How to Enhance Self-Management Learning through Daily Journaling

Sep 22, 2021

If you've been considering the fact that you may need better self-management skills... you have come to the right place.

Without understanding why you do what you do (or don't do what you need to do), it's pretty impossible to implement change into your daily life.

But, the problem with this is that most of the current studies, in regards to procrastination and self-management, are performed on individuals with disabilities, rather than developing individuals. 

Simply put, researchers aren't studying fully functioning people like you and me. Which means the results you find through a quick Google search may be a little more complex than you need.

So, I want to help you look at how you can enhance daily self-management, specifically through one increased task: daily journaling.

In this article, we're going to be looking at what self-management is, why we procrastinate, and how daily journaling can be the solution to all of your problems!

(At least procrastination problems.)

 

What is Self-Management?

It's interesting to think of self-management as a skill that can be applied both to those who need assistance in monitoring their own behavior, and also those who have absolutely no need for self-monitoring within certain aspects of life. 

Self management, simply put, is the ability to control your actions. Whether this is in reference to work, relationships, play, or even self habits, your actions are what leads you closer or further from your goals.

It's also the ability to control your thoughts and emotions, so that you can act in ways that are best for you, as well as those around you.

Therefore, if you are able to manage your actions and reactions, in a way that benefits each and every situation, you may quickly notice how your life changes for the better.

Oddly enough, though, Skinner- who was noted as someone who demonstrated remarkable productivity and creativity-  emphasized the necessity of each man having a solid grasp of his own behavior, regardless of development.

But, more modern literature suggests that through cognition and choice, self-management is more than just the man's behavioral choices.

The new lens is developmental, rather than behavioral.  In other words, the question isn't so much about shaping behavior that needs to be changed, but rather about how to help each woman tailor her own life.

In a sense, self-management is like giving yourself permission to be the person you truly want to be... and not being afraid to do what it takes to get there.

 

Why is Self-Management Important?

We are all given the same amount of hours in a day to accomplish our tasks.  Some people strive to do more with their time, while others attempt to leisurely go through each day just getting by.

Of course, you can always learn how to get things done faster and better than before... but that doesn't necessarily mean that you will become a better person.

There is no innate ability to "choose" what we do throughout the day... but that doesn't mean you can't learn how to make good choices for yourself, and in service of others around you. 

As it's so often said, there are only two kinds of people- those who work and those who don't.  No one can force you to work when you don't want to... but it's still an option that's always available.

In the end, self-management includes your time management skills, your ability to make good decisions for yourself and others, as well as your thoughtfulness and attentiveness towards each of the things you do each day.

The question is: how can you foster self-management, and how can you utilize it in the best possible way? 

To answer, you must understand that the ways to increase self-management habits are endless.

Any behavior that you desire to increase or decrease in your life may actually be influenced by proper implementation of a variety of self-management strategies. 

 

How to Enhance Your Self-Management Skills

One example of poor self-management skills, and the primary example we'll be using today, is our little friend 'procrastination'.

Now, I could break this to you easily... but, we just need to dive on in.

By procrastinating on daily personal, relational, and work tasks, it is scientifically proven that you will be more likely to experience anxiety, a low sense of self-worth, disturbances, depression and various forms of extreme psychological stress.  

Previous research has even demonstrated a link between procrastination and certain personality traits.

For example, let's look at neuroticism.

Neuroticism is one of the long-term, big 5 personality traits, and it refers to people that suffer with depression, anger, guilt, and other negative mental health complications.

It is one of the most significant elements leading one to procrastinate. The DSM-5 refers to neuroticism as an individual's sensitivity and propensity to experience internal distress. 

That being said, an individual with neurotic personality is also more likely to experience high levels of emotional and psychological disturbances. Further, it is likely that one experiences feelings of helplessness, an inability to control impulses, low self-esteem, low self-worth, and lower real-life problem-solving capabilities.

Both of these experiences can then easily lead to a harder time creating healthy self-management habits.

In summarizing previous findings related to procrastination and personality traits, we can highlight relationships between the following: procrastination and depression, procrastination and anxiety and even procrastination and concepts involving the self.

An example for this could be self worth.

The current study maintains a focus on the latter (improving concept of self) by implementing a self-monitoring performance contingency to increase daily journaling.

 

How Daily Journaling Can Enhance Self-Management

As you may already know, there are many different ways to increase self-management.

But, a simple strategy that's been discovered recently is something called "self-monitoring."

