the most resolutive, that is, those who are able to cope with a heavy workload and get things done. And, although many of us are not aware of this, lack of personal organization can even ruin our financial situation and our relationships.

What does Self-management include?

Although many people only relate self-management to time management, it is actually a much broader concept that deals with all the following:

  • Knowing oneself. What are your values? What is your vision of life? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Only based on this you can find a meaningful life.
  • Defining objectives and setting goals at all levels, so your actions always obey important things and you don’t get carried away by the crises of the urgent. It makes no sense to live just a busy life.
  • Developing your proactivity. Seeking, with a positive attitude, the way that takes you to the life you want to live. As Steve Jobs said, “don’t waste your time living someone else’s life”.
  • Learning to take decisions on all the things that concern you—even if the decision is to do nothing—, so you can always keep control of your life.
  • Improving your self-esteem and confidence. Evaluating your own worth, being assertive and learning to say no in certain circumstances.
  • Self-developing, growing, improving. Creating the discipline necessary to acquire more knowledge, to improve your relationships with others. Caring for your mind and body.
  • Learning to manage stress and conflict in order to achieve emotional stability necessary to function well in all areas of life.
  • Managing your time better, not only doing more, but enjoying your time more. Time is limited, but it may be of higher quality.
  • Developing and keeping the motivation to get things done and avoid procrastination. As Steve Jobs also said (sorry, but he is on my mind these days), “perseverance is about half of what separates success from failure”.
  • Evaluating oneself on a regular basis and making adjustments. Reality changes every day and it is possible that the assumptions you made some time ago are not very accurate today.
  • Knowing how to keep focused on what you’re doing.

The ultimate goal of self-management is to enable you to achieve the life you want. Or, put another way, to increase your odds of having a happy life.

3 ways to learn Self-management

Learning self-management—a so important skill to our success—is not a part of our educational system, as incredible it may seem. Nobody teaches us how to manage ourselves efficiently. This is something we acquire intuitively, and that we improve thank to mistakes and failures. A hard road of learning.

Some people recognize the symptoms of poor self-management when they reach a level of stress than they can’t bear. Only then they care about improving their skills. Unfortunately, many others are not able to detect the causes and blame external factors for their problems. They don’t usually recover.

So what can you do to improve your self-management skills?

  1. Read. There are many succesful books that will help you understand the origin of each problem and show you some good techniques to improve. Two of my favorites are The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Stephen Covey, 1989) and Getting Things Done (David Allen, 2001). There are also many bloggers who regularly publish interesting info and advice on the web. Subscribe to the ones you like and you’ll receive some outstanding insights weekly.
  2. Attend specialized courses, conferences and events taking place near you. This is a good choice if you don’t have much time to read and want to speed up the process.
  3. Hire a personal coach. This is expensive, but the best option if you are in a critical situation.

In any case, you must put the acquired skills in place and be consistent. Establishing new habits is not easy, and success depends ultimately on you.

About the author

Francisco Sáez (@franciscojsaez) is the founder and CEO of FacileThings. He is also a web developer specializing in Ruby on Rails who is passionate about personal productivity and GTD as a means to a better life.

4 comments so far

Commented about 4 years ago

This is way more helpufl than anything else I've looked at.

Commented about 4 years ago

I appreciate the indispensable figures you provide inside your posts. I'll bookmark your blog as a consequence check another time here repeatedly. I'm rather positive I am going to ascertain bags of new matter right at this place ! Best of success for the future !

Before I go, permit me thank you for your tolerance with my English as (I'm persuaded you have become aware this by now,), English is not my first language therefore I am using Google Translate to shape out what to write down what I sincerely have in mind to state.

Francisco Sáez
Commented about 4 years ago

@Josmdx, thanks for your kind words and don't worry about your English. Google Translate does a pretty good job most of the times. It is not my first language either ;)

Commented about 4 years ago

I trust this is a outlook. I relatively over and over again mingle with people who instead pronounce merely the things which they think we whish to find out. Fine moreover nicely designed! I shall move back to your web site for sure !

As a final point , allow me thank you for your patience with my English as (I'm positive you have become aware this by now,), English is not my first language hence I am using Google Translate to shape out what to put in writing what I actually plan to state.

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