What’s your productivity style?
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Many of us have been on time-management workshops at work.
You get back to your desk committed to a new way of working but within weeks (or days) you’ve forgotten it all. We’ve all been there.
The truth is, there is no one-size fits all approach to improving productivity.
Carson Tate, a productivity consultant, believes there are four productivity styles and that each of them demand a different approach. I always feel like I’m chasing my tail, so I looked at productivity in more detail and here’s what I found out.
The 4 productivity styles
Carson has outlined four productivity types:
Prioritiser– a logical and analytical individual who likes to plan their time to ensure they achieve their goals. Unnecessary information and communications are of little value,so don’t expect to receive lengthy emails from them.
Planner – a detailed thinker who will want to get more involved in a project than a prioritiser, who just want the key information. The individual is less likely to be spontaneous and they like to set out clear action points.
Arranger – more sensitive and emotional. This person excels at organising colleagues and prefers personal communication to facts and data. Sometimes, however, they have to restrain their impulses to converse.
Visualiser – they like to bring together multiple ideas and projects, making connections between them while keeping an eye on the big picture. This individual will often have ideas with great potential but their spontaneity can throw others off track.
Which productivity style am I?
When I first read through the four styles, my immediate thought was that I’m an arranger. But then, my urge to write lists (and yes add something I’ve already competed so I can cross it off) made me think I could be a planner.
As with personality or leadership styles, you can have elements or two which are evident in more than one type. There is usually one that is slightly stronger though.
I did this short online test to see if my first thoughts were correct and it turns out I’m a planner. My secondary productivity type is prioritiser.
So, there we go, worth doing the test after all.
What tools are out there to help?
Once you know which category you fall into, you can find out how best to support it. There are online tools and in fact some more old fashioned (non-tech) ways out there to help you make more of your time.
If you’re a prioritiser, then your strengths lie in:
- Analysing data
- Critical analysis and logical problem solving
- Goal orientation, consistency, and decisiveness.
To help you improve your productivity levels, consider using classic low-tech tools, like a label maker. I must admit I do always label things before I put them into my freezer so I know what they are. I’m not saying it helps with my copywriting but it’s great when I stare into the freezer for dinner options!
Other tools include:
- 42Goals: Tracks your daily goals and keeps a log of your daily activities.
- Moosti: A timer-tool (very helpful if you often go to look on social media for 10 minutes and get sucked in for half an hour).
- Wunderlist: Tracks and reminds you of your to-dos (your alternative to a pen and paper).
If you’re a planner, then your strengths lie in:
- Action orientation and practicality.
- Finding overlooked flaws in plans or processes.
- Organising and maintaining data and project plans.
For you to improve your productivity levels, having a tidy desk will help. Labels, pen pots and folders.Alternatively, try a rather more high-tech option:
- Toodledo: Lets you make custom lists and view tasks on a calendar (also good if you want to share with family or colleagues).
If you’re an Arranger, you prefer supportive, expressive, and emotional thinking. You are the ultimate team player. Your strengths lie in:
- Anticipating how others will feel and understanding their underlying emotions.
- Facilitating team interaction.
- Persuading and selling ideas.
To improve productivity, the following tools could help:
- focus@will: A neuroscience-based music service that helps you focus and retain information when working, studying, writing and reading (it picks the perfect playlist for you).
- stickK: A habit forming tool that focuses on incentives, accountability and community (and if you’re unsuccessful, stickK lets your friends know).
Other things include office supplies like nice notebooks with unlined pages and pens in a variety of ink colours.
You prefer juggling multiple and diverse projects to avoid the boredom. Your strengths are:
- Innovation; serving as a catalyst for change.
- Creative problem solving.
- Ability to envision the future, recognise new opportunities and integrate ideas and concepts.
Improvement in productivity could come from:
- Lifetick: A highly visual achievement tool where you can create and add to your lifelong bucket list.
- ZenPen: A tool that creates a minimalist writing zone where you can block out all distractions (well on your screen at least).
Or try multicoloured Post-It notes, coloured folders, notebooks with unlined pages, pens in a variety of ink colours.
I do like Toodledo so maybe the scrappy notes of paper with my crossings out will be no more. With such time pressures in life, it can seem frivolous spending time on something like this. However, in the long run, being able to work more efficiently is going to help me in my work life and in my personal life.
Make an investment and find out how you can make more of you time. If nothing else, finding out a bit more about what makes us all tick is only a good thing.
Making time for the numbers
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