Are you a busy executive who has an enormous list of tasks, but can’t cross off all of them in one day? Are you an employee struggling to get projects done? In Carson Tate’s Work Simply (2015), she goes over the idea that time is not manageable, but that time is reflected based on the individual’s personality.
If you’re someone who cares about managing time, you probably tried out some useful tips. There are good tips to practice; however, not all of them are effective for each person. Sure, some useful tips and techniques work for others, but they don’t work for everybody. Each individual is different when managing their time and that they shouldn’t try to be someone else.
Tate goes over a couple of critical points to help people “work simply”. These points include:
- Determining Your Productivity Personality
- How Time isn’t Manageable- You Cannot Earn It
- Understanding How The Brain Works To Increase Productivity
To Work Simply: Figure Out Your Productivity Personality
Each individual is different when it comes to managing their time. In other words, there is no “one size fits all” approach to follow. It doesn’t make sense for employees to practice and successfully implement their employer’s top ten strategies on time management. Some people may find it useful, while others may not.
For example, making a to-do list can help one person stay on track of their work activities. But for others, to-do lists aren’t that helpful. The reason is that some people don’t end up getting all of the tasks crossed off their to-do lists.
Work Simply: Four Types of Productivity Personalities
When it comes to figuring out your personality and workstyle, Tate briefly goes over something called the productivity style assessment. This assessment was created by Ned Herrmann, former manager of management education at General Electric. It looks at how the brain receives and processes information, along with the long-term implications of similar work outcomes. Four personality types identify how people work, which include the following:
- Prioritizer – this person is efficient; they like to use data analysis and logic to solve problems. The individual prioritizes their essential tasks, but can quickly get irritated when coworkers are chatting.
- Planner– this person loves making to-do lists. They’re good at organizing and putting stuff in order. Also, they feel uneasy observing others scrambling to get projects done at the last minute.
- Arranger– this person relies on their instincts to make decisions; they enjoy presenting and working with others. The individual is a visual thinker who always asks themselves, “How will this decision make people feel?”
- Visualizer– this person can walk into a heated discussion between coworkers, having all the solutions to figure out the problems presented. They instead not rely on data to make decisions, but they’ll find a way to bring people together to try something new. Regardless of disagreements, the person looks for other alternatives compared to “the way it’s always been done.”
You Can Earn Money- But You Can't Earn Time
Money is renewable, and you can always make more of it; however, time is not renewable because you can never go back to the past. Tate suggests thinking about managing time differently, meaning it cannot be used to bend our own rules. But time can be a great resource if used effectively, such as planning out your activities. If you plan out your actions (whether daily, weekly, monthly, yearly) and execute them effectively, you’re more likely to be much more successful in the long run.
Types of Actions
To use your time differently, Tate suggests using a “master task list” This type of list includes all of the things you need to accomplish your goals. The record is broken down into two categories:
- Project Actions: These are long-term tasks that can take weeks or months to complete. Examples include remodeling a kitchen, planning a multi-day seminar, or writing/publishing a book.
- Next Actions: These can be small, simple tasks that can help you move forward with your progress. Such quick duties include calling a family member, edit a report, or a follow-up on an ongoing project with your manager.
These are specific tasks that lead to some call to action. The purpose of the master task list is to help break down tasks and to avoid overloading on work. As mentioned, it’s a great approach to using time compared to other time management tips.
Focus As A Skill To Getting Things Done
In this day of age, it can be a challenge to keep a long attention span. With distractions (Crenshaw book review), sometimes it will be inevitable but can be easily managed with simple time management tips. But as Tate discusses in her book, the human brain can only process and retain a limited number of things for a short time.
Tate stresses the point of working on one task at a time over multitasking. Multitasking may be convenient and quicker, but you may get less done if you deal with distractions while working on multiple tasks at once. Moreover, you’ll end up getting less done and find yourself burning a lot of time.
One other thing to help stay focused is to alter your work-life balance. If you’re struggling to stay focused, ask yourself: are you taking breaks and doing activities that’ll stimulate your brain? Just working for a straight four-six hours can be rough if you take no breaks in between. Therefore, taking breaks in between, such as going for a brief walk, can be refreshing.
If you want to know these points in mind, think of the phrase “Known Your TWIST: You Need to Know yourself, learn to manage your time, have the WIllpower to focus on the tasks at hand, and find your own productivity STyle. If you know yourself and how you work best, you’re already off to an excellent start on the path to success.
What is your productivity personality based on the assessment?
Will you consider using a “master task list?”
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Check out Tate's book below.