How Productivity Personas Help You Understand Your Strengths and Preferences



“My goal is no longer to get more done, but rather to have less to do.” — Francine Jay

What kind of Productivity Persona are you?

By knowing your Productivity Persona you can learn how to better adapt your productivity approach for the situation or challenges at hand.

You can also use your Productivity Persona to help you play better with others.  After all productivity is  a team sport.

As you’ve probably noticed throughout your life, people vary in how they approach productivity.

Productivity is a spectrum ranging from day dreamers to achievers.

What if we actually identify and name these various flavors of productivity?

This way, when you recognize that you are using the wrong productivity for a given scenario, you can switch your style (just like you might switch to a different hat).

This will give you more freedom and flexibility to use the right Productivity Persona for the job.

For example, maybe you’re thinking “details” when it’s really time for “big picture.”

I’m calling these Productivity Personas, but they’re really just an amalgam of styles, behavior preferences and thinking patterns.

Use Productivity Personas to Build Awareness of Productivity Styles

I’m highlighting some of the more common personality personas that you’ll easily recognize.

I’ll use personas as a simple way name the different types of behaviors.  Anybody can be a mix of some or all of the various personas.

No Productivity Persona is good or bad.

Some are more effective than others depending on the situation.  The key is to use the Productivity Personas as a lens on behavior. 

You can analyze yourself, other people, and common interactions.

We all have the capacity for the various behaviors.  The trick is to learn your preferences and the preferences of others.

The Productivity Personas at a Glance

Here is a starter set to help think about some of the types of Productivity Personas you might recognize in yourself and others:

  • Starter
  • Finisher
  • Thinker
  • Doer
  • Simplifier
  • Maximizer
  • Critic
  • Can do
  • Opportunist
  • Perfectionist
  • Details
  • Big Picture
  • Facts and figures
  • Controller
  • Tinkerer
  • Marketer
  • Achiever
  • Randomizer
  • Daydreamer
  • Procrastinator

Summary of Productivity Personas

The following table summarizes the Productivity Personas:

Persona Notes
Starter Starts things but doesn’t always finish. Their energy comes from thinking up new ideas and kicking things off. Love prototyping an idea, but once they’ve figured it out, they’re ready to move on to something else.
Finisher Brings things to closure. Effective finishers, complete things and move on. is a fit and finish type of person. It’s finished when they say it’s finished.
Thinker Is an ideas person. Thinking is what they do best. Analyzing is their game, but doing is somebody else’s game. They don’t have to act on their thoughts to enjoy them.
Doer Does their job. They tend to get their job done. They may not come up with new ideas, but they have a preference for taking action.
Simplifier Finds the simplest path. Strips things down to the minimum. Good enough for now is OK in their book.
Maximizer Finds the maximum impact.
Critic Finds the faults. They’ll find ways why you can’t or why it’s wrong. They’ll critique themselves, their work or their ideas. Anything is fair game.
Can do Finds a way. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and they’ll find it. It may not be the optimal solution, but worst case, they’ll find a workaround.
Opportunist Finds the opportunity in any situation.
Perfectionist Treats everything like a work of art. Quality is their name, finishing isn’t their game. They’ll be done when it’s done. It will be done just as soon as it’s perfect. Whenever that is.
Details Loves the details and will want to see things through. Dots the “I’s and crosses the “t”’s. Spreadsheets are one of their passions.
Big Picture Sees the forest from the trees. Likes the big ideas and doesn’t want to get lost in the minutia.
Facts and Figures Is a numbers person. They want quantifiable measurements. Like Details, they too like spreadsheets.
Controller Likes to control things. This could be the doers, the project, or their world.
Tinkerer Likes to tinker. The world is their sandbox. Dabbles here, dabbles there.
Marketer Communicates the value. Knows how to sell ideas.
Achiever Likes to accomplish things.
Randomizer Makes their latest priority into other people’s problems.
Daydreamer Likes to dream up better ways for better days. They’d rather dream than do. They don’t have to act on their dreams to enjoy them.
Procrastinator Finds way to put off to tomorrow, what they really should do today. They only send belated birthday cards since they know they’ll never send them out on time.


3 Ways to Use Productivity Personas

The personas give you a quick way to identify and label patterns  More importantly, they provide a lens.  You can use this lens to help you understand yourself and other people.  Here’s three ways you can use the personas to your advantage:

  1. Know yourself – When are you at your best? Are you more of a starter or a finisher?  Are you more of a maximizer or a simplifier?  Are you more of a thinker or a doer?  If you’re aware of the personas, you can use them to your advantage.  For example, don’t let your inner critic or perfectionist get in the way of your doer.
  2. Team up   – Who can you team up with to get results?  How can you build more effective teams?
  3. Improve the situation – You can imagine how some behaviors work better with others and how some can create conflict.  Swap out for more effective personas based on the scenario.  What are the best behaviors for the situation?

The next time you find yourself struggling in a situation, ask yourself if you’re using the right Productivity Persona and try switching your hat.

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