Managing Yourself—Why It’s Important And How To Do It
Succeeding as an executive or an entrepreneur is all about being effective. Managing yourself is an important part of doing this. Although it is tempting to rush around in the frenzy and bustle of everyday work life, such behavior is hardly conducive to actually accomplishing anything. You should never confuse achievement with busyness. Indeed, the most successful people tend to be highly effective plodders. You’ve probably seen them. They’re the ones who seem to never be in a rush to do anything; they are laconic and measured, and ably deal with each issue quickly and decisively: they are, in short, good managers of themselves.
Managing yourself is both an attitude and a habit. While it is true that you cannot control every event connected with your work, it is also true that you and you alone are responsible for how you respond to things. You should never put yourself in a position in which the course of events or the actions of other people degrades your ability to think clearly, calmly, and rationally. Take command of your mind and your emotions. Ensure that each move that you make is consciously directed towards advancing your goals.
Along with adopting this mindset, you should strive to cultivate a number of habits. These habits, as you will see below, are really about knowing yourself and your relation to the environment in which you work:
How many times a day do you hear someone say they’re too busy to do such and such a thing. People who give a blanket “I’m too busy” to a proposal probably don’t have a good sense of what they’re busy doing. They may have a schedule filled with events; but they are unlikely to know just how much time is really needed for each thing. A person who has a firm grip over how they spend their time will at least consider a proposal made to them before responding. They will not allow the busyness of a day to crowd out what may be a valuable opportunity. Time is the most precious resource you have. It is the scarcest, and it is the only one that is absolutely fixed. If you want to learn how to manage yourself, you must not only know your time you must master it.
Closely connected with knowing your time is knowing how to prioritize things. It’s easy to get sucked into believing that everything that comes across your desk or every alarm sounded by your boss or colleagues demands your immediate attention. But that is simply not the case. Doing first things first requires you to determine what things actually should come first. Making this call is not as hard as it seems. If you know your business, you have an intuitive sense for the matters that require your immediate action and those that can put aside for the moment. Planning and directing the course of your professional life means not being distracted and consumed by every issue put in front of you.
Assessing your strengths is something that you are asked to do regularly. Although the exercise can be rather commonplace and mind-numbing, it does give you a chance to really think about what you contribute to the company. If you are an entrepreneur who pushes this assessment onto your employees, it is just as important to think about what you contribute. Indeed, it is especially important for you, as an executive in a position of leadership, to know what you contribute to the firm. If not a special skill or expertise or a range of connection, then what: guidance, vision, steadiness, emotional intelligence? You should be able to ask and answer such questions of yourself.
Success depends not on knowing what your strengths are but on knowing how to make them productive. Doing the latter requires you to constantly observe and evaluate the work and activity happening around you. The habit of knowing how your knowledge, skills, and abilities can be used to solve particular problems or take maximum advantage of new opportunities is one worth developing.
Learning how to manage yourself takes time and patience. But it is worth doing. And it is one of the best ways to lay down a path to professional success.
About Christopher Reid Chris was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Britain. He works as a blogger, essayist, and novelist. His first book, Tea with Maureen, has just been published.