While there are a lot of self-management books out there today, reading about them will give you an idea — an outline — but you won’t know if any of their advice and techniques actually work until you try them.
I’ve read a small but fair share of those books and have looked deep inside to see what I could take away from them.
In reality, I may have taken nothing from them and absorbed the ideology of a couple of management books only temporarily.
However, the temporary absorption was enough to get me to understand and realize what I, myself, needed to learn from them.
We can sit around and read inspirational quotes all we want and learn what the millionaire professionals did to better themselves, but to know what applies to us, we have to attempt what is taught and as soon as it is taught to us.
The first goal is always the hardest
One of the first things I learned from management books is that the first goal will always be the hardest. And I have run into this experience many times over again confirming its truth.
As people, we don’t want to pursue a goal we think we can achieve unless the first couple of steps give us feedback as to if we are heading in the right direction.
Without the initial feedback, how will we know if what we are doing has medium to long-term benefits?
If an individual was trying to lose weight, started a new diet and saw no results within a few weeks of full commitment, the diet would probably be to blame or just might not be the best fit. So the diet is abandoned.
This is not to say, “If you don’t see results, stop what you are doing,” but instead to give a look into the fact that we need initial results when we start something or else we won’t see the point.
And quite often, what would the point be if the first initial results are no different or not existent?
It’s the pressure of waiting and trying and hoping for those first results that make the first goal the hardest.
The confirmation of, “Yes, I am losing weight, this diet is working!” is what makes the goals after easier by comparison.
The first goal has the struggle of anticipation, while the rest can be as simple as staying consistent with the diet.
Test your limits
I’ve come to notice when I explain all that I have to do throughout the week to others, it sounds like a lot.
I had a bit of a rough start trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my college career and far after. And although I believe I found what I want to do, the initial browsing of choices felt dry and worrisome.
As soon as I started to get on my feet and do what I thought was right for me, I took in all that I could to better prepare for after I graduate.
I’m testing my limits on what I can manage and seeing how many things I can accomplish and put on a resume before I go out into the real world.
However, I’ve never run into the problem of having too many things on my plate. I’ve taken in all that I have been offered and without consideration of whether or not I can accomplish it, I have tried and so far succeeded in the management of it all.
Before accepting something else to add to my routine, I might consider that I don’t have the time or wouldn’t learn fast enough, but through testing my limits, I’m only expanding on what I can offer.
Don’t just think about what you can accomplish, compare it to what you are doing now and better yet, test it. Add it onto what you are already doing. Don’t shift around responsibilities unless you have failed one or the other from conflict.
Ambition is what I am referring to and ambition is always looked upon with gratitude.
Do what you believe you can do and understand that finding out if you can’t is always better than not doing it with expectancy to fail.
It’s better to have something and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Formulate different versions of yourself
We’re always told to practice making ourselves uncomfortable to be open to getting comfortable to new situations.
However, if there is only one new thing to get comfortable doing, it will moreover be a personality shape or adjustment if everything outside of that one situation feels comfortable.
Doing multiple things throughout the week that make us uncomfortable allow us to be able to switch ourselves between modes.
It’s adding onto the professional vs personal versions of ourselves with ones that we can utilize more often than not.
People will tell you that writing in a coffee shop is better because you’re not at home with all of the distractions. But those same distractions at my house with my computer are still there when I bring my laptop to the coffee shop.
So what else could we see as what is happening in this environmental change?
Going to a coffee shop to write is bringing out another version of an individual whether they notice it or not.
Being groggy and getting ready to go hang out with friends has the same adjustment. Our mood changes, how we present ourself changes but we don’t give that easy adjustment a single thought.
We can use that understanding of formulating different versions of ourselves to allow us to make uncomfortable situations forcibly create a brand new version of ourselves.
I would have never had a blogging mode until I started blogging and although I felt uncomfortable at the start, I adjusted and now when I sit down ready to write, I don’t feel the transition my mind takes to start writing. It just happens.
The uncomfortable becomes comfortable when our brain learns the shift and does it for us allowing us to shift into whatever mode of ourselves we need. Whether it be personal, professional, confident, helpful or productive.
Learning management of yourself can be hard. It can and will take time. But from what we know about ourselves now, it’s seeing what we don’t know or haven’t tried that show us where we should be going and how we should be testing limits.
Absorb what you need and apply it to your life and see what sticks. See what you learn and what you feel you can teach to others after your own experimentation.