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Self Management Skills: 5 Strategies to Manage Oneself Within Time

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Self Management Skills: 5 Strategies to Manage Oneself Within Time

Sarah Mae (SMae) |
Self Management Skills: 5 Strategies to Manage Oneself Within Time

Self-management is an Essential Life Skill. This post explores self-management vs time management and tips to improve your self management skills.

Self Management vs Time Management

Let’s consider the made-up concept of “time management” for a second… Can you actually “manage” TIME? Perhaps if you’re Dr. Strange, then yes. However, for the rest of us mere mortals, of course not.

You see, time is a social construct that we have zero control over. Therefore, calling it “time management” is really just setting ourselves up for failure.

You can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself within it.

We tend to think about time as something that is happening to us rather than as a tool that we have to utilize. This leads us down the road of “I’m too busy”, “I don’t have enough time”. In reality, you have full control of how you use time by managing yourself within it.

So what should we call it instead? Self-Management fits the bill perfectly.

What Are Self Management Skills?

Self management is defined as taking responsibility for your own behaviour and well-being.

Let’s extend this to include living your life consciously through goal setting, planning, and, most importantly, consistently following through on what you say you’re going to do.

If you have strong self management skills it means that you understand your responsibilities in all the different categories of your life and you do what you need to do to fulfill these responsibilities.

Why Self Management Skills Are Important In Our Daily Life

You build the life of your dreams in the small steps you take daily.

The ability to self-manage is critical to living a life of your own design. If you don’t know how to be productive, stay focused, plan strategically, and hold yourself accountable for following through, you’ll end up living a life someone else has chosen for you.

No one else can do these things for you, which makes it an essential skill to master.

Strategies For Self Management

Do you ever catch yourself scrolling on social media for hours? Or find yourself watching just one more episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race even when you know you have an early start in the morning?

Have you ever procrastinated on doing something until the very last minute only to run out of time?

If so, like most people, you need to work on your self management skills. The good news is self-management can be learned through practice with these 5 strategies:

1) Get clear on your values

Values are the qualities we see as important operating principles in our lives. Qualities such as courage, learning, equality, connection, fairness, freedom, health, and reliability.

Values are intrinsically motivating. We feel good, alive, and aligned when we’re acting them out and dis-empowered and disconnected when we’re not. When we align with them, with what’s most important to us personally, then we don’t need external reasons or motivators to get going and self-management becomes easy. 

In this simple truth lies a key reason why identifying values and living aligned with them is so important to our sense of success, ease, vitality, and self-actualization. 

For example, I value wellness. I plan to live to be at least 120 years young with all the physical and mental vitality of my youth. This value drives tons of my daily actions, from what I eat, to how I move my body, to what time I go to bed for optimal sleep. Self-management around my daily habits is easy when I keep my core values in mind.

Becoming clear on your core values will help you to understand your underlying motivations, and make decision making and goal setting much easier. 

What are your core values? Here is a great resource for identifying them if you are not yet sure:

2) Create a vision for your future

Now that you have a strong understanding of what drives you, it’s time to create a life vision that you can use to further guide you in life and decision-making.

In order to live a life that is balanced, clients in my signature 1-1 coaching program, Busy to Balanced, create a vision for each of the 12 different life categories (adapted from Jon & Missy Butcher’s Lifebook method).

The categories we cover include:

  • Longevity
  • Intellectual Growth
  • Character
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Spiritual Connection
  • Self Love
  • Love Relationship
  • Parenting/Mentoring
  • Social Life
  • Career
  • Finance
  • Quality of Life

For example, in my Longevity category, I envision myself as “healthy, flexible, strong, and full of energy”, and I remind myself of this vision every morning. When you’re guided by your vision for your future, instant gratification is not so attractive.

Furthermore, armed with a clear vision, you’ll intuitively know what to prioritize and be driven from start to finish.

3) Make a Focus Map

To create a truly phenomenal life, you need to balance all 12 categories as much as possible. How do you do this? By creating a Focus Map.

First, you want to determine where True North is for you, this is your desired future life vision. This main overarching goal is what everything aligns to. Once you know this, you’ll be able to make all your future plans with ease.

Next, you work backward to identify what steps you need to take to get to your True North by creating actionable yearly, quarterly, monthly, and daily goals.

For example, to achieve my vision of living a long and healthy life, I want to nurture and fuel my body for optimal performance. I do this by ensuring that my house is always filled with delicious food, by preparing weekly meals in advance, and by having a green smoothie most days. As a bonus, I have found that planning ahead gives me MORE TIME to do all the things I love to do.

4) Learn to plan strategically

Strategic planning involves taking your Focus Map and scheduling the steps you’ve identified.

Scheduling is important because as humans we’re wired to take the path of least resistance, so if you decide you’ll just do things when you feel like it, those things are likely never going to happen.

So you’re going to have to plan out your steps and schedule them ahead of time. Include a specific time and location, as well as what you’re going to need and how you’re going to have it ready.

Once you’ve thought through when, where, and how you’re going to do something, and have written it into your schedule, you’re THREE TIMES as likely to stay on track.

For example, to get into the habit of having a green smoothie every day, I make sure that I scheduled time to prep all the veggies into bags and freeze them so that I can make fresh batches on the go.

5) Keep yourself accountable

Being clear on your values and vision will make holding yourself accountable much easier. However, it’s one thing to have a solid set of well-thought-out plans scheduled, it’s another thing entirely to follow through on your plans. So how do you do that?

? Keep your promises to yourself.

So what happens when you don’t follow through? It’s no different than every other relationship, when someone tells you they’re going to do something and they don’t do it, you learn not to trust them. The same goes for the self, every time you promise yourself you’re going to do something and you don’t do it, you learn not to trust yourself.

The best thing is that the opposite is also true. Every time you DO follow through, you learn that you CAN trust yourself. So you have to commit to it and stick to it, which may be hard at first, but eventually, it will become second nature as you rewire your brain to trust yourself.

On the other side of this, do not make promises that you cannot keep. Don’t say you’re going to work out 5 days a week for an hour when you only have 10min every three days. Consistency is key here.

? Focus on what you can control.

No matter how good the plan you make, you’re not in control of, or responsible for, everything that happens around you and focusing on the things you can’t control will lead to “falling off the wagon” syndrome, where you feel like you have to stop or start over because you hit a speed bump.

You don’t, just keep driving.


Time management doesn’t exist. What you want to hone are your self management skills.

With these skills, you take full responsibility for your behaviour and well-being. This includes getting clear on your values, creating a vision for your future, understanding the steps you need to take to support the achievement of your life vision, strategic planning, and holding yourself accountable.

Do all this and you’ll be able to create the beautiful life you’ve been dreaming of.

Rise With SMae

P.S. I still have some spots in my signature 1-1 coaching program, Route to Rise, where I can help you develop the skills you didn’t learn in school and finally take control of your life with the healthy habits, motivation, and clarity needed to RISE to your Peak Potential and live the life you KNOW you deserve. Find out more and book a clarity call HERE.



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