Self-Management: 11 Methods to Best Help You Organize Yourself at Work and at HomeReading time 6min
Balancing appointments, meetings, and personal life is a challenge for many of us, as there are only 24 hours in a day. Good self-management is necessary for organizing your daily schedule and bringing more structure to your hectic everyday life. Using certain methods, you can complete your tasks more efficiently, avoiding the mental stress that can come from approaching deadlines and unfinished projects piling up.
Effective management not only helps you organize your day better, but also increases your motivation at work. There are now a number of clever tools that help you keep track of your tasks and manage them more easily.
What Is Self-Management?
Self-management is the ability of a person to independently complete tasks by the desired deadline and to continuously develop these personal skills. With the right methods, you can successfully overcome challenges and solve tricky problems without help from others.
This is primarily done through realistic goal setting, prioritizing tasks, self-control, strategic planning, and self-motivation.
Thus, you maintain a clear overview of what's in store for the day and don't run the risk of being overwhelmed.
What Are the Benefits of Self-Management?
The benefits of good self-management are clear. With the right self-management methods, you can:
- Achieve goals with minimal use of resources (such as time and money)
- Keep your tasks under better control
- Be productive without feeling stressed
- Increase your self-determination and personal responsibility
- Continuously develop and learn
In short, it enables you to master complicated tasks faster and reduces psychological stress that can lead to burnout and increased anxiety.
Differences Between Time Management and Self-Management
Self-management and time management are often used as synonyms, but time management is only one facet of this topic. Time management simply refers to meeting deadlines and controlling when certain tasks need to be completed.
Those who can manage themselves well have both good time management and the ability to improve the way they work and grow in the workplace.
11 Methods for Successful Self-Management
There are now many different self-management methods. To find the right one for the structure of your working day, we recommend trying some of these methods or even combining them. This is the only way to recognize which one suits you best.
1. SMART method
The SMART method is the most widely used method and is used by many people to realize goals. The procedure is as follows:
- Specific: Formulate your goal in concrete terms.
- Measurable: Define the measurable variables.
- Achievable: With good planning, motivation increases.
- Realistic: Plan enough time and resources.
- Timebound: set clear deadlines for yourself.
2. Eisenhower Principle
With the Eisenhower Principle, tasks are divided into four different squares, namely:
- Get Done: Important and urgent tasks – best to get these done first and foremost.
- Schedule: Important but non-urgent tasks that need a deadline (or else you run the risk of pushing them back).
- Delegate: Unimportant but urgent tasks you can delegate to work colleagues.
- Ignore: You can ignore tasks that are neither important nor urgent.
3. 80-20 Pareto Principle
In this method, you plan your tasks in such a way that you end up with 80% output by putting in 20% of your own investment. This method requires very thorough planning.
4 ABC method
The ABC method is primarily suitable for people who rely mainly on their intuition. Here, tasks are prioritized and a clear plan is created.
- A: Important projects that need to be done immediately
- B: Less important projects
- C: Unimportant projects
5. AMORE Method
In this strategy, goals are formulated as follows: Ambitious, Motivating, Organized, Realistic, and Real.
6. ALPEN method
For optimal organization of your projects, the ALPEN method is also suitable:
- A: Write down tasks
- L: Determine length
- P: Plan buffer time
- E: Divide decisions according to importance
- N: Follow-up control
7. Pomodoro Method
The Pomodoro method involves taking a five-minute break after 25 minutes of highly concentrated work. This rhythm is repeated four times and then you are entitled to a break of 30 minutes.
8. GTD Method
GTD stands for "Getting Things Done" – here, projects are broken down into individual steps and ordered by importance each day.
9. 2-Minute Rule
The principle here is that if a task can be completed in less than two minutes, you should do it immediately.
10. Cinderella Method
In this method, you should observe your behavior at work for a while and check which behaviors are beneficial and which are ineffective. Subsequently, try to get rid of the bad habits little by little.
11. Not-To-Do List
As the name suggests, this is where you list all the tasks that you don't do or have decided not to do. Thus, you get a better overview of what prevents you from achieving your goals.
Self-Management Softwares and Apps
To help you better balance your projects and professional goals, there are many helpful apps and softwares that can bring more structure to your work life. We've compiled a few for you here:
- Trello: An online management service for better project management and workflow using clear boards, lists and cards
- Notion: From professional to personal, this powerful solution helps connect teams, projects, docs, and goals all in one place.
- Evernote: An app for collecting and organizing documents, photos, and notes
- Asana: This tool helps organize team projects and individual tasks
- Monday: A mobile work management platform for monitoring projects
- StudySmarter: A tool for creating index cards and notes
- Toggl: This tool serves real-time tracking of projects for efficient workflow
Self-Management in Everyday Life
In theory, of course, these methods sound simple, but what about in practice? Self-management in everyday life cannot be effectively implemented overnight and takes some time. Old habits can only be broken with practice, so the methods should be repeated steadily. This way you will see results quickly. Therefore, for everyday life, we recommend the following:
1. Find tools that help you stay organized
Good tools and softwares make it easier for you to stay on top of things and work through tasks one step at a time. This will help you keep track of your notes, documents, and appointments and categorize them by importance.
2. Notes are important
We often get distracted by spontaneous ideas or new trains of thought while working. To combat this, you should record your ideas in writing, and then you can devote yourself to your task again without restriction.
3. Schedule time
Work will go faster if it is done in blocks of time. Determine the period of time in which you want to create something and dedicate it solely to this task. This way, disruptions will be avoided.
4. Take breaks
No human being can concentrate on one task for hours. Over time, your focus wanes, and you become less productive. To avoid a drop in performance, breaks are important.
During breaks, you should engage in a completely different activity, preferably in the fresh air.
A short break should be taken after each working hour, and a 20-minute break should follow after maximum 70 to 80 minutes of deep work.
If tasks are postponed further and further, stress levels increase. To avoid this, you should do your best to create a schedule and stick to it.
Self-Management at Work
It is not always easy to find the necessary discipline for self-management in your professional life. In order to best set yourself up for success, we recommend the following:
- Motivate yourself by visualizing your goals.
- Regulate your stress and try to reduce the mental load.
- Become active yourself and show initiative.
- Learn how to accomplish things on your own.
- Stay determined and capable of taking action.
Good self-management not only allows you to complete projects faster. It also empowers you to thrive in the workplace, become more efficient, and keep your stress levels in check.
Self-management goes beyond the principle of time management and can be integrated into everyday life as well as your professional life. To find a method that best suits your needs, you may need to go through a process of trial and error.