The CUOL Self-management Skills Checklist
By Greg Guevara
Academic success is a journey. And like any kind of journey, it’s a good idea to have a checklist at the ready to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time. But instead of a list of items to pack, today we’re going to look at a list of skills that will help you succeed on your academic journey.
The theme of this checklist is self-management. Self-management goes a little like this: Whenever you have something worthwhile to achieve, you need to tackle the actual work and supervise yourself in order to follow through. When it comes to self-management skills, these are our top picks to get to where you want to go.
Know yourself and be honest with yourself. What do you really want? A goal you choose for yourself is much easier to achieve than one that is imposed on you. What are your strengths? Play to those!
2. Goal Setting and Planning
Be clear about what you want to end up with (whether large or small) and figure out your path to get there – whether it is a simple to-do list or a complex project plan.
Making a plan helps with this, but it is good to go in with a positive attitude. Don’t dwell on what could wrong – ask yourself “what if this works?” See the possibilities!
4. Problem Solving and Flexibility
Life never runs perfectly smoothly and there are always things that are outside of your control. Remember: There are always other ways to approach things – look at hitches in the plan as new opportunities to explore! It’s a “crisitunity,” as Homer Simpson would say! Keep your perspective in focus and keep going.
5. Responsibility and Integrity
Willingness to take responsibility for projects and accountability for problems is a skill that employers want and it makes any project run more smoothly. Recognize that you are the one who needs to step up to keep things on track. Made a mistake? Own it and fix it. Integrity means considering your actions, having consistent values and striving to behave fairly.
The more you communicate with other team members, friends, peers and instructors, the better. Working in isolation means you miss new information. Keep in touch and skip the mystery.
7. Decision Making
The time will come when you have to make a call. It’s a scary step, but trust yourself and make it. Gather information and think it over, but don’t hesitate too much or you could bring a project to a grinding halt.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself along the way. Have perspective and recognize when you are working too hard. Take breaks. Socialize. Make sure you get sleep. Use stress relief techniques. Get help when you need it. Add a little nature time to your life. Celebrate your own successes.
Recognize that you deserve what you have achieved and you can claim it. If you have some negative self-talk going on, turn it around. Being confident helps others trust you and helps you trust yourself.
10. Respect for Others
You will have mentors, friends and team members along the way. Realize that they have useful contributions to make, learn to trust and delegate, and enjoy what they add to your life.
How many of these can you check off? For help in mastering these skills, check out our articles here.