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Crucial Self Management Skills

Last updated by Ashwin Ramachandran on Apr 01, 2024 at 01:09 PM | Reading time: 19 minutes

Jim at the workplace was a complete mess. He was always snapping at co-workers and was on a permanent panic mode. He often came in late to work, missed submitting assignments and was usually unable to achieve targets. People wondered to themselves how could he have gotten through the interview process when he lacked the necessary personal management skills.

He was deficient in the necessary ability to regulate and handle his life. A co-worker took pity on him and introduced him to the art of managing himself. From then on, Jim was able to control his moods and regulate his work life.

Over time, he worked on himself and earned the respect of his colleagues. If you find yourself in the same predicament and need to work on developing self-management skills, this article is just for you!

Through this article, we will discuss self-management skill definition, self-managing meaning, and self-management skills list.

Here is a gist of what we'll cover:

  • What are self-management skills?
  • Why are self-management skills important?
  • Essential skills for self-organization and engagement with self-management examples  
  • Self-management skills
  • How to improve self-management skills?
  • Self-management skills in the workplace?
  • How to highlight self-management skills?
  • Self-management skills in the workplace?
  • How to be a productive employee?
  • Self-management skills tips

What are self-management skills?

We define self-management skills as those abilities that are necessary to manage and handle one’s self, that is, one’s emotions, actions, and work-life as well as personal life.

The importance of self-management skills is that it helps a person to manage his/her time, goals, work, and makes one capable of handling the challenges that life throws at him/her.

Before you get to the position of managing others, you need to be able to control or handle yourself.

Through this article, you will understand what self-management skills for students are, and how you can incorporate them in your workplace.

Why are self-management skills important?

Self-management in the workplace is a vital and quite indispensable trait. If you have these skills, they will help you to contribute to the workplace in a positive and impactful manner. Also, it makes the whole workflow more productive and streamlined.

The importance of self-management skills is that you are perceived as a more reliable employee who is capable of handling the rigors of the job. It gives the impression that you will be able to work in a professional set-up. These skills are not innate. Over time, you can learn different ways to improve self-management.

Essential skills for self-organization and engagement (with self-management examples)

By understanding the self-management skills definition, a person should be able to handle and regulate all of his/her mental and work activities. These skills are necessary for a person to pick up while still a student or in college.

  • Stress resistance

Probably some of the essential self-management skills for students are the ability to be resistant to stress. A person should have methods and means that help him/her to tackle and cope with the pressure of the job. What it means is that you have a strong stomach for life. When confronted with a stressful event, you know what needs to be done to get the stress out of the way.

  • Problem Solving

Another aspect of self-management in the workplace is the ability to solve critical problems on the go. You have to practically train your brain to solve challenging and complicated problems every day at the workplace. To accomplish this, you need to gather data, analyze, and review and find practical solutions as well as reliable long-term options.

  • Communication

There are so many problems that occur because of poor communication that it beggars belief! If you can communicate without creating confusion and misunderstandings, you have mastered a skill that is sought after in the work place. Information that is delivered timely, and in a concise, precise manner, is valuable for the smooth functioning of the workplace. As personal management skills, nothing beats appropriate communication.

  • Time Management

One of the personal management skills that is relatively vital to develop while still a child is time management. You can teach yourself a variety of time management methods like the Pomodoro method or the Feynman technique. These tricks will help you to get ahead in your work and boost your performance. Ideally, you should partition your time and give priority to tasks depending on their importance.

  • Memory

Another crucial tip of self-management in the workplace that needs to be explained is the ability to remember. It would help if you committed to memory the bare facts of your work. And it would also help if you were a repository of information that others could count on. Having and keeping a wealth of information on hand can significantly increase your prestige in a work-group.

  • Physical Activity

An unlikely (but essential nonetheless!) item on the self-management skills list is physical activity. Physical activity helps you to get your body in working order, and that makes all the difference! With an increase in blood flow in the system, your brain feels energized to take on the day. Also, regular physical activity helps to combat illnesses like diabetes, heart problems and lethargy.

  • Decision Making

Self-management skills are reflected in the way we make decisions. While in the workplace, you will be faced with many challenging and quick decisions that you have to make. Thinking on your feet is an essential skill, and you need to develop it with time.

  • Influencing

There is no sign that you have made it than when you influence the actions of others. If you reach a state of influence, you can guide others too on making decisions that you value.


The Pomodoro technique is named after the Italian word for tomato! The inventor of this method, Francesco Cirillo, named the technique after a tomato-shaped timer that he had in university.

Self-management skills

So, where are these self-management skills applicable in your daily life?

Here, we have compiled a list of areas where these skills come in handy.

  • Organization

Self-management skills definition implies that you become a good organizer. Not just with your time, but you need to organize your physical workspace, your goals, your tasks for the day, etc. When it comes to arranging your workspace, you can take inspiration from organizing expert Miss Marie Kondo!

