Productivity and time management is a critical aspect not only for executives but for pretty much everyone around us. Whether it’s a parent trying to solve several problems at once or a CEO of a global enterprise. Our resource pool is the same. We have 24 hours in our day. The only difference here is that not everybody is pursuing the same goals. So how can you improve your productivity in a way that matches your way of dealing with things?
“You can earn money, but you can’t earn time.”
In Carson Tate’s book “Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style” she describes that there are many tools and methodologies in the world of productivity and time management but these tools don’t always match each and everybody who is trying to improve themselves equally. You need to assess yourself and understand how you work before you can fully buy-in into a productivity enhancing methodology. If you don’t do that, you might be okay with the newly adopted methods but maybe only for a week or two before the workflows collapse.
Ned Herrmann introduced a way on how productivity and management styles can be categorised. Following his conception there are four primary styles of how to get things done.
This person pursues logical approaches and tries to analyze data before an information driven decision is being made. Often team leaders are successfully managing tasks by prioritizing them properly. People who fall into this category might find themselves enjoying management supporting tools such as SWOT or RACI matrices.
This style of working is based on making lists as well as organizing information and tasks into a particular order. There is potentially a sub-categorization here to separate day and week planners from quarter, year and far future designers. Planners are usually familiar with generic to-do lists and Kanban boards or other styles of agile grid planning.
“If you don’t know why you are doing something, it does not matter how efficiently or effectively you do it.”
– Carson Tate
Arrangers are acting on instinct when it comes to making decisions. This person enjoys working and communicating with other people whether they are direct reports, senior management or clients. If you like visual tools like note-sketching, presentation software or flowchart drawings then this might be your group.
Next to the common visionary traits of living in the future with their thoughts, the visionary can disarm any heated discussion will bring everybody back on the same page rapidly. The visionary dislikes being confronted with raw meaningless data when making decisions but will actively gather first hand input from everybody who would be affected by a change. People from this category can be identified by them despising of the status-quo and fighting “the way it’s always been done”.
Ok – what next?
All of these working and management styles have advantages and disadvantages. While we just are how we are it is now to the task to change ourselves but more likely to assess our strengths and weaknesses within our style. After you find those you try to mitigate gaps and leverage your strengths more mindful. Some people might even feel to be a hybrid of more than a single category. Those hybrids need to take some more time assessing their strong and weak points but they will be equally successful regardless of not fitting a hundred percent into a single category.
What do we take away from all this? We understand that there is no “one-size-fits-all” methodology for anything. Even two single tasks sometimes need to be actioned differently not to mention that there are no two projects ever alike.
You need to assess your personal working style in order to find weaknesses and strengths – then you leverage your strengths and work-around your weak spots with mindfulness and adequate care.
For a full deep dive into the subject matter I would recommend you to check into Carson Tate’s book and dedicate some time follow-up on the ideas it might give you.
Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style (Carson Tate)
The Decision Book: 50 Models for Strategic Thinking (Mikael Krogerus, Roman Tschäppeler)
The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace (Ron Friedman)
Delegation & Supervision (Brian Tracy)
Photo credit: Carson Tate / Sebastiaan ter Burg