productivity personality

June 16, 2021

How to Make Your Goals Work with Your Lifestyle

The R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System helps you to identify and reverse-engineer essentialist goals that bridge the gap between the future you want and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:

Story time.

When I was seven months pregnant with my first, I decided I wanted to be a work-at-home mom. My husband and I had been discussing all of our options, and I had been dabbling in the family business for a few months. While I’d always imagined that I wouldn’t take on any serious income-earning projects until my kids were totally self-sufficient (like in high school, or something), certain life events combining with my studies of Scripture had me looking at things from another angle. My husband and I started charting out financial goals for our family. I looked over them with excitement because I was starting to believe that I would be able to help us reach our goals through grit, determination, and good old fashioned hard work.

At the time, designing my own planner was nowhere on my radar. I had a complex system of todo lists and digital calendars that honestly makes my head spin to think back on. But what was worse than my lack of a cohesive system of organization, was my total lack of understanding about the concept of trade-offs.

That’s why, at seven months pregnant with my first baby, I signed the biggest freelancing contract I’d ever seen. Without fully realizing what I was doing, with one digital stroke of the pen, I had committed the next two years of my life to the completion of a very rigorous and mentally straining project that would teach me the concept of trade-offs through experience.

Looking back now—even with seeing how my lack of personal time-management skills mixed with such an intense project to create a chemical reaction of overwhelm that bubbled over into every area of my life for years—I have to admit that I am thankful for that project. It was such good work (a dream project, really), and I learned SO, SO much from it. I’m saying this without a hint of bitter irony. I learned so much from the material I was working with (it had to do with book publishing). I was also forced to learn excellent personal time management skills, how to help a baby learn a gentle schedule, and how to work with a team.

But one of the most powerful skills that I learned through this crucible was the skill of learning when and how to say “no.”

Learning to Say No: More Than a Cliché

I quickly learned during my first years as a work-at-home mom that trade-offs are unavoidable, and that No is a responsible word. And even though a complex of mom-guilt followed me like a shadow, lying to me and telling me that I should’ve said a big fat NO! to trying to do any work projects while also being a mom, those lies do not align with the conclusions I’ve reached over these five years learning the ropes of entrepreneurship + motherhood.

“No” does not have to be a big, nasty, hairy slamming-of-the-door on your hopes and dreams. It’s actually a word that we’re called to use with maturity, thoughtfulness, and precision. It’s also a word that we don’t really know how to use properly until we’ve gotten some experience under our belts in whatever area of life needs pruning. Without a growth mindset, “No” is a scary and painful word.

But combined with a growth-mindset, “No” is a power tool that you can use to optimize any area of life (work, home, school, ministry, anything). When a strong “Yes!” and a precise set of “No’s” are mixed together, you have lifestyle crafting magic sauce. Again, this is all within the context of that “Lord willing” attitude. But God has given us agency, and the instruction to move forward in improving our stewardship of the resources He’s given us.

So how do we use “no” as a power tool to optimize our goals and our lifestyle so that there’s a lot less toxic stress and a whole lot more synergy?

Tailoring Your Goal To Your Lifestyle

Here’s a sneak peek of page in the Tailored to Your Lifestyle section in the Goals Workbook we’re developing:


Saying “No” with thoughtfulness and precision is included in “giving yourself permission to develop creative solutions that make sense for your particular circumstances.”​

I like to use dressmaking as a mental illustration. While I’m not a seamstress, I’ve taken enough sewing classes to learn that you want your interfacing (the lining inside of the garment) to be a flexible structure that properly supports and matches your outward facing material (the part of the dress you want to see).​

This is analogous to how your lifestyle (your daily and weekly rhythms, margin, deep work intervals, and other life-giving habits) should be a flexible structure that properly supports and matches the goals you want to be living out. This means that your lifestyle must be trimmed so that it provides an attractive shape for your goals to follow, instead of tugging and pulling your goals out of shape.​

Your goals also need to be neat and trim. It doesn’t do to have excess amounts of your outward facing material ballooning everywhere, un-trimmed and un-hemmed because you just love the fabric so much that you can’t bring yourself to use scissors on it. You want your goal to make sense and fit you as a person (just like a dress should), and you can’t let FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) prevent you from being realistic about the kind of goal that fits the size of your life and the needs of your lifestyle while still being compelling to you. You need to embrace that you, with your particular life, will necessarily infused a unique flavor into how your goals are actually accomplished.

