There might be affiliate links on this page, which means we get a small commission of anything you buy. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. Please do your own research before making any online purchase.
When you look at your to-do list at work, how does it make you feel? Stressed? Overwhelmed? Disorderly? Or maybe you don’t even really know where to start?
If you’re just getting started with your career, you may need some time and guidance when it comes to setting your priorities and finding a workflow that works best for you. This can require suggestions from others and some individual trial and error until you find your footing.
While this may come easily to some people, others may feel that there is a lot of room for improvement in their abilities in this area. The good news is, there are plenty of ways you can prove to yourself and your employer that you’re a valuable part of the team. This is where self management skills come into play.
Once you’re able to gain self management skills, you’ll hit your stride and feel empowered to embrace your independence at work. This is ultimately important because it will give you a sense of control over the direction in which your career is heading.
In this article, we are going to talk about what self management skills are, why they’re important to have, and 7 specific self management skills that are critical to cultivate in order to have a successful career.
Let’s get started by diving into what self management is.
What You Will Learn
There are a lot of personal characteristics and skills that make up your ability to manage yourself. On one hand, your self management skills are defined by your ability to govern your feelings and actions when it comes to following through on the work you’re assigned to do. But having self management is also about being able to motivate yourself so you can be productive without someone having to coach you through your daily tasks. And at the end of the day, if you have good self management skills, you’ll be able to look back on your work with a willingness to take ownership and responsibility for the end product.
In short, self management requires you to use introspection and self-evaluation techniques to proactively and continuously improve your own performance.
It is critical to have self management in order to grow and reach any goals that you may have in life. Not only will self management promote success in reaching your goals, it will also give you a better handle on the opportunities that are presented to you and ultimately determine how fulfilled you feel in your career.
Having these skills also gives you more control over your professional development, which can eventually lead to greater opportunities. With strong self management skills, you can be more successful at work because you’re more likely to embrace your autonomy and stay productive.
This can help demonstrate that you’re a reliable employee, which can boost your employer’s confidence in your independence and your ability to handle various professional situations without requiring direction or supervision. This ultimately makes your employer’s job easier because a mutual sense of trust can be established, therefore allowing them to focus on their own work rather than yours.
It’s ok if you believe your self management skills are lacking because there are several things you can do to refine them. Here, we will further discuss how you can cultivate these critical professional skills by providing tips on what specific skills you need to develop in order to embrace this personal characteristic.
Let’s get started by looking at some self management skills you will need to demonstrate at work to ensure you succeed.
A business that delivers on its promises starts with reliable employees. Since this skill is so critical to daily success, it’s important to consider how reliable you are in the workplace. Reliable employees work with integrity and develop professional contacts more easily, are presented with the best growth opportunities, are offered more freedom at work, and maintain a clear conscience.
A reliable employee is a trusted one. When your employer can rely on you, they can be confident that your job will get done with precision and care. This characteristic makes you a valuable asset to your team because you don’t require other people to give up their valuable time to help you get your job done.
Another big part of being reliable is being consistent. Make sure people know what to expect out of you on any given day and be sure to avoid burning through all of your energy at the beginning of the week only to feel sluggish toward the end. Learning how to be consistent in your work and behavior can go a long way when it comes to self management.
Here are some other ways to practice being reliable at work:
As a reliable team member, your employer and colleagues know they can count on you because you follow through with your promises and ensure everyone knows what they can expect from you.
Research shows that, in general, Americans are stressed at work. In fact, in one survey, over half of participants reported being stressed out at work at least 60% of the time. So if you’re able to remain calm in high-pressure situations and solve stressful issues rather than losing focus, you’re among the minority.
While it’s common to feel stress at work, it’s less common to land a low-stress job. A more reasonable solution is to learn how to manage your stress at your current job (as long as the level of stress is within reasonable limits).
Stress management plays a big role in learning self management. Managing your stress and having self-control go hand in hand, and when you can handle your feelings and emotions in tough situations, you’re more likely to reduce the impact that stress has on you and continue to manage and conduct yourself in a professional way, despite the situation you’re facing.
Stress triggers emotions, which are an important part of your life and wellbeing. Emotions provide guidance with self management because they often influence your actions. Emotions triggered by stress such as fear, anxiety, and anger can take away from your ability to maintain self-control, so being able to reduce the impacts of these emotions is an important self management skill to master.
When you’re able to effectively prioritize your work, you’re able to determine the order in which tasks should be completed based on their urgency and importance at the time. Prioritization skills help you accomplish more work in less time, meet deadlines, and ensure you have the amount of time that’s needed to complete larger tasks.
When you think about the importance of this skill in terms of self management, you have to consider your particular role. For example, if you work in a hectic environment or you’re in a position where people frequently come into your office to discuss non-urgent issues, part of prioritizing may be setting boundaries so you can limit distractions.