Having a clutter-free workspace can boost productivity and inspire you to work. When it comes to managing your time, you need to create for yourself a feasible schedule. Nobody can work all day, nor can they have fun for 12 hours at a stretch. So, to create a balance, schedule your work time in a way that is not unrealistic but rooted in your usual work pattern.

  • Goal setting

A critical point on the self-management skills list is the knack for goal-setting. Why is this point so vital? There are many reasons.

Goals are what make work structured. Setting targets gives workers an idea of what they are aspiring to, and what needs to be done in the day. Without assigned tasks, you can be left feeling a little lost. But goal setting has another broader application. Planning goals can show you what’s necessary and what’s not. Once you have got the plans down on paper, you can sift through the list to complete only those which are the call of the hour.

  • Time management

While the self-managing meaning is incomplete without the mention of time-management, most people do not know how to manage their time well. Typically, you need to mark off your day. If you have scheduled meetings, keep some extra time for that. If you have to code all the time, schedule that into time slots—also factor in the time for breaks.

Maintaining strong time-management skills helps you to focus on the more necessary tasks. And it allows you to avoid distractions and stay focused on your work. One tip to remember while scheduling work is to take a vow that you won’t leave your desk until you complete the job. Having this level of commitment can work wonders for you.

  • Self-motivation

The self-management skill definition is synonymous with self-motivation. A big part of your approach to work depends on how pumped up you are to achieve your assignment. No one can stop a person who is motivated to accomplish his day’s quota (and maybe more!)

Employers, in fact, love those who are self-motivated as such people tend to take on more tasks and try their hardest to be responsible for all the work that comes their way. If you lack self-motivation, there may be another deep cause for this lack of interest in your life. You need to identify what you are passionate about and work at that.

  • Stress management

One item to imbibe from the self-management skills for students is the art of stress management. Stress is inevitable. And if you have a job, you will be bogged down by many new responsibilities every day, increasing your stress levels. So, how do you approach stress?

Whether it is simple breathing exercises or hardcore workout in the gym or even yoga, keep some activity on hand like a stress buster. Or else, train yourself to handle stress a little bit each day.

At the workplace, you need to maintain a professional demeanor and have a method for handling stress that comes your way. Handling stress will make employers count on you and rely on you to pull the team through the projects.

  • Accountability

An explanation of self-managing meaning is incomplete without mentioning the skill of taking responsibility for your actions. It is a sign of a mature individual who knows how to take responsibility for his/her actions, both mistakes and accomplishments. Also, it would help if you learned to accept your thoughts and actions.

When you take responsibility for your work, you are more involved in the process of the job, and you gradually grow more interested in the outcome.

  • Self-Confidence

A trait that is vital to self-management skill definition is self-confidence. If you have an innate amount of self-confidence, you are more likely to land projects, cope with stress, and handle the rigors of your job. A firm belief in your abilities gives off a feeling of confidence that everyone may find contagious. Self-confident people are also able to tackle new challenges that the workplace throws at them.

  • Persistence and Resilience

Any self-management skills definition would be incomplete without mentioning the dual traits of persistence and resilience. Persistence is the ability to keep at a task until you complete it, while resilience means the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Both these traits are necessary for the workplace since they gauge how capable you are to handle challenges and setbacks.

Cultivate these two qualities and help yourself grow into a person that doesn’t crumble at the first sight of trouble!

  • Healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet

After all, health is wealth. One of the ways to improve self-management is to take uncompromised care of your health. Every day, take out time to eat well. Include protein, vegetables and fish in your diet. Also, exercise should be a part of your lifestyle. If you do not like working out, try out some activity like tennis or swimming. Whatever activity you choose, you should enjoy the strenuous action.

How to improve self-management skills?

None of us is born with self-management skills. We develop them as we grow.

Here is a guide that you can use if you are keen on boosting and fine-tuning your self-management skills.

  1. Identify at least five strengths that you possess at the workplace. It could be coding or designing or planning. Whichever task that you may be good at, try to make yourself an expert at it. You may have heard of the adage, “Jack of all trades master of none.” So, you need to understand that becoming an expert at those key strengths can get people coming to you for repeat business.
  2. Prioritize the tasks on your list. When you set up a goal sheet, you should also attach to every task a priority. Doing this can make you focus on the most necessary tasks first and the not-so necessary ones later.
  3. Create a system for organizing. It could be organizing your desk space or your work life. Make a method which you can turn to, and make sense of the chaos. Spend a little time every day, for about five minutes, organizing your workspace.
  4. Make and manage deadline. If a task needs to be finished by four o’clock Friday, that is when it needs to be completed. No excuses. No extension of the deadline. Put in extra hours but do not compromise on the sanctity of the deadline.
  5. Self-management skills definition includes the ability to be focused on one task at a time. While multi-tasking may be a desirable trait, it cannot go haywire. Concentrating all your efforts into one task can often be more fruitful than focusing on many tasks at the same time.
  6. Be patient in your approach, not only to work but also with colleagues. Try to practice empathy in the workplace, and you will win more friends in return.
  7. While working, you need to track and quantify the progress that you have made. While you can objectively do this by yourself, you can also engage the help of a mentor. The mentor will help you to analyze where you have lacked and provide you with advice on how you can approach your work better.

