• Jessica Kaiser

How to be an Effective Self Manager

Self Management comes naturally to some people, but for most of us can seem like an uphill battle. Especially during the holidays, when there seems to be too little time to get everything done. Rather than getting stuck in a rut, feeling overwhelmed, or even worse guilty about not checking off each box on your to-do list, here are some tips to managing your time.

Wear a watch

Watches help keep good self managers punctual. Wearing one can also help us to keep our hands off our cell phones, since checking the time on your phone can lead to distractions like text messages or social media. With a watch, you can effectively put your personal cell phone away without making excuses. Watches are also a great scheduling tool, as you can designate a specific time frame to different projects and tasks.

Keep track of screen time

Most smartphones currently have an option in settings called Screen Time. This records the amount of time you spend on your phone each day doing different tasks, such as email, social media, and other productivity apps. Having this at your fingertips is a great way to stay accountable for your distractions, and focus more time during the day on worthwhile endeavors.

Make lists

It can be extremely motivating to check off list items, but beyond the motivation factor it can help you to make sure you’re completing everything you set out to do. This list can be started before work, and items can be added throughout the day. If you’re not a notebook person, I highly recommend the “momentum” plug-in for Google Chrome. This makes your homescreen a high-tech to-do list, complete with rotating photography and inspiring phrases. Their website reads “Momentum is a personal dashboard designed to eliminate distraction and provide inspiration, focus, and productivity.”

Designate “free time”

Some people are most productive if they skip lunch and end work early. Many are not. Make sure to designate “free time” when you are self-managing to make sure you don’t burn out. Whether this is at 6am before you start work, a half hour before lunch to exercise, or a 2pm errand run when you’ve still got a few hours left of your day.

Reward yourself

If you’re a self-manager, you are working hard! Make sure to motivate yourself with rewards, you deserve it! For example, “If I complete this list by 5pm, I can play an hour of video games”, or “If I stay focused and don’t take a break until the end of the day, I can start an hour later tomorrow.”

Designate a space

Not having a designated space to do work can be a surefire way to get distracted. Often, working from home can remind us of all the chores we need to do. Sitting on the couch on a computer can trick your mind into not taking your time seriously. A co-working space can be a great option, since it will allow you desk space with many other focused individuals. If you don’t have the budget for that, take your home work-space seriously. Don’t face your desk toward the room or a window. Make sure your area stays clear of distractions, pets stay out of the office, and you have a chair that is comfortable to sit in for a long period of time.

Forgive yourself

There are going to be days where you don’t complete your list, you wake up later, or you don’t feel as productive. It is extremely important to forgive yourself on these days, as harboring guilt and frustration can affect your ability to do more the following day. It’s important as a self-manager to make sure that the little time you spend not working is relaxing and care-free.

All in all, effective self management is a skill. It can take time to train or re-train your brain. Focus on implementing new habits one step at a time. The last thing you want to do is make such a drastic change so quickly that it’s unsustainable. Forgive yourself, focus on self care in your free time, and pat yourself on the back, you amazing self manager!

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