7 Self-Management Skills To Level Up Your Work Performance in 2022

woman journaling

Adobe Stock / Fairygodboss Staff

April 13, 2024 at 4:54PM UTC
Want to be a better leader? Lead yourself first. Want to manage your schedule or team more effectively? Manage yourself first.
“The first person you lead every day is yourself. But people don’t necessarily act like that — they forget how much agency they have in their own lives. Many people feel that they are a victim of their circumstances,” says Alisa Cohn, executive coach and author of “From Start-Up to Grown-Up.
“Professionals have the opportunity every day, repeatedly, to proactively reset themselves and take more control over their mood, the way they show up towards others, and the actions they take.”
From daily rituals to energy-boosting tactics, here are seven self-management habits that will help you succeed in the workplace.

1. Create a morning ritual.

Cohn recommends creating a morning routine that works for you. As long as it fits your schedule and makes you feel nourished, the possibilities are endless. Write it down and follow it daily until it becomes a habit. Sleep Advisor suggests taking a walk outside as part of your morning routine to kickstart your circadian rhythm.
Cohn agrees, saying “you can plan to work out, take a walk outside, meditate for 5 or 30 minutes, watch a funny video, or have coffee with your spouse. Routines and rituals in the morning prime you to have a good day.”

2. Journal daily.

She also has her clients write in their journals several times a day to check in and gain insights.
“What energized you today? What drained you? How are you thinking and feeling right now? What should you do to get on track right now?” are some of the questions you should ask yourself.
“It’s helpful to bring to the surface and then process the events of the day. If you are stewing about something, it’s robbing you of energy. Getting it out of your system by writing about it helps you reset, allows you to think more clearly and take more productive action,” says Cohn.

3. Pretend you’re an athlete.

It may sound funny, but in order to be a better self-manager, you want to start thinking of yourself like an elite athlete. That intention alone will change how you react to stressful situations and obstacles and make you more resilient while fostering a growth mindset.
“When an athlete makes an error, she has to get right back in the game and brush off that last play. You are an athlete too. If you make a mistake, brush it off and play in the present,” adds Cohn.

4. Write top priorities in your calendar.

Cohn also says a simple yet powerful self-management habit is writing your top priorities in your calendar. “That helps you clarify the most important things you must do and gives you specific times to do them.”
Having to simplify and boil down action items in that way helps you develop the ruthless focus required to be more impactful with your time.

5. Always block off time for thinking.

It’s also important to block time off to let your thoughts wander. “Back-to-back meetings don’t leave you free time for creative thought, but if you don’t manage your own schedule other people will put endless meetings on your calendar,” according to Cohn.
You want to think of this as “paying yourself first,” a financial concept that encourages putting aside money for savings right when you receive it, but with your availability.
“Then, be granular and specific about what you will do with those blocks of time. Work on strategy? Call customers? Sketch out a new product? If you know what you will do with those moments and the value they bring, you will be more likely to hold this time as sacred and use it productively.”

6. Practice self-compassion.

In which ways are self-management and self-compassion related? Self-compassion is the antidote to your harsh inner critic. And that inner critic prevents you from being on top of your game. “Self-criticism is draining and robs you of your resourcefulness and optimism,” says Cohn, who recommends speaking to yourself as you would speak to your best friend.
So consider this your permission slip to stop beating yourself up at work. Yes, even — and especially– if you’re a high-achiever.

7. Do a burst of physical activity for more energy.

The next time you feel an afternoon slump, try jumping jacks instead of reaching for that latte.
“You can quickly restore your energy and change your state by doing jumping jacks or some other very quick physical activity,” says Cohn.
“If you’re working from home, this is easy. If you’re in an office and you feel uncomfortable or weird, go into a conference room. Or take a risk and do it in the open; I bet others will join you.”
This article originally appeared in Hive — the world's first democratically built productivity platform. Learn more at Hive.com.

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