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Self-management: methods and definition

Overloaded, stressed and at the end of their strength - many employees describe their daily work routine. A pile of tasks, assignments and bills piled on the desk and time just runs away. The result: overtime , congestion and work comes home. What helps? It is often called better time management then. Not correct! Self-management would be the right answer. Because time can not be managed. But you already have ...

Definition self-management: What is meant by that?
Self management - sounds good. But what does that mean? Ultimately, it's about consciously taking your own work routine into your own hands . These include:

Specifically, self-management includes the following items:

to organize yourself better,
get an overview in the morning,
to plan his tasks,
to prioritize
and of course to stay motivated throughout the day
The core is that you make better decisions . That, however, is hard work. We make about 20,000 daily decisions, most of them within seconds. First of all, that does not make it any easier and secondly treacherous.

Especially in the job we come again and again in situations in which we have to react lightning fast . There we are with a probability of about 60 percent under time pressure, once the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin has determined. No good conditions. If you have to decide much, you lose a good part of your mental capacity.

Myth Time Management: Why you should talk about self-management
Time management is the art of making the most of your time. Say one. Time management is definitive nonsense , say the others. Because you can not manage time. It always passes quickly - regardless of what we do with it. Every day has 24 hours for each person , whether we manage it or not. On the one hand, this is extremely fair, but on the other hand, there is no denying that this causes some people more problems than others.

The term time management does not hit the heart of the problem. Because it's not about time to manage, but your own way of working . If you want to get a better grip on your work routine, you should think about self-management.
Self-management now soon or never say

The problem with decisions: we tend to self-deception
However, humans have developed a kind of protective mechanism for this: instinct. More than 20 years ago, US neurophysiologist Benjamin Libet has noticed that our brain takes action several seconds before the actual decision.

At that time there was a heated discussion about the real free will of the people - because we may already have decided before we do that consciously.

Let's take a simple example from the blazing life: a flirting situation .

You want to appeal to your attractive counterpart, because you feel extremely attracted. At the same time you feel fear, to be rejected. What happens next in your head are two processes running in parallel - or in short: you weigh up which risk predominates and which decision promises greater success.

Now, researchers at Harvard University have studied how quickly these emotional or rational thinking processes follow such a stimulus and what happens in the process. The strange thing is that the emotional response is almost twice as fast as the rational one.

220 to 260 milliseconds after the triggering impulse we feel: "I want that" or "I do not want that" . Only from the 480th to 640th milliseconds begins the mind and calculated, verified, rationalized.

In the neuronal cosmos, the election has long ago been an old man. Therefore, the mind usually takes on another task: it suggests .

At least we try to justify our decision. For example: I can eat this piece of chocolate, because tonight I'm going to do sports anyway. The whole thing is often based on the psychologically deep-seated need to be right . One could also say: we unconsciously tend to self-deception .

So be aware of these effects when setting your priorities or planning your day. Not infrequently your preferences may play a prank on you, which the reason later justifies ( " There's still time until tomorrow ..." ).

Methods: How does self-management work?
Even if you know what self management means, you do not know how to do it actively. Here are some suggestions:

Start with the objective
The first step is to set a goal at all . Psychologist Patrick Hill of Carleton University found out in a study that having goals gives life an important orientation. Determined people are happier, more attentive to their health and longer in life. But how do you set yourself a goal?

Your goal must be clear , but the way to get there must be roughly sketched out. You should always be able to react spontaneously and improvise. Too narrow a plan does not allow this.
Do not make yourself a slave to your goals. That may sound drastic, but there are people who stubbornly cling to a once-stated goal, come what may. As admirable as perseverance is, as your life circumstances change, you should be able to adjust or discard your goals.
Passion sets goals automatically. When you are fully behind something and passionately advocating it, you do not have to set goals. Then you know exactly what you want to achieve.
Plan strategies for planning and organization
Below we have put together the tried-and-true, but also a few less well-known methods for you:

The ABC method
about supposedly takes account of so-called left- and Rechtshirner. That means: Some people are dominated by the left brain, they like numbers, facts, plans, systems. About 90 percent of the time management books are made for them. For right-wingers who are supposed to be chaotic, creative, spontaneous, that's nothing. The hair on the back of the neck already balks at them when they only think of plans or fixed dates. You prefer to decide spontaneously and intuitively.

Self-management Linkshirner Rechtshirner Grafik

That's why the ABC method exists for them: It stands for organizing tasks according to their importance:

A-Tasks: very important (do it right away)
B tasks: less important (do it later or delegate)
C-tasks: hardly important to unimportant (delegate or reject).
So the kind of prioritization is pretty simple - but ABC sounds a lot smarter.

