When we talk about being productive, we usually talk about time management, delegation or prioritization. Those things are important for sure but today, let’s take a step back because as it turns out, there’s an overlooked way to increase your productivity and your satisfaction at work…surprisingly, it’s being yourself. Authenticity may feel risky but it’s better for your career. Sometimes at work, we may feel that in order to succeed we need to concentrate on fitting in and that is a common feeling but as it turns out a destructive one.

Everyone wants to become more productive. Particularly as the new year looms, people are thinking about what they’d like to do differently as the calendar year changes over. When you understand yourself well enough, you’ll be able to set up systems for your business and life that truly work. Once you realize that, you’ll find a better path toward working more effectively; a way that better matches your personality, with the result that you’ll be able to get more done.

• Find your productivity style. Figure out what type of person you are. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to productivity. The first step in making your productivity personal is to identify your Productivity Style, so that you can work in sync with your natural inclinations. Each one has its own strengths and preferred tools based on those powers. There are four productivity styles:

o Prioritizer. The Prioritizer will defer to analytical, logical, fact-based, critical, linear thinking. They are focused on achieving the outcome or the goal of the project, use facts or data to make their decisions and are highly efficient with their time.
o Planner. The Planner prefers organised, sequential, and detailed thinking. As the name suggests, planners love to-do lists, schedules and organizers to increase their productivity. They thrive on order, maintaining data and creating project plans.
o Arranger. Opposite to the prioritizer, the arranger tends to act based on emotions and intuition (these two styles usually do not get on well). It’s, of course, a natural communicator.
o Visualizer. A visualizer prefers holistic, intuitive, integrating, and synthesizing thinking. He thrives under pressure and is easily bored if he is not juggling multiple, diverse projects. A visualizer focuses on the big-picture and broad concepts making connections.

• You can earn money, but you can’t earn time. Make a master task list to organise your time effectively. To deal with the challenge of time, you should plan your activities daily, weekly and monthly, so you can spend your time in the most efficient way possible. It also helps to write a master task list. A master list should contain all things your need to do to accomplish your objectives. When you have done that, organise these things into 2 categories: project actions and next actions.

• Manage your attention. Know your weaknesses and find a balance. If the first step toward mastering attention management is cultivating awareness of where your mind is at a given moment, the second is recognizing which brain state is ideal for the task at hand – and then intentionally shifting yourself into that brain state in order to get it done. Attention to work must be balanced with attention to other things in life. Your daily routines should complement your attention span. Some people are more focused after a walk, while others concentrate better after working out.

• How you think and work is what’s unique to you – embrace it, don’t fight it! Time management approaches generally do not take into account an individual’s personality or productivity style and so are ineffective. Pause for a moment and consider how your mind works for you, or against you. Find and stick to your own style of thinking and working will help you live up to your full potential.

Final thoughts…
When it comes to productivity, most people think the key to getting ahead is doing more. More work, more clients, more time… just more. And when you’re stuck in this mindset of “more, more, more,” it can feel impossible to step away and find time for yourself.

But carving out that time, making yourself a priority, and cultivating a consistent self-care routine will not only help you avoid burnout (and be a happier person in the process), but it can also help you ramp up your productivity – and squeeze more out of the time you are at work.

Working to your preferences and strengths will make you far more efficient, effective, and happier in your work than trying to fit into a system, tool, or structure that fights your natural productivity style.