Micromanage Yourself

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
March 21, 2010

Two kinds of people hate to be micromanaged.

The first long-suffering group usually works for someone who has little to do, who has clinically-certifiable trust issues, who believes that no one can do the job as well as they can, and/or who isn’t effective enough at leadership to share their vision and then enable their people to bring their best to achieving that outcome. This group may not actually need an external micro-manager.

The second group is made up of the people who hate to be micromanaged because they can’t stand the thought of anybody watching what they are doing. They can’t stand the thought of losing the freedom to do what they want, when they want, and how they want. But some subsection of this group just doesn’t want anybody to know that they are not engaged and, more often than not, not working towards achieving any useful outcomes.

Self-discipline is, in part, being the un-trusting boss and recognizing that some part of you (if you are human) needs micromanaged. Those who don’t need micromanaged don’t need to be because they micromanage themselves. Here’s how:

Keep a Vigilant Watch on What You Are Doing (At All Times)

The first step to micromanaging yourself is to keep a vigilant watch on what you are doing at all times. Your time is limited, and you are (mostly) responsible for the choices you make with you do with that time.

This isn’t to say that you must be engaged in work all of the time. Even when you are at work, there are reasons to take time from working to engage with others as human beings, to enjoy each other’s company, and to build relationships. It is important to be human (even if you do have super-human discipline and willpower).

And there is plenty of great reasons to take away from work altogether to enjoy life. But these choices need to taken with the same deliberation in which you make the choices about what you spend your time working on while you are working.

When working, work. When enjoying time doing something you enjoy, enjoy. Just be vigilant; you have all the time you are ever going to have.

Crack the Whip

It is inevitable that you will be distracted. It is inevitable that you will, from time to time at least, lose focus. There are countless distractions that compete for your attention. This is inevitable. But remaining in a distracted, unfocused, and reactionary state is not inevitable.

Micromanaging yourself means not trusting yourself to avoid falling into distractions. It means not trusting yourself to limit your time at the water cooler, on the Internet, on your email, or on your instant messenger.

Micromanaging yourself requires that you get back on course quickly when you are distracted. It means cracking the whip and reminding yourself

Remind Yourself of the Outcomes

It is easy to fall into the trap of mistaking activity for outcomes. Micromanaging yourself means that you focus on more than activity; it means that you focus on the activities that produce the outcomes that you desire, the outcomes that have the greatest impact on your success.

The micro-manager in you needs to remind you that the job could be done better. It could be done with more of your attention, your passion, and your engagement. It could have a greater impact and a greater outcome.


No one likes to be micromanaged. But being successful and doing quality work requires that you micromanage yourself, keeping yourself on task and focused.


1. What distracts you and keeps you from being as focused as you might be?

2. How can you be more vigilant about your time, your attention, and your focus?

3. How can you build in reminders that crack the whip and return your attention to the most important outcomes you need in order to succeed?

4. What activities provide the greatest return on time invested in the way of achieving these outcomes?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on March 21, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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