The Eisenhower method
is probably the origin of the ABC method. It goes back to the American General and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower and reminds at the core of a classic mailbox exercise . Eisenhower then recommended subdividing tasks into two categories: are they important or unimportant, urgent or not hurried? To make the whole thing a little more vivid, he recommended - as in the figure - to create a coordinate system for these categories, in which the tasks are registered later - if not physically, then at least mentally. The lower right quadrant is nothing more than a trash can. These tasks can be safely forgotten: neither hurry nor important. A column above it looks quite different (unimportant, but in a hurry). You should delegate these jobs. Tasks that are not urgent but important (bottom left) belong to the calendar and are processed step by step. Still remain the obligations in the top left: urgent and important. So do it now! Of course, it would be pointless to create such a coordinate system daily. The goal is therefore to internalize the principle, so that they can use it intuitively soon.

Self-management Eisenhower matrix table
The ALPEN method
The so-called ALPEN method is also quite prominent, an acronym and a kind of daily schedule and stands for:

A TASKS write
L ength estimate
P ufferzeit schedule (up to 60 percent of working verplanen)
E prioritize ntscheidungen
N achkontrollieren (what has been reached)
Unfinished will then be transferred to the next day.

The GTD principle
again stands for "Getting Things Done" and goes back to the bestselling author David Allen. The idea behind this is to first collect all the tasks that need to be done, and then write them down in a logical system (such as a calendar) so that you can clear your mind for more important things. Then you just have to decide for each new task disciplined, if it makes sense and is integrated into the plan, so you always know what the next step is. Or in short: Reduce projects to the next elementary step and structure these steps according to time and place of execution! Sounds complicated, but is nothing more than setting new priorities every day.

The SMART method
should help in formulating goals, whereby the focus is on estimating them as realistically as possible and then setting meaningful deadlines. However, the SMART method is anything but new, it was developed in 1956 and is also an acronym. It is:

Self-management Smart Method Achieve goals

Specific: Goals should be described as specific as possible.
Measurable: Orient yourself to measurable facts.
Attractive: Plan so that you also feel like implementing it.
Realistic: What you have to do, of course, be feasible.
On time: this means scheduling the tasks in a timely manner. So for example: By the end of the year, I want to earn ten percent more.
Edward's law
again, it is not a method at all, but merely states that the effort invested in a thing increases inversely proportional to the time remaining. Or to put it simply: the closer the deadline moves, the more you run into it.

Self-management Creative process graphic

Also a way to get things sorted out.

The Pomodoro method.
To become more productive, you must learn to take breaks. So set an alarm to 25 minutes and pause for five minutes as soon as it rings. After that, work continues. And after four sessions treat yourself to a rest of 30 minutes. Why is the Pomodoro technique so called? Its creator, Italian entrepreneur Francesco Cirillo, once used a tomato-shaped clock - a pomodoro.

The Cinderella Method.
Do it like the Cinderella in a fairytale: First write down all your habits on a piece of paper - the good and the bad. Then sort them into two piles. Of course, the bad ones are not just proverbial. The others continue to care for you.

The AMORE method.
Sounds slippery - but is just an acronym and stands for ambitious, motivating, organized, realistic and real - so at least you should formulate your goals, so that you can achieve them. Incidentally, a relative of AMORE is the MAGIC method - only that the goals here should be feasible, (generally) acceptable, conscientious, inspiring and ambitious .

Integrate self-management into everyday life
Integrate self-management into everyday lifeAnd to keep things from being just theory, here are some tips to help you integrate these methods into your daily work:

Write down everything.
Write down every idea and task that you can not tackle immediately. So you can put the thought aside and concentrate on your current task. For this strategy to work, however, you must combine it with the second one.

Choose your tools.
To easily and efficiently manage your notes, tasks and appointments, you need the right tools. The key is that you do not constantly try new programs and gadgets, but limit yourself to proven and working tools. Even the best system can not work without a stable base. Here you have to keep your play instinct in check.

Separate tasks and appointments.
There are people who really use their calendar for everything. There are also next to appointments, the tasks of the day and notes for meetings. Lack of space is not an issue with electronic solutions, but if you collect everything in one place, it quickly becomes confusing. Separate appointments and tasks from each other and manage them with different tools.

Combine electronically and analogously.
With the latest smartphones and tablets, you can change your organization completely to electronics, but this is not necessarily useful. For appointments and as an archive for tasks and notes, software solutions offer clear advantages. Content can be synchronized and backed up across multiple devices, but the flexibility of paper does not deliver these solutions. In addition, writing by hand promotes your creativity and makes it easier for you to find ideas.

Work in time blocks.
Interestingly, this strategy is known to most people in one form or another. But unfortunately it hapert in many cases at the implementation. Working in time blocks - used correctly - can be highly efficient. Whether you use the Pomodoro technique or plan generally fixed periods for certain tasks, is secondary. It is important that you keep this time free and avoid disturbances.