Self-management skills in the workplace

Developing self-management skills in the workplace can help you to achieve and over-exceed expectations. You can also enjoy the pleasures that work provides a person. Here are some personal management skills tips that you can utilize in the workplace.

  • During meetings, try your level best to be prepared. By preparation, we mean that you know what is on the agenda and how you can contribute to the discussion at hand. Spend a couple of minutes gathering all the information that you can for the meeting. While at the conference itself, you can take a notepad and jot down all the points that cross your mind and communicate them to the presenter.
  • Before you leave your workplace, spend some time in organizing the next day’s work targets and expected achievements. It should take you about ten minutes to mark your calendar and write down the agenda for the next day. This little activity will help you to stay afloat on your upcoming tasks and priorities.
  • When you are handed a project, try to make a rough timeline of how the project needs to flow. Put down the deadlines on the calendar and mark the dates of submission.
  • Also, when someone hands you a new project, try to understand the exact nature of the project itself. Ask questions until you are mentally satisfied that “this” is the way to proceed. If you need to adjust your initial plan, you can try it at once.

How to highlight self-management skills

No employer wants to raise a baby when he looks for someone to work for him. That is why self-management skills for students looking for employment are crucial. When you frame your resume, you must remember to put in some of these items.

  • Self-management skills for resume and cover letter

When you write your cover letter, try to include the big three of self-management. These are time-management, goal-setting and organization.

You have to mention how you used these traits in the workplace. Here are some examples of how you can do that.

  • I used to organize my work with a calendar at the start of every day.
  • Whenever my team leader assigned me any task, I made conscious efforts to complete it before the stipulated time.
  • I also tried to help my colleagues on time management.
  • I can modestly say that I have achieved three-fourths of the goals I set for myself in my career.
  • As I have progressed in my career, I have reinvented myself several times and realigned my goals to reflect that change.
  • Self-management skills for job interviews

Once you have prepared your self-management skills list, it is time to get interview-ready. Try to arrive early, and dress appropriately for the day. Research the company in advance and prepare a list of follow-up questions.

Here are some examples of how you can weave in the self-management skills into your answers.

  • I was in charge of making sure my team managed to reach its deadlines.
  • Also, since they noticed how much of a stickler I was for time, they put me in charge of maintaining the minutes of the meeting.
  • I was also the head of organizing the workflow.
  • My organizational skills were validated in (mention project) when I managed to come up with a system that helped us work faster than before.
  • Goal-setting is like a hobby for me, and I have managed to achieve most of the goals I have set for myself.

How to be a productive employee?

When developing self-management skills for the workplace, you can follow these tips.

  • Make a to-do list

As already explained before, you have to come up with a to-do list that highlights all the tasks that you want to achieve that day. Having such a checklist mentally prepares you to accomplish the items on it.

  • Prioritize tasks

In every work you set out to do, there will always be a something that is of higher priority and some of lower importance. When you try to work on your tasks, you must not worry about the items of less importance. Focus your attention on those tasks that are of greater importance, since that is where the key lies.

  • Schedule tasks

Make deadlines and time-frames for all your tasks; that way, the road to achieving it will be more comfortable. You can also use time-management software to help you along the journey.

  • Be flexible

There will always come days when, because of unforeseen circumstances, you will not be able to keep to your schedule. Do not be hard on yourself. You need to stay flexible enough to account for this case.

Self-management skills tips

The self-management skill definition requires you to understand that these tips are important for your development alone, and they can boost productivity in the workplace. These additional tips can help as you go through the day.

  1. Always speak your mind. No one can read minds. That is why communication is the key to solid self-management.
  2. When you make a promise to someone at the workplace to help them out with their projects, always remember to deliver on that.
  3. Cultivate a lot of good habits while rejecting the bad ones. It would help if you made good habits, like reading, sleeping early and working out, a part of your life. Try to give up bad habits like drinking or staying out late at night.
  4. Be known for a good work ethic. There are plenty of values that you need to make a part of your life, like timeliness, orderliness and diligence. These old-fashioned values are what the world and any workplace need at this hour.
  5. Practice self-discipline in your life at all costs without compromises.


Ashwin Ramachandran

Head of Engineering @ Interview Kickstart. Enjoys cutting through the noise and finding patterns.

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