When you increase the way that you monitor your daily behaviors (either through a personal log or by recording them on any other type of recording device), you place yourself at a greater chance for success in understanding and improving your self-management skills.

For this particular article, we're going to focus on journaling specifically.

By journaling your thoughts, emotions, daily tasks, and overall feelings on a regular basis, you can drastically improve goal setting, increase positive behavior changes, increase self awareness, and even better recognize your personal motivations.   

All of these things can enhance a variety of self-management skills, including the ability to set goals, make good decisions for yourself and others, plan well-thought out action, learn empathy towards others and even improve your attentiveness towards each task that you do every single day.

All in all, this can directly decrease your levels of procrastination.

But, I do not recommend journaling blindly to begin with- if you have never journaled before.

Instead, I encourage you to begin with a themed journal prompt!

Specifically, the theme of each journal prompt could be aligned with your “future-self”. 

For instance, your journal entries can focus on a behavior the you hope to emit more routinely in the future. It gives you the ability to openly manifest a sense of self that you hope to achieve in the future, as opposed to aversive personality traits and/or behaviors you currently identify by.

Don't just trust me on this, though.

The future-self journal prompts are derived from the work of Psychologist Dr. Nicole LePera and stay slightly modified to maintain a focus on improving procrastination. 

By doing this, you may also notice an increase in your self-esteem. 

 

Daily Journaling Prompt Examples

-> If I bring more awareness to my life today...

-> If I take responsibility for my choices and actions today...

->  If I use my time wisely and stay on task today...

-> If I leave any tasks incomplete that don't require my immediate attention...

 

Why these work:

By being able to understand and reflect on how your actions (or lack of actions) directly effects the outcomes tomorrow and in the days to come, you are now able to see the consequences and rewards for yourself.

This will also allow you to cut out any unnecessary tasks or goals that don't actually align with who you are, what you want, and where you want to be.

By avoiding the pursuit of unimplementable goals, you can now focus on behaviors that truly align with your overall values and beliefs.

In doing this, you'll find that it becomes easier to approach your goal with full force and enthusiasm!

Journaling in a future-self way will also boost the frequency in which you are able to use self-talk to monitor your own behaviors (even if it's just by a small amount).

While doing this, you will also be able to increase your capacity for self-control. This is in turn increasing the frequency in which you are able to control how you react and respond in any given situation, instead of succumbing to aversive feelings such as anxiety, depression or anger.

The most important thing that you need to know about journaling is that it can help you become an active agent in your own life, instead of passively complying with the demands and constraints present. It allows for a sort of “self-therapy” situation (or at least some form of self reflection) by creating a forum for personal reflection and self-compassion.

It also helps you understand yourself better, as well as the world around you.

 

Journaling Increased Self-Management in Conclusion

It seems that journaling, when done correctly and on a regular basis, is one of the most effective ways to improve self-management skills.

The studies suggest that you should journal for a minimum of 21 days in order to see an effect. It's proven that this is the allotted amount of time to create a habit that changes your inner being.

But, it doesn't take this long to begin seeing the effects of journaling throughout your day to day within your workplace, personal life, and relationships.

However, don't be discouraged if you do not notice any changes within your first couple of days.

Journaling is meant to be a practice, not a chore!

This is completely normal and most likely just means that you need more time.

Just stick with it for at least a few weeks before deciding to stop.

You may also notice an increase in your self-esteem as you focus more on behaviors and traits that will lead you towards success.

If this sounds like something that would benefit not only yourself but others around you who struggle with procrastination or other mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, it might be time to give journaling a try!

 

FAQ:

Q: Are there other ways to increase self-management, in terms of procrastination?

Although I find daily journaling to be one of the best ways to enhance self-management and limit procrastination, there are a huge array of other ways to do this. If you are struggling with this and don't know which step to take next, reach out to me so we can figure it out together!

Q: How can I find the appropriate future-self journal prompts?

I would love to give you some specific, future-self journaling prompts! Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. :)

Q:  Are there other  benefits of journaling?

The benefits of daily journaling in means of future-self, gratitude, and even just reflection are never-ending. Not only will you be able to recognize habits, patterns, and behaviors that you may want to change (or find out that you love), but you may also find that, by writing, typing, or recording everything out, your brain will feel a bit more clear.

If you enjoyed reading, 

The best way to get more is by connecting with me as we travel the journey of life. Only the occasional email here & there :)