Self-Management Skills: Definition, Examples, and Tips

Updated Dec 22, 2022.

Developing essential life skills like self-management is vital for thriving in your environment. Self-management skills take time and intentional effort to master.

You need to dig deep into your leadership style, emotional intelligence, and how much of yourself you actually control. The more you improve your self-management skills, the more you become a better leader.

Self-management is crucial for your personal development and for improving your employability skills.

This article covers the top self-management skills, their importance, and tips for improving self-management.

Let’s get started.

What are Self-Management Skills?

Self-management is a skill that enables you to make conscious and productive use of your behaviors, thoughts, actions, and emotions in your personal and professional life. It is one of the most valuable life skills.

Effective self-management is closely linked with emotional intelligence. Controlling your emotions leads to better self-awareness and overall well-being due to respect for your needs.

With self-management, you better manage your productivity and workflow in all aspects of your life as it rules out the need for relying on others.

As an essential leadership quality, self-management is not naturally gifted. Embark on constant practice and use the right tools to develop this skill to reap the benefits of positively impacting your workplace performance and career development.

Having solid self-management skills allows you to set independent goals as you are empowered to take up initiatives that help you see your goals to completion.

By creating the purpose you need to further your life goals, self-management helps reposition you and your career towards opportunities you would have been oblivious to or ignored.

Examples of Self-Management Skills

Self-management skills are an essential part of life. There are many skills that we as humans need to develop many skills to arrive at a deeper level of self-awareness and self-regulation.

The ability to regulate yourself and your work start from knowing and understanding your unique peculiarities and where your tolerance level for certain things stands.

Recognize that developing self-management skills is a continuous process to embrace all the benefits it offers fully.

Here are some common examples of self-management skills.

1. Time Management

Time management is a skill that puts you in total control of your time. With this skill, you dictate how and what is worth spending your time on, making it very valuable for all the skills you need to live a productive and satisfying life.

Managing time effectively empowers you to prioritize tasks based on their level of relative importance and manage your daily to-do list better.

The 4 Ds of Time Management
Source: ProductPlan

With time management as one of your life skills, you are better equipped to take on an active role in leadership. This skill helps shape good leaders who are characterized by being able to stay on top of their work and encourage others under them to do the same.

One of the many outstanding benefits of having good time management skills is staying engaged and avoiding procrastination.

Managing your time is one quality that guarantees your ability to manage yourself. Whether at home or on the job, having good time management skills helps you reach your set deadlines and delegate your responsibilities more effectively.

There are effective time management techniques you can use to effectively manage your time: Parkinson's Law, Pareto Principle, Eisenhower Matrix, and Pomodoro Technique.

2. Self-Motivation

Self-motivation is an important skill that depends on your ability to get motivated and go about your daily routine of accomplishing tasks most effectively.

To effectively self-motivate, you need to have a certain level of personal responsibility. Developing your ability to be motivated is a skill that enables you to build self-awareness of things and situations around you and prioritize what is essential.

Self-motivation is somewhat similar to intrinsic motivation, as both works to ensure you make the best out of every situation.

One way of staying motivated is by genuinely enjoying whatever you do, especially your job. Let it inspire you to constantly strive to do everything to the best of your ability.

Ultimately, a large part of your ability to be self-motivated depends on how excited you are about achieving the goals laid out for you.

Self-motivation also involves taking the initiative and taking on tasks that need to be completed. With this skill, you are better positioned to anticipate tasks needed to achieve your goals.

As a self-motivated individual, all your focus is on being productive. You are immune from distraction and other external factors that hinder you from making steady progress.

Self Motivation Skills
Source: SketchBubble

3. Stress Management

Stress is one factor you cannot shy away from while striving to achieve your goals. Without self-management, it is difficult to cope effectively with stress.

Stress management is a skill that shields you from falling victim to burnout, as tasks can leave you overwhelmed.

Good stress management skills enable you to take a more focused approach to work. You are better equipped to make positive connections between what is expected to be accomplished and the overall goals.

Stress management as a self-management skill allows you to adopt a self-care approach to tasks. Take on tasks relative to your goals to reduce stress and keep you productive.

Maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and meditation on previous experiences are among the common forms you can take to manage stress better and maintain your calm.

4. Adaptability

Adaptability is another of many examples of self-management skills. It involves your ability to maintain confidence in the face of change.

Individuals particularly need this skill in leadership positions as they are constantly accommodating the ever-changing needs of their environment.

Adaptability is a self-management skill that allows you to maintain flexibility and keep an open and curious approach even in the most uncomfortable circumstances.

With this skill under your belt, you can take on anything thrown your way. As a leader, you are better equipped to empower your team to have this same mindset.

Adaptability Scale
Source: SketchBubble

5. Decision-Making Skills

Developing decision-making skills are essential to be an effective leader. It is a skill that minimizes confusion by focusing on ways to improve the empowerment of the team under you.

