If you’re wondering what your enneagram has to do with productivity, it turns out: a lot. When it comes to productivity, you may think of hustle culture where the grind never stops. Productivity is often tied to the idea of more: more work, more action, more money, more results. But what if we’ve been looking at productivity all wrong? While there are many viral tips on how to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently, perhaps the biggest key to success has been overlooked: you. By understanding your core motivation, mental blocks, and roadmap to the highest version of yourself, you can adjust your workflow to create less stress and more ease.
The Enneagram helps you gain a clear understanding of yourself and what you need to tap into your genius zone. The truth is, everyone requires different things when it comes to getting into their flow state: What method or structure works for one person might not resonate the same with another. If you’re struggling to sharpen your focus during the workday or feeling a general lack of inspiration, read on for the productivity tips most aligned to your Enneagram type.
Learn when things can be “good enough”
Ones are naturally hardworking and disciplined. Just as much as their eye for detail and strive for excellence can be a strength, it can also be a weakness when it interferes with knowing when a project is finished. In the eyes of a One, nothing is ever quite good enough, which can cause a great deal of stress and tension. A good tip for Ones is knowing the difference between “perfect” and “good enough.” Decide which tasks are worth your time and energy and which ones don’t require your full capacity. For example, you probably don’t need to reread that email you wrote to your boss 10 times before hitting send. This will free up more time for things that actually matter, so you can become more focused on goals that matter.
Prioritize and set boundaries
Twos are the types of workers who love to stay connected and pitch in wherever they can. In fact, they feed off of being seen as helpful and appreciated, which may contribute to them taking on too much. While Twos often don’t mind bearing the burden for others, this can harbor deep resentment over time. It’s good practice for Twos to create a list of the biggest tasks they need to prioritize each week so they can work through those first before chipping in to help others. It’s also important for Twos to set healthy boundaries when it comes to their work. For example, try turning off your notifications when you’re focusing on a task and only offer to take on more when you’ve finished everything on your plate.
Check in with your goals
Threes are known as “The Achiever” for a reason: They have a clear vision of their goals and what they need to accomplish them. But sometimes, Threes can fall into the trap of working from the outside-in rather than the inside-out. This can mean shifting their image to be whoever they think they need to be to fit the mold of success. For this reason, it’s important for Threes to check in with their goals often so they work toward the things that are right for them and don’t waste their energy on what’s not. If you’re a Three, try vision boarding or working with a coach so you can identify your long-term goals, and then create micro-goals to get to where you want to go. When Threes are clearly rooted in who they are, their productivity soars and their capacity for greatness expands.
Create a morning routine
As the Individualist, chances are, you don’t take a liking to tried-and-true formulas of productivity because you’ve always felt a little different. However, having a routine can greatly benefit both your productivity and well-being. Because you can get swept away by your emotions, it’s important to start your day in a clear and grounded headspace. Setting daily intentions can allow you to take control over any negative emotions and change the tone of how you approach your day. Intentions are a powerful visualization technique that helps guide your energy to focus on the areas that matter. This can help you work through creative blockages and empower you with the energy you need to reach your goals.
Take breaks to get out of your head
When it comes to productivity for Fives, their head is in the game—sometimes too much in the game. They can become so engrossed in a task that time passes and they haven’t moved or taken a single sip of water. Or maybe they will make a whole strategy to be productive yet struggle to actually complete things. You may think that productivity is all mental, but a lot of it depends on the integration of our three brains: the head, the heart, and the body. Fives are in the head center, so they naturally resort to analytical thinking. But for Fives to fully reach their potential, they need to “wake up” their body center. If you’re a Five, try taking walks or stretch breaks whenever you feel yourself getting stuck or over-analytical. This will help reshuffle all of those great ideas you’re sitting on.
Create a comforting environment
Sixes benefit from familiarity and routine, meaning their work setup can have a profound impact on their productivity. It’s important for them to feel safe and secure so they can fully relax and let their strengths shine through. If you’re a Six, consider what you need to thrive in a work environment. For example, if you work from home, you may need a comfy chair and the right tools on hand. If you work in an office, perhaps you bring cozy elements to your workspace where you can make it feel more like home (think: hanging photos of friends, family, or pets or decorating your space with candles, plants, and art prints). This way, you’ll be at ease and fully equipped to take on any challenge with courage and confidence.
Slow down and work in time blocks
A Seven’s curiosity and hunger for new opportunities make them work quickly and tenaciously. While this can be a strength, it can also cause them to rush through tasks, become scattered, or focus on future opportunities rather than the tasks at hand. If you’re a Seven who finds it hard to stay present at work or you’re working so fast that you get exhausted or miss little details, take that as an indicator to pause and take some deep breaths. Then, restructure your day to create more flexibility and room to breathe. Try working in time blocks where you dedicate a specific amount of time to a specific task. This will help you streamline your focus, take breaks in between, and then approach another task with fresh energy.
Put your problem-solving hat on
Eights love to feel in control of their tasks and move things along efficiently. Decisive and strong-willed, they are also great problem-solvers who aren’t afraid of a challenge. They are quick to find flaws or gaps in a plan and come up with a better solution. When Eights rely on these strengths, they can not only get more done but also inspire others to take action too. Since Eights can act on impulse, approaching their tasks from a problem-solving lens can help them reflect on the bigger picture. If you’re an Eight, practice approaching your work by identifying a problem and brainstorming several workarounds to it. If you can, it might also help to talk things out with your colleagues or someone you trust so you work through your ideas.
Choose your daily tasks
Peacemaking Nines own their power when they take action on their goals. The secret to their productivity is feeling like they are the ones in the driver’s seat. While they can get carried away fantasizing about their dreams, one thing Nines can take ownership of is what they do each day. Because Nines crave harmony and connection with the people around them, sometimes they struggle to separate what’s important to them versus what’s important to others. Nines can regain control by choosing small, daily tasks to accomplish. Of course, there may be obligatory tasks as part of your day-to-day, but choosing to do things like cleaning out your inbox or educating yourself about a new industry trend can be rewarding and motivating—both in the short term and the long term.