Hi, Patreon subscribers! This is my first ever super secret piece of content JUST for my Patreon subscribers. And I am so excited about it, because I’m sharing productivity tips by enneagram type!
First up: If you don’t know what you are on the enneagram… stop. Rewind. Take the test! I love this personality test more than I love any other personality test.
Next up: If you want a deep dive into each enneagram type, I recommend the Crystal Knows overview!
Type One: The Reformer
If you’re a One, you’re naturally motivated, which is great. Ones are going to be motivated by their own to do list – you don’t need much to get up and go. You like to follow structure and rules, and you tend to prefer to stay positive. So, if you’re working your butt off, you’re probably not complaining about it – and it might be tough for the people around you to realize you’re doing what you’re doing.
If you’re a One, you’re also a perfectionist, so your productivity can quickly steer into perfectionism.
Your strategy: Set timers, and try to get as much done in those set periods as you can. If you feel the urge to keep going beyond the timer, think about why you’re feeling that way: Is the work not yet done? Or are you laboring over something to perfect it?
Your mantra: Done is better than perfect.
Type Two: The Helper
I am a 3w2 on the enneagram, so I understand the Twos of the world more than any other type (except my own, of course!). Twos have a lot of heart and care about people very deeply. But it means that you are more likely than anyone else to set aside your priorities and your dreams for other people.
Boundaries and structure will be incredibly important for Twos – both for yourself and other people!
Your strategy: Before you let yourself get tangled up in other peoples’ problems, think about your top 3 priorities for the day (or, on a larger scale, your top 3 goals for yourself for the year). When you plan your day, make sure you dedicate twice as much time to your priorities and goals than other peoples’ priorities and goals. Say no sometimes!
Your mantra: Create before you consume.
Type Three: The Achiever
Hello, my fellow Achievers. Similar to Ones, Threes are naturally motivated. We’re a little different, though, because we are most motivated by success and appearances – meaning we can be tempted to choose what we prioritize based on the value other people put on those things.
We want people to see us as successful, and we are more than happy to run ourselves into the ground to achieve that. Type Threes need to take a nap, Jack.
Your strategy: Set strict start and end times for yourself. Wrap up work at a specific hour every day – don’t go past that hour. You’ll avoid burnout. Also, make sure you are constantly thinking about your top 3 priorities for yourself and your dreams – not the top 3 things that you think will make you look the best to the people around you.
Your mantra: Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
Type Four: The Individualist
Type Fours love to be unique. They are creative, and motivated by creation. If they aren’t feeling emotionally tied to the work or inspired to create, it can be hard to get motivated and get work done. Unlike Ones and Threes, who are motivated simply by existing and have trouble channeling it and turning it off, Fours are more irregularly productive.
Many Fours, especially if they don’t have that 3 wing, only feel productive when they feel inspired. But that isn’t really conducive to a good work environment!
Your strategy: What makes you feel inspired? Take note of the things that inspire you and turn those into habits and strategies to build inspiration, even when you just aren’t feeling it. But don’t coddle yourself either – if you have work to do, get it done. Set timers, reward yourself and tell yourself that not working on something important isn’t an option, until you believe it yourself.
Your mantra: Start before you’re ready.
Type Five: The Investigator
Fives are our thinkers – our problem solvers. These are our introverts, our engineers, our fixers. Fives tend to feel intensely curious, which is a great skill, but can get tangled up in their curiosity and become unable to move past it into the doing.
When you do get to the action, you’ll be prepared. But it’s hard for you to get started.
Your strategy: When you plan big projects, include strict timelines for the planning and research and stricter deadlines for when you’ll start the actual project work. For smaller day-to-day work, set a daggum timer and see what you can achieve.
Your mantra: The secret to getting ahead is getting started.
Type Six: The Loyalist
A colleague of mine called Sixes “The Escape Route” type – in the most loving way, of course. And that’s the Six, in a nutshell. You know where all the emergency exits are, and you crave stability and consistency. That goes for your workday, too.
If you know exactly what you need to do, how to do it and what will happen, you’ll be as productive as a One or a Three. But the minute you doubt yourself, things will start to derail.
Your strategy: Every time you begin to doubt what you’re working on, immediately pause and go back. Consult your notes and your resources. Ask for clarification. Do not let yourself get consumed by the panic and derail yourself for a significant chunk of time.
Your mantra: You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step.
Type Seven: The Enthusiast
If there is one type I feel the least like, it’s the Sevens of the world. But when it comes to productivity, Sevens and Threes are very similar – we have bountiful energy and are happy to apply it to work, even if our motivations are different. Sevens just want to live a happy, fulfilled, fun life.
The downside: They can be a little scattered and have trouble focusing. Projects with lots of small administrative or tedious tasks will be your downfall. But they don’t have to be.
Your strategy: Time blocking will be your friend. Remember those timers I keep mentioning? Set strict expectations for what you’ll achieve in short blocks – I mean short! 15 to 20 minutes! – and get to work. That way, when you’re ready to move on to your next idea, you’ll have made significant progress on one task instead of some progress on six tasks.
Your mantra: If it’s not hard, it’s not worth it.
Type Eight: The Challenger
Eights are our leaders, and are assertive and confident in every situation. Eights want to control situations – which makes most Eights naturally productive, although prone to burnout because they tend to want to do everything.
But because Eights are confident and powerful in social situations, it will be hard to tell they’re close to exploding until they … explode. Boom.
Your strategy: You are not an island, and you don’t have to be. If you’re leading a team, delegate tasks to your coworkers. If you’re on a team with others, ask for help and collaborate.
Your mantra: You can do anything, but not everything.
Type Nine: The Peacekeeper
My best friend and fellow enneagram stan is a Nine, so I feel very in touch with our lovely peacekeeping friends over on the other end of the enneagram. Nines tend to stay calm and are very adaptable, but they struggle with conflict and tend to react poorly to stress.
It’s hard to avoid stress completely, so it’s important for a Nine to do the best they can to manage it before it gets to a breaking point.
Similarly to Twos, it’s also hard for Nines to focus on their priorities instead of everyone else’s.
Your strategy: Focus on your dreams and your priorities, especially when you’re working alone. Give yourself clear expectations of what you want to get done every day and work through it from biggest to smallest priority. It’s easy to get caught up in other people, and you usually enjoy helping others. But prioritize yourself first, and everyone else in your life will appreciate it.
Your mantra: Say yes to yourself.