How can Self Management skills improve your Work Life Balance?

Elissa Teal Watson
4 min readJul 7, 2021

I hope that you are having a great week! Today, I want to continue from my previous post about the Emotional Intelligence foundational skill set, Self Awareness, in relation to work/life balance. (I’ll post the link at the end in case you want to read that post.)

Today, I’m writing about Self Management and how improving this skill set can improve your work/life balance.

What is Self Management in the context of Emotional Intelligence? Self Management is your ability to use your Self Awareness to direct your thoughts and behaviors in a positive, constructive way — not only during “intense” moments but also in your daily rhythm.

There are many Self Management practices but today I am focusing heavily on the practice of making Self Care a priority.

2 Big Ideas

  1. Using your Self Awareness skills, determine what activities fill your self care needs best. I like to bring in the 80/20 rule for determining the most effective Self Care activities. I’ve asked myself: “What are the top few (20%) Self Care activities that will bring me the most (80%) Self Care satisfaction?”
  2. Along with determining your most effective Self Care activities, I highly recommend that you tie in your self care activities to your identity goals.

Here’s what the combination of those 2 ideas looks like for me.

I want to be a wife and a mother who is healthy and has the energy to do the things that my loved ones want to do instead of being a tired, grouchy, lethargic wife and mom. So, I need to eat the foods that give me energy, I need to get enough sleep, I need to get physical activity in, and I need at least an hour of quiet time alone every morning (so that I feel centered and at peace). I go for bike rides with my youngest son 2 or 3 times a week because he and I both really enjoy that. I get enough sleep and eat properly so that I can be an “energetic” wife to my husband. Wink, wink.

I want to be a prolific writer so I signed up for to track how many words I write each day for self-reflection, for my social media posts, and for my upcoming book on work life balance.

I want to be an excellent employee so I get enough sleep and I practice great time and productivity management skills. I wrote about my time management skills recently and you can read that here in a recent blog post of mine.

I encourage you to do a similar exercise for the different “identities” or roles that you have. Here’s a fill-in-the-blanks sentence to get you started.

I want to be a great ____________ so that I can _____________ so I will ________________.

Of course, knowing what your best Self Care activities are is one thing. How will you make sure that you actually do those activities?

I suggest that you use your calendar to schedule them into your day. Read more about that in a recent blog post I wrote.

Similarly, you could set a daily alarm to remind yourself to do a daily activity if you have determined that there is a time of day that is best for that activity. I use recurring alarms to remind myself that it is time for a certain activity. A lot. Yes, it can be annoying but it works well.

I also suggest the the following if you have trouble making self care a priority:

  • get an accountability partner to check in with
  • use a habit tracker (paper or app)
  • focus on just 3 things per day that really make a difference to your self care
  • write self-reminders on Post-It notes, on a white board, on your calendar, etc.

As I wrap up this post, allow me to make the connection to work/life balance explicit.

How does Self Management help your work/life balance?

When you manage yourself well, you have the energy and mental clarity to prioritize well and to accomplish your most important work in all areas of your life.

Soon, I’ll be back with the next skill set of Emotional Intelligence and answer the question of how Social Awareness helps you with work/life balance!

Which self management practices do you already do? Which ones do you want to start practicing? Let me know by leaving a comment or emailing me at!*

*As I mentioned earlier in this post, I am in the beginning stages of writing a book on work/life balance so your feedback will help me to make this book great!

Here’s the link to my post about how Self Awareness can help you with work life balance:



Elissa Teal Watson

I write about mindset, emotional intelligence, self-care, productivity, habits, career, and relationship management.