December 28, 2021

A Guide to Productivity Styles and How You Can Improve Yours to Enhance Productivity

Productivity remains one of the most significant issues of today’s workspace. According to some recent stats shared by the Voucher Cloud, an average office worker is productive only for 2 hours and 53 minutes a day. Perhaps, it justifies the annual projected productivity loss of around $7 trillion due to lost productivity in the US alone (Gallup).

It’s not like this goes unnoticed, and no one cares about it. Businesses are always at it. In fact, there are thousands of productivity best practices and tools available today.

Many believe that this sheer number of productivity tools and apps can also sometimes overwhelm those looking for ways to improve their productivity in the first place. It may result in wasting more of your time, energy, and resources when you’re striving hard to squeeze a few extra minutes daily to augment your productivity.

There can be another problem yet. You often download a new productivity app only to realize that it falls short of your expectations. All this not only results in wastage of your time but also fuels your frustration.

You start thinking bad of yourself and how you work, which ultimately kills your productivity even further. The fact of the matter is that there’s nothing wrong with you. The problem lies in how you’re trying to improve your productivity.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving productivity. No matter how innovative, sharp, and unique the latest productivity app, email management strategy, or task management tool you plan to use, it will not yield your desired results if not personalized for your specific needs.

The concept of personalizing your productivity may sound a bit odd to many of you. But it can be the single best thing you might ever do to enhance your productivity. Your journey to this important landmark begins with identifying your productivity style, which reflects how you think and process information as an individual.

The Concept of Productivity Styles

The term “Productivity Styles” was coined by Carson Tate. It refers to how your brain is hardwired to process the information it gets and uses it to solve problems and complete a given task. This concept has helped experts understand why the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work well in getting stuff done. Instead, it helps them find ways to make the most of their innate tendencies to manage tasks efficiently.

Different Types of Productivity Styles

Tate segregates productivity styles into four different types:

The Prioritizer

Considered the most technical productivity style, Prioritizer refers to someone who prefers creating goals and solving problems with the help of the data available. The Prioritizers are typically critical thinkers, having a pragmatic viewpoint about a situation. Their inclination toward facts and figures helps them stay well organized, result-oriented, and goal-focused.

However, their fascination (don’t read obsession!) with facts often leaves them struggling to look at the bigger picture, handicapping their ability to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems.

That’s why Prioritizers need to learn to adapt to the situation and approach problems from different angles to overcome the shortcoming inherent to their preferred productivity style. Though their data gives them a great head start in tackling a problem, it’s often not the complete solution.

So, they should learn to plan and deal according to the requirement of a situation. Incorporating various organizational tools (like labels and notebooks) into their armory can help them better monitor and track their progress.


  • Accurate assessment of the importance of different elements of a project or task
  • Great at number crunching, analysis, and problem-solving
  • Decisive, consistent, and objective oriented


  • Often undue rigidity and controlling attitude
  • Unnecessary competitiveness
  • Preferring agility over excellence
  • Project-focused rather than process-focused

Preferred Communication Style

You’ll always find the Prioritizers striving to complete tasks quickly and efficiently, skipping the chit-chat and counting more on the facts. Precision is their preferred way to go, not oversharing the details and keeping the conversations brief. Even their emails look and feel like texts quite often, confined to just a few sentences. While giving or taking feedbacks, they keep their emotions aside and focus on the numbers and data. They rely more on “What” questions: What do the facts say about this or that? What’s the margin of error? What’s the number of days something is going to take?

The Planner

To-do lists, detailed outlines, and structured daily calendars are things planners like the most. They rely on these principles excessively in planning how to complete a task and tracking their deadlines. It’s pervasive for planners never to miss a deadline, doing whatever it takes to complete a project in time.

However, their habit of scheduling everything and every aspect of a task makes it difficult for them to handle spontaneity. In fact, Planners are also known to feel anxiety and discomfort when things deviate from their expected plans.

Though deadlines matter a lot for planners, over-attention and over-planning in everything can lead to unnecessary and unexpected delays. To optimize their productivity, planners should learn when and how to revise their goals according to the need of the hour, including timelines.


  • Religiously consistent, practical, and action-oriented
  • Ability to identify flaws and loopholes in plans or processes
  • Keeping everything organized, including data
  • Fond of creating comprehensive plans and processes


  • Often lack flexibility and adaptability
  • Ready to compromise better opportunities instead of deviating or readjusting their plans
  • Lack of spontaneity
  • Obsession with desired outcomes
  • Preferring process over goals

Preferred Communication Style

Action plans and schedules inspire a Planner more than anything else. If you want to convey something effectively to a Planner, a detailed, step-by-step account of the matter is the best way to go about it. Why? Because the process is what they focus on the most. Unlike the Prioritizers, Planners tend to focus more on “How” questions: How will we allocate resources? How will the team resolve a particular issue? How can we overcome the delays? How can we cut out on expenses?

The Arranger

Arrangers have a natural flair for communication, valuing expression and emotion, supplementing well with supportive thoughts. Handling project meetings and collaborating with their co-workers to complete a task brings the best out of their abilities. They thrive on sharing ideas, thoughts, stories, and chatting rather than sticking excessively to data.