Problem-solving skills work alongside decision-making skills. Your ability to proffer solutions to problems helps you develop your decision-making skills.

Like all the skills that fall under self-management skills, decision-making is also a skill you can develop by improving your critical thinking skills.

The best form of decisions are those made from unique standpoints and driven by relevant data. These decisions are always accurate and devoid of issues that limit their accuracy and efficacy.

6. Goal Alignment

Goal alignment is a skill that involves you setting goals based on your prioritized projects that are likely to have the most significant impact on your business. This skill is also important for setting OKRs.

The benefit of setting SMART goals is seeing the bigger picture of what is best for your team members and the business. It translates into increased morale for the team and better performance for the business.

SMART Goal Setting
Source: ProductPlan

Your ability to set SMART goals helps detail in a clear and well-defined manner, what the business is set out to achieve, so long it aligns with its values.

Goal alignment is an example of self-management skills that help you maintain productivity by better managing your time and actions.

You can divide goal alignment into three other categories.

  • Goal Setting: This category requires you to identify and set informed goals. You can utilize the SMART goals framework to ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
  • Goal Communication: Setting goals does not stop at managing your team's goals. You must also align them to the organization's goals to improve transparent communication and teamwork.
  • Goal Tracking: After setting your goals and effectively communicating them across all quarters, the next step is to keep track of your goals to ensure you progress daily in delivering on the larger goal.

7. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is about your ability to be conscious of your thoughts, desires, feelings, and actions. These factors can directly impact your performance and productivity.

By being self-aware, you are conscious of the view and perspective others have about you. If positively managed, you can harness this self-management skill to help position you for a successful outcome in every situation.

Self-awareness also helps us regulate our feelings. It allows us to develop self-control, an essential skill to upset the odds in our favor.

8. Self-Care

No one can genuinely care for you as you would. Understanding that you are solely responsible for caring for yourself is what is needed for you to thrive and be productive as an individual.

As much as serving others and self-sacrifice is noble, it should not come at the expense of yourself. You need to make a conscious effort to satisfy yourself, often at the expense of others, as ultimately, you are left alone to care for yourself.

Myths About Self-Care
Source: MyMindOasis

Why Are Self-Management Skills Important?

Strong self-management skills are pivotal in staying productive in personal and professional aspects of one's life. It comes with a sense of personal responsibility.

Apart from its role in your personal and career development, your ability to self-manage offers numerous benefits.

Here are some of the benefits developing strong self-management skills affords.

1. Reliability

Reliable employees are top of the search for employers when conducting a job interview. Being able to self-manage yourself without little or no supervision makes you a very reliable and valuable resource.

2. Multi-Tasking

Your ability to self-manage allows you to juggle different tasks without feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

3. Time Management

Another benefit that developing self-management as a skill affords you is the ability to manage your time better.

By managing tasks assigned to you efficiently without defaulting on the assigned deadlines, you cultivate good time management skills, which are helpful in all aspects of life.

4. Career and Personal Development

The ability to develop yourself both in your personal and professional life is one benefit that you stand to gain from your ability to self-manage.

In an organizational setting, good self-management skills usually open doors for employees to be considered for a raise or advancement in their career path.

How to Improve Your Self-Management Skills

Even after you have developed self-management skills, you still need time to focus on practical ways of improving these skills.

Enhancing your self-management skills allows you to focus further on how to evaluate and improve both your personal and professional lives.

Here are tips on how you can improve your self-management skills.

1. Assess Your Strengths

List the things you are outstanding at, personally and professionally. After determining where your strength is, you now need to focus your attention on how to get the maximum benefits from your list of identified attributes.

Properly understanding your unique strengths enables you to make the best out of them and manage your career path better. You now know how to implement these unique skills to get maximum results.

Whether the skill is coding, technical writing, graphic design, or customer service, assessing your strengths makes it easier to improve your self-management skill.

You now know what tasks would be best suited for you and which would pose a severe challenge.

2. Prioritize Your Responsibilities

Define your responsibilities and prioritize them based on their order of importance. You then have the time and space to focus on the most important jobs that would give you the desired result.

From your prioritized responsibilities, it is easier to identify the distractions that would have drawn you away from your key responsibilities and avoid them.

Eisenhower Matrix
Source: SnackNation

3. Develop Organizational Systems

To improve your self-management skills; you need to develop organizational systems, which are effective methods that help you manage your time better.

Streamlining your daily activities and taking responsibility for your essential tasks are effective ways of improving your self-management skills, as they guarantee increased productivity.

You can use daily planner apps such as ClickUp, Trello,, Todoist, and nTask to help you make the right decisions for your needs.

In developing your organizational systems, you need to utilize an agenda book alongside a time management app that helps you better manage your tasks and responsibilities.

Whether a filing system, a physical datebook that lists out your tasks, or productivity apps on your phone, depending on what organizational system works best for you, so long it helps you achieve the goal of staying organized.

