What do world-famous physicist Stephen Hawking and Pekka Hyysalo, former freestyle skier and founder of the FightBack brand, have in common? Both are excellent examples of what you can do with good self-management. Instead of focusing on what they cannot do, Stephen and Pekka have chosen to focus on what is possible.
HR professionals interviewed for the Diversity Barometer of the Finnish Institute for Occupational Health (2016) agreed that self-management is the one area in which young jobseekers need to improve the most. Self-management usually makes you think of self-discipline and meeting deadlines. Although it’s true that they are related to self-management, they are a result of good self-management rather than a part of its essence.
Self-management is essentially about identifying your own feelings, acknowledging your own competence and, above all, believing in your own skills. In other words, a master of self-management has a well-defined sense of who they are, what they can do and where they are going.
When your self-image is realistic, your goals are clear and you are confident in your skills, your self-management will become apparent in your actions, often as an ability to meet deadlines and schedule your activities appropriately.
How you use your time speaks of your values
In addition to your work and career, self-management has an impact on all aspects of life, such as leisure time and personal relationships. How you spend your time also says a lot about what you value in life. When was the last time you thought about whether your goals and activities match? Do you spend time every day to advance on the path to your goals?
If your values and goals aren’t clear, you may end up underachieving or exerting yourself. Sometimes it’s a good idea to stop and think about what you value the most in life, and how much time you actually spend on those things. When it comes to setting goals, you often think about accomplishments that are related to your career or studies. However, the goal to spend an entire day doing nothing without feeling guilty about it can be just as important.
Our culture of tight schedules and efficiency emphasises goals that are related to work and studies. As a result, goals related to leisure and wellbeing are often ignored. At worst, this may result in reduced innovativeness and motivation and then lead to exhaustion, which, in turn, affects the efficiency of your work.
Overtraining will keep athletes from achieving their best. The same applies in the working life – healthy and happy employees make the most efficient employees.
Improve your skills in self-management:
• Think about what it is that you most enjoy about your work or your studies. Which skills would you like to improve? What about your leisure activities?
• For a few days, make a list of everything you do during the days. Compare the items of the list to the results of the previous point. Do they match?
• Start your day by thinking about the most important goal of the day. What is the one thing you would like to accomplish? Remember to feel proud of yourself if you do reach your goal during the day!
• Write down a to-do list of all the unfinished tasks in your mind. In the morning, check the list to see which tasks you can finish today. Divide bigger tasks into smaller parts. This allows you to strike something out on the list every day, making you feel more in control of your life.
• Set a clear limit to when your working or study hours end and your leisure time begins. This will increase the efficiency of your work and make your free hours more enjoyable.
Text: Anni Laine
Picture: Getty Images