Some work days you feel like you’re checking off every single thing on your to-do list — like a boss. Other days, you’re sitting in a dozen snooze-worthy meetings, wondering when exactly you’re going to tackle the piles of work you need to finish by the end of the day. (Hint: Try these alternatives to the standard brainstorm sesh.) Perhaps you’re stuck in a work rut and desperately want to reenergize your daily routine. Or you’re bad at email and want a better way of managing your 189 (and counting!) unread messages. We chatted with Carson Tate, workplace expert and author of Work Simply, about how we can use our personalities to be more productive at the office — and enjoy it. She gave us her best tips for figuring out our productivity style (with a quiz! YASS!).
1. Determine your productivity style. Instead of trying a time-management tool that doesn’t suit you, Carson says it’s all about understanding how you think and process your work. “The latest productivity app, time-management strategy or tool will not work if it is not aligned to how you think and process information,” she says. In her book, Carson writes about four distinct productivity styles: the Prioritizer, the Planner, the Arranger and the Visualizer. Once you figure out what type you are, you can easily tailor your work day around what works best for you. Take the Work Simply quiz.
2. Use your natural strengths to shine. If you’re a Prioritizer and love analytical data, use it to your advantage. Time yourself doing everyday tasks like answering emails or finishing a weekly report. Once you know how long it takes you to complete a task, you can better manage your time, or even set a goal to beat your time.
If you’re a Planner who adores calendars and to-do lists, group similar tasks together, like reading all of your emails at once. Create a to-do list with tasks that can be finished in 15 minutes or less (perfect for combating procrastination!).
If you’re an Arranger, you love to collaborate with other people, so schedule time during your day to interact with your colleagues.
If you’re a Visualizer, you work best under pressure and love juggling multiple projects. If that fits you to a T, you love novelty and stimulation, so work in short bursts on different projects. Structure your day to work for 25 minutes on project A, 20 minutes on project B and so on.
3. Try techniques that suit your style. If you find that you’re a mix of two different styles — you love calendars and analyzing as much data as possible (like the Planner and Prioritizer that you are) — then embrace your duality. “Review the strategies and tools for both styles and select the ones that resonate with you. Trust your instincts. Let them guide you in the choices you make,” says Carson.
4. Reign in your email addiction. Email can be a huge time suck, and it’s hard to tell if our carefully worded emails are being interpreted the right way. Instead of checking your email every single time your inbox pings, check it at regular intervals. “After checking your email, close it and turn off all new email notifications so you can focus your attention on executing your projects,” says Carson.
5. Question meetings. Before attending every single meeting on your calendar, find out ahead of time what the stated purpose, goal and objective of the meeting is, and figure out if you have a clear role in the meeting. “Question the value of each meeting you attend. Is this meeting simply a rehash of the last four meetings? Am I needed to make a decision, provide information or represent a specific constituency? What will I not be doing if I attend this meeting?” says Carson. If it doesn’t seem like your input is important, ask if you can skip it and focus on other projects instead.
What are your tips for being more productive? Tweet us your ideas @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)