4. Create Strict Deadlines

Creating strict deadlines is an effective way to meet your personal goals and avoid distractions. From your prioritized tasks and responsibilities, assign deadlines to each stage of the new project you are embarking on and keep track of your set schedule.

Project Title - Project Schedule
Source: Vertex42

Strict deadlines enable you to be accountable for the tasks under you. You are better motivated to complete tasks on or before the predetermined schedule.

So long as your deadline is achievable, strict deadlines are one factor that you need to hold yourself accountable. If you fall behind on your schedule, you are motivated to commit more time to reach the deadline you set for yourself.

5. Focus on One Task at a Time

Being well organized is an essential part of self-management skills and starts from focusing your time, energy, and ability on a single task.

Multiple tasks stress overwhelms you, as there are lots of tasks to accomplish simultaneously. The best way to deal with multiple tasks is by efficiently managing your time and effort by completing each task thoroughly and ticking it off before moving on to the next task.

Minimizing stress is one benefit you can gain from developing self-management skills. Take an organized approach to your list of tasks and accomplish them according to their order of priority and relative importance.

So, by taking on tasks one at a time, you are further shielded from the stress of multi-tasking and distractions that tend to deviate you from achieving your goals.

6. Practice Patience

Keeping a sense of relative calm is an approach that allows you to think clearly and objectively. It is a skill that requires constant practice and patience.

Patience is an essential virtue in your quest to improve your self-management skills. This virtue allows you to see things from a different perspective and makes you arrive at sound decisions.

Practicing patience is one of many ways to improve your self-management skills further. You are in a better position to effectively help others when you are considerate and can empathize with their needs and experiences.

7. Prioritize Your Health and Wellness

Health is wealth, so you must consider maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining a proper diet, emphasizing regular exercise, taking time out to undergo personal hygiene, and reducing stress levels are all efficient ways to prioritize your health.

When you feel overwhelmed, take breaks from tasks and clear your mind off work to be more refreshed and productive.

Prioritizing your health and ensuring your overall well-being is one of the effective ways you can improve your self-management skills.

Your mental health is one area you must take care of, as stress is the most significant risk you will encounter.

By prioritizing your mental health and self-care, you deal better with stress and improve your overall well-being.

8. Evaluate Your Progress

From time to time, you need to assess your progress toward achieving your goals and mark your milestones to keep track of your accomplishments after completing them.

Self-motivation is one self-management skill you need in your life endeavor. You can only complete tasks on or before you evaluate the progress you have made thus far.

Having a mentor can be particularly helpful as their comments serve as feedback for you to improve your self-management skills in the future.

Self-Management Skills in the Workplace

Managing your activities is needed in all areas of your life, especially in your workplace. Exhibiting self-management as a skill can position you to achieve and exceed the goals laid out for you.

Being a reliable employee in your workplace is near impossible without you having developed self-management skills. It allows you to stay productive, making you a valuable asset.

Here are some tips to help develop and practice self-management as an essential skill in your workplace.

1. Arrive for Meetings Prepared and on Time

Meetings are always pre-scheduled in every well-organized organization, which is one factor you need to take full advantage of in your workplace.

When a scheduled meeting is coming up, you need to prepare and plan for it beforehand by gathering all relevant information you may need during the meeting. Consider creating an effective team meeting agenda to help you properly plan your meetings.

You should also consider what the meeting is about and come up with questions you need to clarify to prepare you for the important tasks ahead.

Ensure you maintain focus on the goals expected from the meeting. With your self-management skills, you come out to all other team members as a collaborative contributor.

2. Plan Ahead for Your Day at Work

Self-management skills teach you how to structure and organize your personal and professional life.

Every workday is characterized by a set of goals you aim to achieve at the end of the day. You can only meet them if you make deliberate and conscious efforts to plan.

After each work day, organize a calendar with a to-do list of your daily tasks and prioritize them based on how important they need to be completed.

This time can also effectively measure your performance against what you set out to achieve for that day against your initial plans and make adequate adjustments where necessary.

3. Maintain an Organized Agenda

The best way of maintaining an organized schedule in your workplace is by creating a to-do list of daily tasks, a schedule of events, meetings, and their respective deadlines.

With a planner or any task-tracking application, you can effectively track your progress so far, as it provides the needed structure and organization to keep you on your feet.

It is near impossible to manage important projects or other certain tasks that have encroaching deadlines without self-management skills.

These skills allow you better manage your tasks and responsibilities and remain calm in the face of approaching meeting deadlines.

4. Outline Your Project Goals

Outlining your business objectives and project goals are crucial for success. This activity makes it easier to determine your strict deadlines and keep tabs on them before they elapse.

5. Assess Your Projects Early

You must be self-aware of the tasks and projects assigned to you in your workplace. Ensure you properly understand what is expected from you before embarking on uncertain tasks or projects.

Asking questions can never be enough. You need clarity and guidance in difficult situations.

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Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.