The way a homeschooling mother of eight gets a book written will produce a different flavor than the way a professional single guy who can sit at a quiet desk for eight hours a day would. The flavors of her timeframes for completion, the scope of her book’s content, and the book’s reception in the marketplace will likely be somewhat different too. But, honestly, that difference of flavor will likely be what makes her book so powerful. Whether there are other homeschooling moms who need the words she’s writing, or there are non-homeschooling-moms who need the particular perspectives, insights, and data that only she can share, God gave her her circumstances and put the book in her heart and head, and He wanted it that way for a reason.​

But for that busy mama to get her book to press, she’ll certainly have to snip away at the excess of both her goal and her lifestyle if she wants the garment of her vision to actually come to life, fit comfortably, and be functional.

So learning to say “No” isn’t about automatically declining every hard thing that comes your way. You would stagnate, be miserable, and waste the resources God gave you to steward with that attitude. Learning to say “No” is about snipping away at the excess of both your goal and your lifestyle so you can have the garment of your vision to actually come to life, fit comfortably, and be functional.

Optimizing Within Beautiful Limits

Let’s take a second and talk about this phrase, “Beautiful Limits.”​

Looking at the tangled overwhelm in certain areas of your life would probably not feel like a “beautiful limit” to you. Your kids are loud and impossible to concentrate around, or your boss won’t allow you to pursue a certain avenue, or you have a personal issue that low-key nibbles at the fringes of your emotions, margin, and motivation.

Whatever your limits are, you may struggle to call them “beautiful.”

I hear you. I feel you. But just like a skilled seamstress can work magic with fabrics and folds to play off of and bring out the beauty of any figure, you can become a goal-and-life-crafting artisan in your own right. It starts with seeing the beauty in your life, embracing it, and building off of the frameworks you’ve chosen and been given. Yes, there are big changes that can be made to improve any life (just like big changes could be made to improve any figure). But oftentimes, those changes are complex and difficult to puzzle out, and/or they take time.​

But remember this: improving your skills of tailoring goals to your lifestyle (and tailoring your lifestyle to support your goalsis how you begin to tackle the logistics of making those big changes.

Just like a dress that is neatly trimmed is more beautiful than one that’s bulging excess material in all the wrong places, BEAUTIFUL THINGS happen when you embrace your limits, trimming both goal and lifestyle so that they match and mutually support each other.

How All Of This Helped Me As a Work-From-Home Mom

When it came to working from home, there was so much excess to trim from both my goals and my lifestyle.

