Tom was a brilliant student who landed a good job at a reputed marketing agency.

But that’s when the problems started.

Though he was excellent at academics, he wasn’t punctual or efficient at work. While his lethargy and dependence on others didn’t hamper his studies, it had a severe impact on his work. He would miss deadlines, report late for client or team meetings, and rarely reach the office on time. He soon became unpopular among his colleagues and eventually lost his job.

The problem with Tom wasn’t a lack of knowledge or capability, but a lack of self-management skills.

What is self-management?

Self-management is the art of using certain skills to boost your productivity and performance at work.

Self-management skills empower you to set goals and channel your thoughts, feelings, and actions towards achieving your goals.

Here are some of these skills:

  • Organization: 

A lot of people simply take things as they come and don’t plan ahead. While the thrill of uncertainty and surprise might be useful in fun activities, it can derail your professional growth.

By organizing your plans, prioritizing critical activities, and executing them on time, you can improve your performance.

  • Goal setting:

Our goals are our destinations. Without a destination, one can only wander without reaching anywhere. Hence, by setting workplace goals, we can decide on things that need to be done and chart a course to complete those tasks.

  • Time management:

There are only so many hours in a day. If you don’t learn to prioritize and focus on your tasks, you won’t be able to execute them. Setting up and sticking to timelines is an essential part of self-management.

  • Self-motivation:

You don’t have to rely on external motivation to drive yourself. You must have noticed how walking even short distances becomes tiring when you are fatigued or not driven to reach your destination.

However, a self-motivated person will find joy in every step and will try to reach the destination faster.

  • Accountability:

Taking responsibility for your actions is a key ingredient of self-management. Successful people own their thoughts and decide how they want to act. By becoming accountable to yourself, you will be able to analyze your work practically and draft effective strategies for execution.

Improving Self-Management Skills

The components of self-management make it clear that it is a process that can be internalized through focus and effort. You can become better at it by paying attention to the following steps.

  • Strength assessment:

You must identify your strong points and positive traits. Focus more on sharpening those areas. For instance, if you are good with web technology, then focus on acquiring skills such as coding, technical writing, graphics, or Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • Prioritization:

You must clearly outline the tasks that are critical to goal achievement and focus on executing them.

  • Process setting:

You need to set your tasks according to the order of importance. The most effective way is to use an organizer or a time-management app on your smartphone. If you don’t like relying on technology, you can create a filing system to manage your workflow.

  • Set demanding timelines:

Assign a clear deadline to every task or stage of a project. Avoid distractions and stick to a schedule to increase your productivity at work.

  • Be patient:

Being calm and patient helps in enhancing clarity of thought and decision-making.

Self-management skills at the workplace

Remember Tom?

Despite all his brilliance, he failed to succeed at his workplace because he lacked self-management. However, had he adapted to the situation and made changes to his working style, he could have been a very successful person.

Well, you don’t need to go down Tom’s path.

Here are some self-management tips that can make you more efficient and help you succeed in your career.

  1. Be punctual and prepare well for your meetings and projects

  2. Plan the next day’s schedule before leaving office

  3. Maintain well-structured action plans and agendas

  4. Clearly define the goals and objectives of projects and tasks

  5. Assess the project plans at the outset or during the early stages of execution


Self-management is the process of preparing for the future in a result-oriented manner. By taking charge of your current scenario, setting goals, and executing important tasks in a timely fashion, you can achieve your objectives.

Self-management is critical not only for professional growth but also for the overall development of your personality. It is the process through which you realize your potential and streamline it to achieve your goals.

Harappa’s Interpreting Self course can help you grasp the importance of self-management and create a path of workplace success.

Explore topics such as the meaning of resilience, what is self-awareness, charisma, and resilience examples in our Harappa Diaries section and take charge of your growth.

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