Productivity: the art of getting stuff done. Or rather, the art of getting the right stuff done.
We’ve all had days where we’ve toiled away and achieved nothing that moves the business forward. However, understanding your productivity style can really help you to focus on reducing those days to a minimum and tap into your productive personality.
Understanding your personality helps you to create a schedule that works well for you, set priorities in a way that plays to your strengths and personal preferences, and helps you to fit the work to who you are, so your work becomes a seamless and almost effortless activity rather than a fight to fit everything into your day.
Introversion and extroversion have a great impact on your work style. Introverts working in a very noisy or high-energy environment may lose energy partway through the day, drained by the constant effort of tuning out the unwanted stimulation of chat, background noise and constant interruptions. This can lead to lack of productivity in the latter part of the day. Extroverts, on the other hand, could well find themselves thriving in that very busy environment and struggling hugely in a quiet office at home.
The recent increase in home working may, therefore, have an interesting impact on productivity, potentially increasing productivity in introverts (who may well emit a sigh of relief at the silence) whilst decreasing productivity in extroverts who may be driven mad by a quiet environment. This could lead in turn to some interesting appraisal findings too, with highly productive, highly extrovert staff suddenly suffering a dip in productivity.
Of course, introversion/extroversion is a scale along which we all fall, and as with most scales, forms a normal bell curve with fewer people lying at the extreme ends of the scale. Thus, when considering the impact on your productivity, you will find that in some circumstances, busy and noisy might be a boost to your productivity whilst in other circumstances, silence is most certainly golden.
You have to take into account as well that all personality tests measure what they set out to measure. By which I mean, each test examines particular areas which the creator believed were critical differentiators of personality types. So sometimes the questions are more instructive than the overall ranking you achieve. If you read a set of personality test results and don’t believe that they reflect who you are, then in all probability, you are right and the test results are wrong. However, you may well find that some of the questions have raised points that you find useful to consider when deciding where, when and how you are most productive.
The main benefit of personality tests is to help you to consciously think about yourself and how you work, what motivates you, what demotivates you, and what your approach to certain key areas of your life tends to be. The score is not as important as the insight you gain from the process.
There are a range of personality tests available online, some of which are based on well-known typologies including the famous Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) from which the Introversion/Extroversion scale is taken. Many of us are familiar with the latter, but the MBTI also includes three other scales and our place on these four scales taken together forms a set of 16 personality types and a great insight into our productive personality too:
This scale effectively measures whether you prefer to focus on the outside world or on your own inner world.
This measures how much focus you place on the information you are given and how much meaning or interpretation you add to that basic information. This is the Sensing/Intuition scale.
Examines whether you look at the data on which you plan to make the decision and apply logic or do you look first at the people and circumstances involved in the decision. This is the Thinking/Feeling scale.
Investigates whether you like things to be decided quickly or tend to be open to new information and options. This is the Judging/Perceiving scale.
Your personality type is then expressed as a four letter code, each letter showing your preference in each of the four categories. Understanding these elements allows you to see how you might alter your daily routine to make best use of your personality strengths, whether that is choosing the right location, providing yourself with extra thinking time by scheduling your daily walk prior to a task which you know you need to mull over, or creating a space in the day for research to ensure you feel confident in the decisions you are making and can implement them confidently and well.
Another useful testing methodology to identify important elements that make up your productive personality is DISC profiling. This can be very helpful in providing insight into what motivates you, how you solve problems and what stresses you out. It is well known as a tool to help you to understand how to communicate with different people and how to work as a team with very different individuals. However, the insight into your motivation and problem solving is very useful when working out how to improve your productivity.
Consider how the findings from your investigations fit with the current structure of a typical workday and work environment. If you feel there is a clash, consider how you might alter things to help you harness your productive personality traits so you can work more effectively. If there is an area where you realise that particular activities or processes enhance your productivity already, how can you make that work even better for you?
If you’d like to find out more about increasing YOUR productivity, keep checking back to read the rest of the series. In the meantime, if you are struggling with your workload or productivity, remember:
Tailored Approach to workload + Outsourcing tasks that don’t bring in money = Peak Productivity.
That’s the secret formula that allows my clients to sleep at night, spend time with family and earn more money. If you’d like some of that, give me a call.