How I had to tailor my working-from-home goals:
  • I had to get deeply in touch with my “why” for working from home. Helping to capitalize and stabilize our family and our long-term business and ministry projects was at the heart of my “why.” And since my “why” centered on deeply connecting with and providing for my family and our common goals, that meant that my work would need to facilitate both deep connection and adequate income.
  • I had to embrace my unique “how.” I have small children to homeschool, a husband who works full-time while freelancing on the side, and issues with chronic illness. My “how” for getting work done will not look like getting into my office at 9am and having “make the needle move forward in my business” as my permanent top target until I go home at 5pm. In my life, I have to fit my work in around my mothering. I had to design solutions for my limited emotional, mental, attentional, and decision-making bandwidth. I ended up even helping to invent the perfect planner to act as a hub for my brain, so I could stop losing track of important details in the flurry of doing life alongside two small children.
  • I had to trim my “what.” This was the most practical, results-driven part of my goal-tailoring journey. I had to get still, get real, and get focused on what mattered most to me in my career. I wanted to be a fully present mama, but I also wanted to be excellent in my work and serve others deeply through my efforts. So I had to become a ruthless editor of what I considered important when I was sitting at my desk. Excess social media (even if it was the “working” kind) and unnecessary time in my email inbox were the first things to go. I had to become honest that my trajectory as a freelancer did not align with my goals as a present mama, so I had to find and train someone to replace me there. Chasing every single shiny new idea wasn’t fruitful: I had to find the small, vital few things that only I could do to really serve others in the marketplace. I had to learn how to stop procrastinating on my most wildly important tasks with busy-work. I had to figure out what was truly valuable by learning about the people I was called to serve, and focus on delivering those things. I just didn’t have time to waste on pretending like I was working. I had to zero in on the things that would really move the needle forward on my work goals, every single time I sat down at my desk, because time was limited.
How I had to tailor my lifestyle to support my work goals:
  • I had to create daily and weekly rhythms. I had to create time-blocks for my hours and themes for my days, turning my chunks of time into buckets that would make organizing my tasks a lot easier. I had to automate as much as I possibly could, turning the mundane everyday things I needed to get done into automatic habits (so that not only would I stay on top of things, but so I could also free up a ton of emotional and decision-making energy for my work). I had to proactively make provisions for time with my kids, time to clean my home, time for working, and time for my community so that I could allow myself to be totally present for whatever I had scheduled instead of feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing something else (because I knew that the time to do those things would come.)
  • I had to anchor my pivots. I had to know when it was time to transition from one thing to another. To anchor these transitions so that they could become a framework a sustainable lifestyle. I had to know what time was best to get up in the morning or go to bed at night, know when to transition into homeschooling or “room-time,” know when we’d be eating meals, and know when I had to wrap up my work in order to show up for my family. After experimenting and figuring these things out in one’s life, knowing is half the battle. Visualizing the consequences of not sticking to those anchor points is usually the final kick-in-the-pants you need to pause one task and pick up another one, knowing that because of your rhythms, you’ve provided time to keep the ball rolling in every area.
  • I had to schedule deep work intervals. Probably the most stressful seasons in my working life (outside of agreeing to insane deadlines) have happened because of my attempt to do work that needs 80% of my focus in the middle of a ton of distractions. Carving out time for deep work means making space for legitimate progress. This is time when I’m not on full-out-mom-duty (because the kids are sleeping or being cared for by Daddy), I’m not letting my phone distract me, and I’m not just pulling random work tasks out of an invisible hat. Deep work time is time spent fully focused on getting to a specific milestone of a wildly important project. Crafting a lifestyle that makes space for me to have at least 2 hours of deep work per day (and at least 4-6 hours on the weekend) has meant that I can make tangible daily progress in my work, and keep vocational commitments, even with a very busy household.
  • I had to create supportive habits. Morning and evening rhythms, proper self-care habits, healthy boundaries around technology, regularly talking positively about my work with my daughter (so she could become passionate about it too—which she has), good communication habits with my husband, techniques for sorting out my priorities and choosing what I allow to go on my schedule, and, of course, a strong habit of decluttering my brain and getting organized around my goals by leveraging my planner.
  • I had to make sure I had margin to breathe. I had to embrace that every choice came with a trade-off. I didn’t need to try to squeeze ten things into a space where only one thing should go, and I realized that my perspective would determine whether the trade-offs I faced were really such a bad thing. God only gave me a limited amount of time—and it was enough time to get the really important things doneBut in order to get the really important things done with that limited time, I would have to prioritize. And I would have to support my energy, bandwidth, and sanity with MARGIN. A small e-book about margin by Michael Hyatt was actually my first experience with life-changing productivity literature. Michael Hyatt proved in that book how MARGIN is necessary to have the time, flexibility, and wherewithal to actually make progress on the things that matter most. You can’t sustain a breakneck and packed schedule for long. Margin is the oil that keeps your gears from stripping, and allows you to actually enjoy your family and your work, instead of only ever feeling stressed and drained by them.

How to Get Started

How do you begin optimizing your goals and lifestyle? Start by asking what’s doable in both. By asking what’s doable, you get your first glimpse of the lines you need to draw and excess you need to trim in your expectations.

In the Goals Workbook we’re developing, I’ve included two worksheets that will help you begin to wrap your mind around what’s doable in your lifestyle, so that you can craft compelling goals that are both sustainable and supportive of the kind of growth you most want to see in your life. Working through these exercises is a great place to start.


You need a strong planning habit & the right tools in order to fully dive into the ROOTED Goals goal setting mindset. We created the Evergreen Planner System to support this mindset in a way that is entirely customizable. It can be used in so many ways to support the goals & dreams you are chasing, while also crafting sustainable life rhythms. The Getting Started Kit is the perfect way to try two of our core products – the Annual and the Monthly. Don’t wait until we launch our next subscription box – get the tools you need today!

May 19, 2021

How to Set Goals That Are Rooted in Your Core Calling

At the start of this year, we wrote a post about how the R.O.O.T.E.D. Goal Setting System can be a game-changer for how you set goals this year. Over the next couple weeks, we are going to dive into each aspect of this goal setting system. If you missed that first post, take a minute to go read it now!

The R.O.O.T.E.D. system helps you to identify and reverse-engineer relevant, strong, essentialist goals that will help you bridge the gap between those big and important things that you know matter most and the life you’re living right now.

Sustainable, Life-Giving Goals Are:
  • Rooted in your core calling
  • Organically growing out of your context
  • Outlined for clarity
  • Tailored to your lifestyle
  • Etched into your memory
  • Developed by Providence

I have to admit—as thrilling as the first phrase in the acronym may be (‘Rooted in your core calling’), it’s also pretty intimidating. 

