By James Oconnell

A huge part of being an effective manager, either of people or of projects, is managing yourself effectively. You can’t execute your best work and perform at your peak if your own internal systems aren’t fine-tuned and well-oiled.

Popforms CEO Kate Matsudaira offers a series of thought-provoking suggestions for how to be the most effective version of yourself:

What can you do best? In your work, there are things you are great at, and there are things you have to do that aren’t your strengths…. [R]eflect on where you are spending your time. Are there places where you can delegate things? Are there skills or knowledge you need to be building to turn one of your weaknesses around?

Charting the course. Sometimes we work without really thinking about the end goal of what we are doing. We get drawn into what is urgent, or tactically on the forefront of our mind (or inbox!)… Having a personal system of priorities means it is always easy to answer the question of what I am supposed to do, and in what order.

How are you investing in yourself? Really successful people became that way because they continued to invest in themselves and their success. They sought to learn from the best people, they read books, and they tried lots of things…. Write out your resume in 5 years. What do you want to have done in your career between now and 5 years from now? What should you be doing to get there?

Being creative and innovative. It is important to set aside time to do “more” than your normal role. “More” can mean reading more books, meditating, getting exposure to other industries, or just researching and learning about new ideas.

Playing to your strengths, appropriately prioritizing your time, investing in your long-term career, and making time for contemplative thinking are all ways to strengthen your self-management. And with better self-management comes better management of your workload, your own manager, your team, and your career overall.

But here’s the crux of the matter: the more effective you are at being the best version of yourself, the better work you’re going to deliver. That’s because you’ll be firing on all cylinders, surrounded by people who enjoy working with you, inspired by innovative thinking, motivated by a clear professional destiny, and thereby primed for success. And guess what? That stellar performance circles back and helps facilitate that effort towards being your best self, so that a virtuous cycle forms between being your best and doing your best.

Investing the time, energy, and resources to be your most effective self pays itself back threefold.


  • Jennifer Coyle

    I wholly believe in the idea of investing in yourself. Great post.

  • Rebekah Teller

    Great article. It’s so hard to step back and see the big picture sometimes, instead of just getting through the day. Here are more suggestions about how to focus your interests into a career plan:

  • Adam Thomas

    I think the best way to make this actionable is to assign a day off that you have and put some time in your personal calendar to ask these questions to yourself on a weekly basis. Then schedule a bigger swath of time quarterly and yearly to tackle this. My biggest fear lately is running myself off course, and not making my actions align with my priorities and goals.

    Thank you for this post.

  • senthil

    A huge
    part of being a good manager,
    either of people or of projects, ismanaging
    yourself effectively.. I always
    read about ‘managers’ and their well-being? ..why are we not talking about individual
    contributors issues who don’t have a slave ‘team’ under
    them so that everything can be blamed on them? ..There are 100s of books
    ,articles and whitepapers for managers !!? improvement, 1000s of books on
    leadership…though the article is not focusing on managers explicitly and its a generic
    one..please don’t start with a note ‘as a manager’..there is a huge workforce
    under these ‘managers’ who really need help .Please think about them !

    • Sara Benitez

      so Senthil, what would change if this was an article geared toward Individual Contributors? I would argue only one phrase would change ” huge part of being a good manager..” replace ‘good manager’ with ‘engaged contributor’ and I see no reason why this wouldn’t all apply to someone not in a leadership role.

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