I’m a bit tired of the Getting Things Done mantra. Sometimes it feels like it’s a bad-fitting pair of jeans: tight where it shouldn’t be tight, loose where it shouldn’t be loose, and flattening my figurative butt besides. I don’t want to write down my next action. I want to doodle about my dreams, maybe with a web-based mind mapping tool.
Even though GTD’s hot, it doesn’t work for everyone, just like super-trendy skinny jeans don’t look good on all body types. We all have our individual personalities. We all have our unique priorities. We all have our own particular ways of being productive too.
Here are some productivity patterns and personalities I’ve seen online. Maybe you will see yourself in one of these descriptions, maybe in more than one.
Getting Things Done Guru. You’re not just getting things done, you’re Getting Things Done ™. You know what it means to have mind like water, to be cranking widgets, or to close those open loops. You’re so productive, you tell other people how to be productive. Example: Merlin Mann of 43Folders.
Hyperlinking Hyper-relater. You like to reach out and connect as often as possible. You are a broker in the world of information and relationships — connecting people and ideas across the gaps that separate them. Given the choice between tackling your to do list or going out to lunch with a new contact, you’ll take lunch every time. Example: Emily Chang of eHub.
Big Web-Wave Surfer. Overload, shmoverload! You’re not interested in firewalling your attention; that would starve your brain of food. You want to get towed into the information ocean on a jet ski to surf the gnarliest-ever waves of ideas. You know if you miss a piece of information today you’ll see it tomorrow — if it’s important. You know you can always delete that old email in order to move forward — those people will contact you again. Example: Stowe Boyd of Blue Whale Labs.
Geek to Get Ahead. You’ll try out any new web app for time management and personal organization… so long as it’s written in Ruby on Rails and you can look at the source code. You’ve got all the best downloads for productivity on Windows, Mac, and Linux — and you run all of them at once on the same hardware. You keep your to do lists in text files and sort through them with Unix commands. If you think of a better way to use your browser, you whip up a Greasemonkey script to make it happen. Example: Gina Trapani, editor of Lifehacker.
Present Moment Perfectionist. People can’t really multi-task. You know the best way to be productive is do one thing at a time and do it really well. You don’t have to firewall your attention because it’s naturally focused and disciplined. Example: Personal finance guru Suze Orman.
Mashup Maven. There’s no tool or methodology out there that works the way YOU want to, so you mix and match a tool from here with a technique from there to create your own approach. You’re always on the lookout for new components that can be incorporated into your existing organization scheme. Example: Marshall Kirkpatrick of SplashCast.
Serial Enthusiast. You like shiny new things and shiny new ways of doing things, finding only boredom in sticking with one approach. You are productive when you have a new project, not so productive when you’ve been working on the same thing for a long time. You don’t care what your to do list manager looks like, as long as it’s different than the one you used a month ago. Example: Les Orchard of Decaf Bad.
Committed Creative. You love your Moleskine notebook so you can doodle multi-colored designs representing your goals and dreams. You think mind mapping is the ultimate way to capture information. You don’t mind if your desk is messy–mess can be glorious in its fruitfulness. Example: Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users.
Purpose-Driven Producer. It’s not as important how you get your work done as whether you get it done–because you are a person with a mission greater than your own career success. Example: Web Worker Daily writer Judi Sohn, who serves as the Colorectal Cancer Coalition’s Director of Operations and Communications.
What’s your productivity profile? Can you think of any other productivity personalities and patterns?