If you want to operate at peak performance levels to achieve more in life, then it is important to develop critical self-management skills. These are the skills needed to manage personal abilities to be used in various areas of life. Whether you want to excel in business or your personal life, your success depends upon your ability to manage your own performance.
This article highlights 7 self-management skills you will need for peak performance. Each skill listed also includes an actionable item to help you get started. Master these skills for optimized performance and personal growth.
1. Hold Yourself Accountable
One of the most important self-management skills for peak performance is the ability and willingness to hold yourself accountable. If you say that you are going to do something, then make sure you do it. Take ownership of your goals and the work needed to achieve them. If you know that a task or activity requires a certain level of effort, then it is your responsibility to make it happen.
If you fail to act or the performance is not sufficient, then be honest with yourself and determine what changes or adjustments are needed to do better next time. Be true to your word.
Hold yourself accountable by writing your goal or commitment down on paper. You can carry this piece of paper in your pocket to serve as a reminder or dedicate a journal to these goals and personal promises. Writing it down makes it real and tangible. Reflect on what you have written a few times daily to reaffirm your commitment. Do this until you have completed the task.
2. Set Clear Goals
Have you ever set a New Year’s Resolution that quickly fell by the wayside within a few short weeks? While the media likes to give special attention to New Year’s Resolutions because it is a hot conversational piece, these goals are no more special than any other we might set throughout the year. Top performers know that sexy titles do not make goals any more attainable.
Take action by setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals. Use the criteria below with your personal and professional goals.
- Specific – Be specific with what you want and state your goal in simple terms. Boil it down to one clearly written sentence. Avoid ambiguity. Perhaps you want to lose weight or earn more money. Each of these ideas is a good starting point, but they lack clarity. Considering the examples noted above, an individual who lost only one pound or earned just one more dollar will have technically achieved the goal. But chances are that a goal setter would be disappointed with such insignificant results. That is why it is important to be specific by stating exactly what you want.
- Measurable – Use numbers to help measure your results. This way you will know if you are on track to attaining your goal.
- Achievable – This is your goal so make sure it is something that you have the ability to achieve. Assess personal strengths, skills, tools, and resources. Do you have everything necessary to achieve the goal or is something still needed?
- Realistic – Determine whether the goal itself is realistic and can be achieved within the predetermined time frame.
- Time-based – Put a deadline on the goal. When do you want to achieve it? This creates a sense of urgency and can be a motivator to get things done.
3. Develop Time Management
We live in a world filled with shiny objects and noisy distractions. Everywhere we turn, someone is trying to get and keep our precious attention. That’s why an important self-management skill you should develop is time management.
Have you ever logged onto social media to quickly respond to a message but an hour later realized you were still scrolling through your newsfeed or had fallen down the YouTube rabbit hole? If this becomes a habit, then those minutes and hours will add up and turn into days and weeks lost.
Here are two quick tips for better time management. To promote productivity, create time blocks, and schedule your most important activities for these time periods. To eliminate distractions, turn off notifications on social media apps. This is especially important while attending to activities within your scheduled time blocks.
Utilize the calendar on your smart device to schedule important events. There is also a wide range of apps to set reminders, track to-do lists and tasks, and keep yourself organized.
4. Be Self-Motivated
Some people are motivated by external drivers such as money, praise, or purchasing material items. Others are motivated by internal drivers such as feelings of satisfaction, fulfillment, or personal achievement. It is also possible to be motivated by both depending on the situation.
When working towards a goal, here are three questions to ask that will help maintain motivation:
- Why is achieving this goal important to me?
- By achieving this, what will it do for me?
- By achieving this, what will it get me or allow me to do?
If you find yourself losing motivation, then ask yourself these questions. You may need to go through these questions a few times to get to the deeper and more meaningful reasons that will serve as primary motivators.
Focus on your goal and continue to drive forward. You might not be successful on the first attempt, and that is okay. Get up and try it again. Keep going until you succeed.
Sir Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm.”
5. Adapt to Change
One of the most important self-management skills is being adaptive to change. For millions of people around the world, 2020 provided a master class in learning to deal with change that nobody signed up for but were given front row seats to anyway. Change is a natural part of life, and we must be able and willing to adjust course when necessary.
Think about the last time you were driving somewhere and saw an orange sign that read “detour ahead.” Chances are you probably let out a short grumble and mentally prepared yourself for the coming inconvenience. While you had not planned for the detour, you navigated the situation and ultimately reached the destination.
Develop flexibility by reframing the situation. In other words, learn to view the situation from a different perspective. The proverbial phrase, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” is a perfect example. The situation might not be ideal, but you can still make the most of it. Learn to be flexible and adjust course as needed, while continuing to drive forward towards your goal.
6. Use Coping Skills to Deal with Stress
Playing at higher levels typically means having to deal with increased levels of stress. It naturally comes with the territory. Take a proactive approach to deal with stress by utilizing coping skills and having healthy outlets to channel negative energy. Effective coping skills could include activities like listening to music, going for a walk, reading for pleasure, or exercising.
How do your mood and behavior change when you are experiencing stress? Learn to recognize the signs and utilize the coping skills that work best for you. It might also be a good idea to incorporate activities like yoga or meditation into your weekly routine.
Readers who have never meditated before might like to wade in with an easy and relaxing walking meditation. Walking meditation is a form of moving meditation that is exactly as it sounds. Rather than sitting still to perform this meditation, the individual does it while walking. Moving meditations have the same benefits as their motionless counterparts.
Simply go for a 10-15 minute walk outside and focus on your breathing. Take deep calming breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. Use this time to connect with your inner self and relax. This is your personal time, so leave your phone at home to avoid interruptions.
7. Institute the Habit of Daily Learning
Invest in your future by dedicating 30 minutes every day to learning something new. Advances in technology have allowed people to learn from world-class leaders and mentors at any time of the day in a manner that is most convenient to them.
Download your favorite self-help books to read on the go or listen to the audio version in your car or while working out. Watch old TED Talks or attend webinars hosted by experts halfway around the world. Follow your favorite content creators on social media or subscribe to Lifehack and receive tips delivered directly to your inbox. Learning has never been easier.
Right now, the podcast industry is booming. There are currently more than 850,000 active podcasts amassing over 34 million episodes. Whether you want to get the winning edge in your market, advance in your career, or simply want to pick up a new hobby, there is a podcast that has exactly what you are looking for.
Practice these self-management skills every day. Make them a part of your daily routine to operate at peak performance levels and optimize personal growth. These self-management skills are transferable and can be easily applied and adapted in all areas of life.
Practice makes progress. Like anything in life, the more you do it the better you will become.
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