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Self-management skills

the ability to make wise choises to achieve a fruitful and

joyous life

Self-management skills

What do we mean by self-management?:

It combines the two words management and self.

Management deals with motivation, planning, goal-setting,

calculating resources, controlling, regulation etc. according

to a task.
Self has a double meaning: the self as autonomous actor or

manager (not somebody else outside) and as the target of

the management.

Self-management skills

What do we mean by self-management?:

Theoretical roots can be found in the self-management-

therapy (Kanfer) focusing on patients autonomy by

supporting their potential of self-regulation in the context of a
chronic disease.

Cognitive psychology (e.g. Bandura) and especially action

theory (Heckhausen, Gollwitzer) build up the theoretical and

empirical ground for the important aspects of selfmanagement (e.g. volition, meta-cognition, cognitive learning
strategies etc.).

Self-management skills

What do we mean by self-management?:

Currently theres no homogenous definition of self-management and selfmanagement skills. Some foci can be worked out:
strategic technique for efficient and successful
planning and self-regulation
gaining autonomy (link to empowerment)
integrated self-actualization (link to identity)

We propose the following working definition:

Self-management skills are skills on which we decide ourselves to facilitate
the awareness, realization and maintaining of our goals, that are important
for our self.

Self-management skills

Self-management, personal and social skills

Self-management skills use the other skills (personal, social) as
resources and combines them in a strategic way in the action
process for the own needs and goals.
Self-regulation, self-control,
time-management etc. can be seen as
integrative components of
Self-control vs. self-regulation

Self-management skills

Self-management skills and Lifelong Learning

In the special context of learning the current scientific strategies
for learning overlap with the general self-management skills
focusing on learning goals and technical aspects.
For Lifelong Learning, the additional aspects of autonomous
self-regulated learning in combination with self-actualization
in the sense of our working definition has a great importance.
The awareness of the own skills for realizing a learning project and
for reaching a learning goal are leading to the perceived selfefficacy, which is essential for the motivation and volition to
start an own Lifelong Learning project.

Self-management skills
Important steps of self management
Self-management skills are crucial for successfully planning and
implementing activities. Each activity wittingly or unwittingly
is based on a sequence of cognitive and active steps
setting goals
calculating ressources & barriers
effective planing of workprocess
realisation step by step
keeping motivational balance

Self-management skills
With regard to learning processes, the following steps can be

setting goals

The individual must decide on an own specific learning goal.

The predominant goal may for example be earning ones living, attaining a

higher standard of living or a higher level of education.

What is now needed is to define interim goals en route to the higher-level
goal, which in turn requires additional cognitive and active processes to be
E.g. defining goals with SMART (Doran, 1981)
Specific to target group:
Important to identify and set their own goal which is realistic and coherent to
their identity.

Self-management skills

SMART (Doran, 1981)

Letter Major Term



A specific goal will usually answer the five "W" questions


A measurable goal will usually answer questions such as:

How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplis


How: How can the goal be accomplished?


Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time?

Does this match our other efforts/needs? Are you the right p


When? What can I do 6 weeks from now?

What can I do today?



Self-management skills
setting goals
calculating ressources & barriers
Calculating resources and barriers:
The individual has to weigh up resources such as time, money, social
support and resolve practical problems such as childcare during a
training course, reaching the event venue, and suchlike.
Weighing up resources and barriers can also influence the motivation
and which goals are chosen (e.g. list of pros and contras).
Specific to target group:
It is important to analyse the resources and barriers, to focus on
supporting resources and to be realistic about barriers. Solution can be
found in group discussions to overcome barriers.

Self-management skills
setting goals
calculating ressources & barriers
effective planing of workprocess

Effective planning of the project:

The individual develops a sort of work plan as well as a realistic timetable
having regard to the resources available and the existing barriers.
A lot of planning tools and checklist are available (e.g. the 5 W
They have to be adapted to the situation of the target group, to be not to
technical or complex.

Self-management skills

A specific goal will usually answer the five "W" questions:


What do I want to accomplish?


Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the


Who is involved?


Identify a location.


Identify requirements and constraints.

Self-management skills
calculating ressources & barriers
effective planing of workprocess
realisation step by step
Step-by-step implementation:
The planned steps of the activity now have to be successfully implemented in
the correct sequence. Resources have to be mobilised, obstacles overcome
and timetables and deadlines adhered to.
In the process, further obstacles and questions may surface which were not
previously discernible or had not been taken into consideration. The individual
must respond flexibly to these new circumstances when selecting
techniques and using resources so as to achieve his interim goals.
Unforeseen problems are the most critical situations for the target
group. They have to prepare for such situations. At this point, a group
situation is important to support a person with ideas and help in the context of
a seminar.

Self-management skills

Remarks on self-management-skills training

According to the cognitive paradigm, self-management focus very much on
analytic and self-reflecting aspects.
People, who are more impulsive or not used to deliberating on everything
should be introduced to it in a playful way, step by step and in a group
situation. Self-reflection can be learned best in group discussions.
Thinking about pros and contras as well as about supportive resources and
critical barriers can be learned in a first step, if this later internal discussion
is externalized in a training with persons playing the role of the pros and
Training tasks for goal setting and planning to reach the goal should be
important to and achievable for the participants.

Self-management skills

How to incorporate the reflective part of self-management skill in learning

Some examples:

keeping a journal can aid planning, goal-setting, and keeping track of

talking about accomplishments, difficulties and achievements can be
a way to develop self-management-skills
the opportunity to practice new skills in a safe environment can
provide confidence to use new skills in a public setting
Personal reflection: thinking about accomplishments is a valuable tool for selfassessment, also for goal planning. There should be enough time set
aside for reflection of achievements
Peer assessment: it might be easier to accept constructive criticism from people who we
accept as peers rather than an authority.
it is important to acknowledge our own achievements and difficulties
formalized discussions provide opportunities to offer and take
constructive criticism

Self-management skills

Combining social, personal and self-management skills,

we are able to achieve our goals!