Of course, having distractions throughout the day is bound to happen, whether you’re shifting focus from one project to another or someone has interrupted you with a question. But you can be proactive by including time for distractions in your schedule or setting timed breaks where you can handle any unexpected issues that arise. This allows you to keep your task at hand your first priority and set aside other things that come up for another time.
You can also use technology to help you prioritize your tasks and increase your ability to manage yourself. There are a lot of productivity apps available that can help you prioritize your work and keep track of how much time you’re spending on each task. Once you’ve determined which tasks are urgent and which tasks could be deleted altogether, creating an efficient and effective schedule for the day to help manage your work will be much easier.
Being adaptable to change is a skill related to emotional self management that is demonstrated by an ability to consistently work in rapidly changing environments. People who can effectively manage fluid priorities and who are open to changing their firmly-held beliefs are seen as being adaptable. It also requires having the versatility to continuously determine new and effective strategies to be able to use to engage with a diverse group of individuals.
Adaptability at work is a valuable self management skill for a variety of reasons, and no matter what industry you're working in, you will face changes in your work environment and the way your job is performed that will require you to be adaptable. In order to keep up with the rest of the team, it’s important to be able to acclimate to such ongoing changes without excessive supervision from your employer.
Employers value those who are able to navigate change, as change is unavoidable for any organization. Being able to handle change with ease proves your ability to manage yourself by being self-sufficient, resourceful, determined, and a team player, which are all valuable qualities for an employee to have.
Part of learning to be adaptable is learning how to function outside of your comfort zone. If you can effectively operate under new or unexpected circumstances, it demonstrates adaptability and good self management. When things change unexpectedly, you can control your feelings and accept it. If you’re adaptable, figuring out how to embrace new situations comes naturally to you.
Self management is much easier for those who have a strong sense of patience. This is a challenging skill to master–especially when you’re trying to do so under pressure– but it can come with practice.
It takes patience to review your work to ensure it is top quality before turning it in. It takes patience to manage your ongoing commitments in addition to new opportunities that come to the surface.
Having patience can help you stay calm and untroubled in the face of delays, unexpected hurdles, and frustrations. This is a self-disciplining skill that can help you accept the things that are out of your control and get your job done regardless of external factors.
Here are some tips on developing patience that can be helpful for you if you feel like this is an area of your life where you could use some improvement.
You can’t sit around waiting until you’re in the mood to get your work done. A big part of doing the basics of whatever your job requirements are is simply being disciplined to do your work whether you feel like it first thing on a Monday morning or not. But part of self management is making your job your own and essentially putting into it what you want to get out of it.
Finding ways to increase your motivation is a key self management skill, as it is a fundamental part of changing your behavior, learning and developing new skills, setting goals, being creative, and planning for the future. Motivation plays a big role in professional growth because it acts as an impetus to learn new things on your own that can help you advance your performance, which is increasingly important with more companies working remotely.
Employers value people who can motivate themselves because they’re more likely to do their job well without being micromanaged. Everyone may face the temptation of giving up when a difficult situation presents itself, but those who are skilled with self-motivation can relentlessly pursue their goals, even when it requires more effort than originally expected.
Once your long term career goals have been identified, feeling motivated to achieve them can help you be proactive about tackling projects that add value to your company while also advancing your success. Self-motivation can help you make the most of your time to create relevant and meaningful output to meet your professional objective while still overcoming setbacks and staying focused on your long term goals.
You need to build the confidence in yourself that you want other people to have in you. This means having confidence in your decision-making skills so you can solve problems independently using your logic and resources. Think of how confusing a work environment would be in which everyone was always doubting themselves–progress would stand still and decisions would rarely be made.
Having self-confidence means believing in yourself and trusting your judgment. When you’ve been tasked with making an important decision on a quick deadline, you probably don’t have time to stress out about it, so it’s important to believe that you can make good decisions on your own after carefully evaluating all of your options.
When you exude confidence in yourself, it will give other people confidence in you as well. If you trust yourself and speak with authority, then your supervisor will be more likely to trust you as well and other people won’t hesitate to turn to you for help when they’re struggling with solving a problem. And when your colleagues trust you, it makes you a valuable part of the team.
So there you have it, 7 self management skills that you need to hone in on at work in 2022. Ensuring that you have strong self management skills is important in the workplace because these personal strengths can help you contribute to a more productive work environment for the entire team.
Work on the self management skills laid out in this article to help create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your employer. Once these skills are mastered, you will be productive and successful at work without requiring someone to be constantly checking behind you.
Finally, another big part of self management is the ability to be self-aware. Check out this article to learn some tips to help you boost your self-awareness, which will work very closely with your self management.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.