Do you get enthusiastic about your work? Or are you drained by deadlines you struggle to meet?
Do you have energy to enjoy family and friends and interests, or do you find yourself plopping in front of the TV every night before crawling off to bed?
We’re not talking about being in the right career. We’re talking about the skill of self-management.
Shifting the Blame
Be honest. Have you caught yourself saying or thinking something like this? “I would have finished that project, but he didn’t give me the information in time…”
Or, “Nobody at work is organized. Everything falls between the cracks.”
What’s the attitude behind these or similar statements?
Blame shifting. What it amounts to is giving others the ability to shape your life. In other words, giving your own power away.
It’s an easy thing to do — if you feel overwhelmed and lack the confidence you can find solutions.
Taking the Initiative
So what can help? Learning self-management skills.
Here are some characteristics of a person with strong self-management skills. He or she:
- Manages emotions and impulses (has high emotional intelligence).
- Manages time and priorities to meet deadlines.
- Takes initiative and acts without waiting for direction.
- Accepts responsibility for actions and results.
- Presents his- or herself assertively and confidently.
- Demonstrates an ability to maintain composure in the midst of crisis.
- Strives for continuous self-improvement.
Strengthening Your Skills
How can you beef up your skills in self-management? Here are some practical tips.
- Prioritize your list of tasks, grouping them by importance or due dates. Then, do the most critical tasks first each day.
- Don’t procrastinate. Tasks usually become harder or more stressful the longer you wait to do them.
- Schedule a set time during your day to respond to e-mails, voice messages or snail mail. Only complete correspondence during those hours.
- Delegate responsibility and authority to others to manage reasonable tasks.
- Communicate clearly in departmental staff meetings so you won’t be interrupted later to clarify your comments or assignments given.
- Take charge of ambiguous situations by defining the tasks you see. Ask others for confirmation that you understand the relevant issues.
- If unexpected crisis events occur, keep calm and gather facts to evaluate the situation carefully before reacting too quickly.
- Get or stay physically fit. Exercise is a great stress reliever, and a fit and relaxed body is more ready to handle the rush of stress hormones that start when you get into challenging situations.
- Stand up for what you believe is right.
What can you do today to strengthen your self-management skills?