(Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared over at Workshifting, which shares resources on telecommuting, online tools, travel, technology, and virtual offices. With the rise in telework and mobile workforces, I believe self-management is a critical skill to develop. I hope you enjoy the series!)
When organizations and individuals start having conversations about workshifting, the discussion seems to naturally gravitate toward how to manage a person who isn’t sitting around an office all day. It’s a reality and, unfortunately, this is where the workshifting concept can often get stuck.
A basic tenet of workshifting is being able to manage yourself. That’s not to say people who work in offices can’t manage themselves, but I’ve heard from many people over the years that they need an office to visit each day. Because working from home or the local coffee shop can sometimes be a distraction. And having an office away from home keeps them focused.
So I thought it might be interesting to start a discussion on qualities of self-management. Obviously, they apply whether you’re in a workshifting arrangement or not. But if you are considering asking for a workshifting arrangement, this might be food for thought. And even if you find these are qualities you need to work on, that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful in workshifting. It just means you need to reflect a little and perfect your ability to self-manage.
The first quality is knowing yourself. It’s about understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Being very honest with who you are. Let’s face it – we’re not all rock stars at everything.
There are a few ways you can spend time learning about yourself. I always say there are three ways to learn – hearing it, seeing it and doing it.
First, ask for feedback. Talk with people who have a sense of your working style and ask them for feedback about your strengths and areas for improvement. If you don’t have anyone you can ask right now, think about prior performance appraisals you’ve received and use that feedback.
Once you get feedback, take the time to process and evaluate it. I’d caution people not to immediately dismiss it. You might agree with all of it, parts of it, or none of it. But think it though, make the decision for yourself, and then decide what you will do with the information. Do you need to create an action plan to work on something that was mentioned?
Second, read books about developing strengths. One terrific book is called, Now Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham. In the book, there is an opportunity to take an assessment that can help you define your personal strengths. Great way to create your own path of self-discovery.
If you have ever taken any assessments in the past, this is a good time to take them out and review them. Consider the results and, like the process above, evaluate what you need to focus on moving forward.
Third, step out of your comfort zone and do something you haven’t done before. For example, if you’re apprehensive about public speaking…go out there and volunteer to do a public presentation. Use the evaluations from the sessions to improve. Then do it again.
Stepping back to assess and evaluate our personal strengths and weaknesses is a valuable exercise not only for workshifting but anytime. It allows us to keep ourselves focused and positioned to adapt as necessary.
Next up, how self-management and our careers are intertwined.
Image courtesy of the Italian voice2