But tapping into your core calling is an essential part of creating goals that fully resonate, that compel you to follow-through in the execution of them, and that produce a lot of satisfying fruit along the way. 

So let’s begin uncovering essential soil for every sustainable and healthy goal you’ll ever set. 

The Core Calling of all Humans

Your “core calling” is a multi-layered concept. Let’s start with the most foundational layer—the layer of “calling” that is common to each of us.

In the first chapters of Genesis, we learn something very important about God’s heart for humanity. God created us as individuals made in His own image, and placed in the covenantal context of communion with Him, each other, and the world. From the dignity of being Imago Dei flows our purpose to steward this world God created by cultivating abundance and communion in every area of our influence.

Our generous God made so much space for us to walk with Him in love, to imagine, to engineer, to grow ourselves and our families and our projects. He equipped us with strong minds, strong bodies, strong capacities for relationships and nuance and wisdom. 

But then something terrible happened. The Enemy of communion and goodness and light and Love came in and planted seeds of doubt. He peddled the concepts of scarcity and conflict of interest to a world that was burgeoning with abundance and founded on a perfect harmony of interest. The real world had no space for his lies. But instead of pointing to reality and defending the world from the Liar, our first parents started to listen to him. They repeated his words in their minds until they sounded plausible. And then they decided to test the theory. They made a grab for exclusive control of resources—and in doing so they sacrificed their mutually-trusting relationship with God (and each other) for the opportunity to dominate without reference to God’s code of ethics. 

Humanity revolted against its core calling. Fallen human beings began to greedily contend with others for resources and eventually created entire systems of domination. The result has been a world fraught with scarcity, distrust, pain, and conflict ever since. But something else happened six thousand years after that fateful moment that barred humanity from Paradise. The Son of Man (the incarnation of God Himself) made our fallen world His home and started His renovations.

“That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” — 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

He started by reconciling people—individuals made in the Image of God—to Himself. In Christ, our hearts are changed from deserts of scarcity and conflict into small (but powerful) oases of hope and healing. 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” — 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

We are made into temples where heaven meets earth. Our lives become the context where God chooses to interface with the world around us.

In Christ, we are restored to our original Imago Dei calling to cultivate abundance and communion in every area of our influence. Christ takes the lead in our hearts by demonstrating that the redemption of the world can only follow spiritual transformation. But lest we think this means that we live our lives in some kind of floaty disassociation from real world problems, let’s consider the clear instructions of Paul to the Thessalonians (which is, of course, applicable to us all).

We are called to: 

(Taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12)

  • love one another as we are taught by God
  • intentionally abound in that love
  • live peacefully
  • tend to our direct responsibilities
  • build wealth through enterprise and skillful industry (this is the literal meaning of the Greek word “ergazomai” in 1 Thess. 4:11; Gal. 6:10 makes it clear that we should take every opportunity to “ergazomai” for the good of all, and especially our brothers and sisters in Christ)
  • behave decently, respectfully, and ethically even toward strangers
  • abound so well in our own enterprises that we are not permanently dependent on the industry of others

In summary, sister, you and I (and every Christian woman reading this) will find that we have in common the renewed calling and impulse to cultivate abundance and communion in every area of our lives. Our efforts will be continually brought into alignment with the loving, peaceful, and respectful code of ethics that the Lord has restored to our hearts. And we will all be seeking ways to build wealth and independence by leveraging the unique resources and opportunities the Lord has given to each of us.

Your Core Calling as a Unique Individual

So how do you recognize and leverage the unique resources and opportunities that the Lord has given to you?

I’ve learned both from personal experience and from my coaching work with others that grasping the unique calling of God for our individual lives is a process

Digging down into our general calling to live out the dignity of being image-bearers who have been redeemed from our errors, adopted into the household of God, and given our heaven-meets-earth roles as truth-advancing royal priestesses (1 Peter 2:9) obviously provides an amazing amount of direction for our energies.

But 1 Peter 4:10 makes it clear that we are not lumped amorphously into the Body of Christ without any specific missions of our own. We are individual stewards of the “varied grace” of God. This means God has given us each special and unique graces in the form of our unique giftings, impulses, challenges, insights, resources, ideas, concerns, and desires.

This is because our One-and-Many God celebrates both the Unity of the One, and the Diversity of the Many. He doesn’t tend to the extremes of either uniformity or discord. His heart is for a world of peaceful unity that is also popping with invigorating diversity. 