Take advantage of the emergency-to-do list.
You probably use the concept of the to-do list every day, but do you have an emergency-to-do list? On this list are all the things that you should not go to. Why? Because these tasks and activities would be a waste of time and often completely unimportant. In many cases, you know intuitively which tasks belong in this category. However, by writing these things down, you can use the list as a reminder and become aware of unproductive habits.

Check before you become active.
Do you belong to the people who work on new tasks as fast as possible? Then you should change that. Because before you tackle a task, you should always first check whether this task can be delegated. In some cases, you may not be the best person for the task at hand and your colleague can do it much faster. Then he should ideally do that as well.

Work intuitively.
Task lists and planning tools are important, no question. But when it comes to prioritizing tasks, you should do them largely intuitively. Because your intuition is not a purely emotional thing, but based on your experience and your professional competence. Of course you should actively plan and prepare tasks, but priorities should be intuitively defined if they are not based on external factors.

Do not fool yourself.
Especially when dealing with unpleasant tasks, many people tend to postpone it and thereby avoid it. Deferment is negatively charged , however, so some people tend to call this postponing a plan to reassure their own conscience. Please avoid this error. With that, you sabotage yourself and build up an ever-expanding mountain of deferred tasks. Instead, ask yourself why the task is uncomfortable for you and what you can do to change it.

Also plan breaks.
The importance of breaks and rest periods need not be emphasized. Therefore, it is amazing how many people plan their tasks and appointments, but completely forget about breaks and rest periods. For your own good, you should plan breaks and defend against new appointments. If you do not, you will eventually be well organized and yet completely exhausted. No desirable condition.

Self-management: How to ensure sustained motivation
Ways to keep up your motivation :

Start routine.
Last but not least, the fun in the job can be lost through too much routine and monotony. The antidote is very simple: Break your routine again and again, change the order of your tasks, change the standard processes a little differently, use new tools and strategies. Big changes are often not necessary, in most cases small deviations from the usual are sufficient Approach to bring back joy and fun

Make goals aware.
When it comes to the profession, many flee to the descriptive. But what we work for and how we work are nothing but descriptions of our profession. For the sake of that we have - hopefully - decided once for a reason. Therefore, the question of why we do our job gives it an individual meaning. The decisive factor is therefore the answer to the question: Why do you do just this job? Why this, here, until today and tomorrow?

Looking for a perspective.
Even if your current tasks do not give you any joy, your job is currently getting you down and no motivation is expected from your colleagues, you can increase your job fun - if you see a perspective. Keep reminding yourself of what your plan and perspective looks like, what you are working towards and why it matters so much to you. Sure, that can also be called repression of the current situation and if you save yourself only in the thought of the future, there is something to it. But if you use your perspective as one of several building blocks of your motivation, this trick is very effective.

Discover common goals.
Do you get along well with your colleagues? Then use this basis to jointly increase motivation and fun in the job. For this purpose, you will sit together as a team and ideally define goals that go beyond the requirements of the management. For example, you can beat the given deadline by several days, impose higher quality standards yourself or streamline internal processes, making it easier to work. Such self-imposed goals usually motivate significantly more than the official guidelines.

Recall successes.
Can you spontaneously name your last ten achievements? That would be hard for most people. The last ten failures come together much easier. Unfortunately, negative events and mistakes are significantly better than positive ones. Be aware of this tendency with your own success diary and note each morning five to ten successes of the previous day. It not only reminds you of the positive events and makes you aware of your abilities and achievements, it also sets you up right at the beginning of the day.

What to do if the boss is putting more and more work on you
Do not complain
Jammers are not sovereign, nor do they open up any negotiating options with this behavior. Look at it from the vantage: You appear to be a performer . Not only are you willing to do more than you expect, you also prove on a daily basis that you can do more than you've contracted out. With your many jobs, you not only develop more and new skills, you also become a bit more indispensable for your employer.

Chefs are prone to work-Alzheimer's and have a natural memory defect, which tasks they have already forgiven, motto: As long as it goes well and the employee proves himself, he gets more work. That's why it's important to keep reminding the true extent of what he's doing. Certainly, some feel that as bragging rights. Not correct! The braggart wants to be praised for things he has not done, but your point is that your true burden is recognized.

Be it on more salary or less tasks. Your boss can not be interested in seeing his achievers burn out like a supernova. It is also a sign of professionalism to be able to organize your work - from failure! Ideally, you 'll point out alternatives: "I'm happy to take on this task as well. But because of Project X and Y, I can not deliver the quality you and I expect. So how do we want to prioritize that? "


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