“If you want something done, ask a busy person.”

Benjamin Franklin.

Most of us have days when we are more productive than others, times when the list of things to do is overwhelming and times when it’s not!  Maybe you have tried different techniques to be more productive, like taking time to organise your email inbox, only to find you like emails out in the open, all in one place. Or maybe you have tried working on one project from beginning to end, only to find that, actually, you like variety. Perhaps you have tried one of the numerous productivity apps available only to find that the simple to do list works just as well, if not better!

So, what can you do to improve your productivity? How about learning about productivity styles and why they matter for your team!

Productivity styles

Productivity styles are about the way your brain is wired to process info, solve problems and complete tasks. We are all unique and “no one size fits all”. Finding the style that suits your innate tendencies can help you to be more productive. And it’s the same for your team.

The four productivity styles we will discuss below are based on the book “Work Simply” by Carson Tate and are based on her work with clients and informed by cognitive research.  Tate developed a 28-item Productivity Style Assessment to help knowledge workers identify their preferred way of operating and optimise it for maximum productivity.

The four productivity styles

  1. The Prioritiser is logical, analytical, fact-oriented, realistic, efficient. They are built with a keen sense of what matters most, can zero in on the primary task and complete large amounts of work in a short span of time. They’re laser-focused on outcomes and love to dive deep into the data. Walk into their office, and you’re likely to find a professional setup that is functional, clean, and free of excessive decorations. Because they focus on data, Prioritisers tend to ask ‘what’ questions: What are the facts? What’s the bottom line? What is the margin of error?
  2. The Planner is organized, detail-oriented, conscientious, punctual. They have a penchant for schedules, list-making, and deadlines (which they never miss!). As such, they’re excellent project managers. When planning any project, they’re particularly conscientious about sticking to the rules, regulations, and protocol. Their workspace is pragmatic and free of clutter. Because they focus on process, Planners tend to ask ‘how’ questions: How will we complete these tasks? How will we resolve this issue? How can we improve this process?
  3. The Arranger is expressive, supportive, collaborative, team-oriented. They love to collaborate with others on projects, and with every decision, they strive to understand how a choice will affect everyone involved. Much like their productivity style, an Arranger’s office is welcoming and filled with personal touches—from family photos to music to artwork.  Because they focus on people, Arrangers tend to ask ‘who’ questions: Who’s involved with this project? Who’s in favour of this decision? Who can help with this task?
  4. The Visualiser is holistic, intuitive, integrating, synthesizing, big-picture thinking. Often serving as a catalyst for change, the Visualiser keeps their eyes on the big picture and dislikes being bogged down by details, structure, and tradition. They have a knack for connecting seemingly disparate pieces of information and can run wild with creativity. Peer into their office, and you’re likely to find a desk piled high with papers, personal items, and collectibles. Because Visualisers focus on long-term vision, they tend to ask “why”questions: Why does this matter to the company? Why are we going with this option? Why did we decide to pivot?

Find and embrace your style

When you read the descriptions above you probably find that one particularly resonates and maybe you can see the different styles of your team too.  And don’t feel that you need to fit into one style – remember one size doesn’t fit all. Pick and choose what works for you, even if it isn’t your primary productivity style.

Embrace other styles

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the best team would be a mix of all the different productivity styles. And it’s good to understand this and how the different styles might fit into your team.  You can probably also identify some of your team in those descriptions above!

Working together

At The Back Room we love working as team with clients and staff in the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia, United States, Canada and beyond. To find out more about our teams and just how productive they are, get in touch!

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