Working in an environment where you are wearing many different hats can be quite intense. I am the tech lead at a e-commerce company and I got quite a few duties there. On the other side I am investing a lot into myself, time and energy.
Indeed, that is a lot to take care off and that’s not all, I also want to take care of myself, challenge myself, do some fitness and keep my blog up and running. Besides that, there are also social life, that needs attention.
Without proper self management and a lot of discipline, that wouldn’t be possible. So let’s talk a bit about, what self management actually means to me.
Know your Goals
The most obvious part of self management is keeping track of your goals. This reaches from life goals to minor every day tasks. If you don’t know what you want to work on every day and how this interferes with you overall goals, you won’t go anywhere.
As I read the quote yesterday in my notebook let me use it here: People without a goal only run in circles
When you are considering to start managing yourself, the first thing should be, become aware of the work you have to do. Make it visible. You can use a piece of paper for that, a notebook or even an app.
My app of choice is Todoist here. But it really doesn’t matter how you do it, it matters that you keep up with it and do it every day and keep track of your daily tasks and how they align with your overall goal. This brings me to the next point.
Consistency is Key
No matter how many apps and techniques you are using, the most important part of self management is consistency. Review your tasks and goals every single day.
Like I have mentioned in Productivity is not an Overnight Thingy you need to consistently work on yourself and improve on yourself. Don’t switch around between apps and methods and blame the tools for not making you more productive.
Even if it is daunting and annoying to put everything in a todo manager, do it. It pays in the long run and also lowers your stress level, because you get things out of your head. Keep working on yourself every single day. You need to show up every day.
The next part of the recipe is time management. If you don’t manage your time accordingly, someone else will.
And even more important to point out, your todo list cannot work without your time management. You need to align your daily schedule with your daily duties. If they don’t appear in your calendar, you are doing something wrong here.
Time management is not only about planning tasks and meetings, it is also about planning free time and margin for yourself and time to process stuff in between events. I wrote a very in depth article about that here.
Honesty and Reflection
I know I am writing that in every paragraph now, but all of the above topics won‘t do you any good if you are not honest with yourself and don‘t reflect on yourself.
Honest about what you want and what you have achieved. Honest about where you have failed and what you didn‘t achieve. Reflect on which wins you had this week. Reflect on what you learned and on which parts you could do better.
For that part I am doing weekly reviews with myself. They take about 20 minutes each Sunday. I am going through the logged tasks of the weeks and the notes I took everyday and also consider my journal, where I am writing what went well, what I was thankful for and at which points I may have failed.
That helps me to prepare for the next week and also where I need to improve and maybe do something different.
The Word NO
There is a lot in life that you need to do.
But there are even more things in life that you need to say NO to. Declining tasks or things that don‘t get you anywhere is hard, but you need to learn it.
Say no to time wasting activities. It‘s not about saying no to friends that want to go for a drink all the time. We all experienced moments, where we knew the answer should have been no, but we agreed to do it. Be it your manager that wanted you to do something, a friend that asked for that little thing that will only take you a minute and costed you days in the end.
Your time is precious, don‘t waste it with useless tasks and activities.
Self management needs your attention every day. It‘s not an overnight thing. There is no magic recipe that makes you an expert in a day. It requires a lot of effort, every single day.
There are four words, that should sum this up perfectly:
Plan – Act – Reflect – Adapt