Their contribution quadruples when it comes to marketing ideas, fair assessment of emotions, facilitating team-based events, and nurturing relationships. They expedite performance by mutual collaboration, making real-time adjustments as the events unfold, significantly cutting the project completion time. They enjoy keeping all stakeholders updated on the progress of the tasks, also contributing to the efficient dissemination of the ideas throughout the organization.


  • Effective communication
  • Empathetic understanding of other’s emotions
  • Coordination
  • Teaching
  • Persuasion


  • Relying more on intuition and collaboration rather than planning
  • Often taking more responsibility of others than required
  • Unable to comprehend long-term results
  • Preferring people over the project

Preferred Communication Style

An Arranger is someone warm and conversative. Someone who likes to get into in-person conversations to capitalize on their strengths, such as the pitch and tone of the conversation, body language, and energy to connect with others. They prefer stories to get their point across and get the same kind of response for themselves. Their focus on people leads them to “Who” questions: Who will complete this job? Who is going to take care of finances? Who will be responsible for logistics?

The Visualizer

If the bigger picture and distant concepts always inspire you, you’re probably a visualizer. They nurture synthesizing, integrating, intuition, and comprehensiveness. Pressure situations help them thrive, as they draw energy from them. But they get bored when they don’t have a few assignments to concentrate on.

Visualizers primarily focus on the potential in a person, challenge, or situation, rather than getting very concerned about the details involved. The exceptional amount of enthusiasm that they carry helps them come up with some breakthrough ideas and makes them the most suitable person to lead such ventures.

If you get a chance to communicate with them via email, don’t be surprised to see how long they are. That’s because they are teeming with concepts and thoughts. Visualizers are great at solving problems, innovating, and integrating novel ideas into any challenge they come across. All this also makes them exceptional at identifying new opportunities.


  • Novelty
  • Innovation
  • Open-mindedness
  • Ability to see the bigger picture
  • Problem-solving
  • Expressive


  • Inclination to undermine details
  • May skip deadlines due to their inability to take details into account
  • Overly impulsive
  • Considering possibilities more than the process

Preferred Communication Style

As you might have guessed, the Visualizer orchestrates the conversation around the vision-centric words, such as “envision”, “view”, “bigger picture”, etc. One of the best ways to get your message across to a Visualizer is to use metaphors and visual aids. Moreover, if you’re able to convey how a particular task or project will fit into their long-term goals, you’re doing great in your interaction with a Visualizer.

Identify Your Productivity Style to Enhance Your Efficiency

The whole point of knowing about various productivity styles is to correctly identify the one that matches your work style the most. Once you’re aware of that, it becomes much easier to work on the shortcomings innate to that style, improving your productivity significantly.

Now let’s look at how different add-ons can enhance the overall efficacy of each of these productivity styles.

How to Improve Productivity as a Prioritizer?

As a Prioritizer, you must refine your execution by counting on your data-driven, analytical, and task-oriented strengths. Determine the time it takes you to accomplish your daily tasks and then cut down the time by refining the process. Even if you’re able to spare just a few minutes on each task, it ends up compounding to a sizeable slot through your complete workday. Focusing on goals is excellent but realigning your focus to refine the process helps you save time. And once you’ve enough time at your disposal, you start handling every project in a much better way.

How to Improve Productivity as a Planner?

You can start by tapping into your logical thinking and natural flair for to-do lists to create a 15-minute list daily. It should line up all the chores and tasks that won’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. You can then squeeze these tasks into the bigger scheme of things you’ve already created, micro-segmenting your tasks in the best possible way. And work on your ability to handle things that unfold before you spontaneously. Micro-segmentation of your time slots can help you with taking time out to plan for something that you couldn’t earlier. The Planner should also leave room for the “second best”, improving their ability to adjust with deviations in their projected outcomes.

How to Improve Productivity as a Visualizer?

A Visualizer needs to think and act like a sprinter than a marathoner while taking care of day-to-day business. The Visualizers often get trapped in an “out of sight, out of mind” mindset. Make sure you don’t. Instead of dedicating too much time and effort in orchestrating for a distant goal, focus on a single activity for 20-30 minutes. Then switch on to another task. It also means you need to line up a few different tasks rather than getting stuck in a single job for more extended periods. Listing and prioritization of your duties, when coupled with your ability to think long-term, can transform your productivity altogether.

How to Improve Productivity as an Arranger?

While you try to fill in the gaps with your ability to gel well with people around you, it would be much better to incorporate details into your project management skills as an Arranger. Relying solely or heavily on people’s abilities is terrific, but your chances of success increase greatly if you’ve got a solid, detail-oriented plan of action in place. Details will help you refine the process, which will contribute to improving your overall output.


The fact is that no productivity tool, strategy, or system can have it all and work well enough for every individual. The better you understand yourself, the better your odds of choosing the productivity system most feasible for you increase. While relying on your key strengths is one of the best ways to leverage the resources you have, it’s always great if you can add to them by working on your shortcomings.

So, we wish you all the luck in improving your productivity and hope this blog of ours serves to aid you through this endeavor.

About the author 

Peter Hatch

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