So when I point out that there are reasons that you as an individual think about and pursue the things you do, that you have the desire to solve the problems that you notice, that you have important gaps that you were uniquely created to fill in the world—I’m not just the trumpeting modern “follow your dreams” marketing jingle. I’m pointing out a solid truth.

The Process of Getting Clarity on Your Unique Calling

Based on my personal and coaching experience, my study of the Scriptures, and the reading I’ve done on the concepts of calling, vocation, and purpose (from both Christian and other perspectives) I’ve developed a three-phase process to help you explore and uncover insights about the unique calling God has placed on your life.

  1. Explore your unique intrinsic motivations. Use the Venn Diagram worksheet to find the overlap between the things that give you life, the ways you are moved to serve people, the ways you build wealth, and the skills in which you excel. You will begin to see core themes that overlap in tightening circles—themes that serve as major hints into your core calling. Pray for the Lord to place the desires He wants for you to have in your heart—and know that if you’re in Christ, He’s already been doing that!
  2. Explore your unique extrinsic motivations. Explore the long-term things that motivate you that are outside of yourself, and which are present now. For many people, an easy answer to this is their spouse and/or children, their desire to have a family), and/or others who are under their care. In addition, what are the things that your mentors or friends most commonly ask you to do? What are the top skills for which people have paid you, or have offered to pay you? If you struggle to see what others value in you, ask a trusted friend to help you create a short list. What are the common injustices and/or serious needs that you always seem to notice? What types of invitations from others get you really excited? Ask the Lord to help you see which of these external motivations are part of His Providential direction.
  3. Plant a few seeds and leverage every opportunity to grow in skill, focus, and love. Did I mention that getting clarity on your core calling is a process? It can’t all be done while cozied up with a notebook and coffee. You have to engage real challenges and solve real problems in the life you’re living now. You might be getting a good feel for the soil of your core calling, but you won’t really know what’ll grow until you start planting some seeds. Notice which challenges you’re drawn to tackle and which problems you excel at solving. Plant a few seeds in a few different directions by experimenting with new things that give you life, that serve others in a way they need now, that add so much value that someone is willing to pay for it, and that you’re really good at. While you may not find that perfect combination right away, when an experiment seems to be remarkably successful, follow that avenue and see what else you can pursue there. Don’t overcommit yourself, though! Keep ample space in your life for daily responsibilities, rest, reflection, and play. Without breaking important commitments, give yourself the liberty to declutter your expectations often. Just because you try something doesn’t mean you have to permanently keep doing it. If something is draining you, try going at it from a different angle that aligns better with your unique giftings, get counsel about it, and/or let it go altogether. Never forget the people on the other end of your decisions, and keep your priorities straight (the most vulnerable people in your care come first, even if they’re not demanding the loudest). And no matter what, leverage every commitment you make or responsibility you fulfill as an opportunity to build strong skills, hone your focus on what matters most, and serve with authentic love. These three elements (skill, focus, and authentic love) act as the vitalizing fertilizer that fortifies and directs the good things that will start to grow out of the soil of your core calling. 

From what I’ve read, very few people actually know from a young age exactly what they’re uniquely called to do. And even fewer have a really fleshed-out understanding of what their calling entails. If you’re overwhelmed by this stage—don’t be. You don’t have to get it all right immediately. As you begin to nurture the soil of your core calling (even if you don’t really know what it is) by doing these exercises and by building skills, honing your focus, and growing in love, you’ll begin uncovering more and more direction as you go. 

Where Do You Go From Here?

The next step is to get extremely practical. We’ll be looking at your daily lived context, your current responsibilities, and the order of priorities. By overlapping where you are right now with the unique giftings God has given you (which forms the soil of your core calling), we will be able to begin identifying the most immediate goals you can set that will help you really move the needle forward in the essential areas of your life.

  1. Print out the Core Calling Worksheet and fill it out. 
  2. Use the flex space of your planner to work through the rest of the journaling questions I asked you in Phase 2. 
  3. Schedule in a few events, meetings, projects, or other forms of experimentation with the new ideas that are coming from your examination of the soil of your core calling. 

By doing all of this, you’ll be cultivating a rich plot for setting goals that are truly rooted in your core calling. 


Our quarterly subscription box of Monthly booklets will open to new subscribers tomorrow! Join the waitlist to be among the first to know. Don’t miss the chance to build a strong planning habit that will carry you through 2021 with intention towards the things that matter most to you.

March 10, 2021

Do You Know Your Productivity Personality?

Despite ourselves, we are pretty big fans of personality research. I think both of us have tried to quit the whole personality-test scene about a dozen times, but we keep coming back to it.​

Truth is, we know that God loves diversity, and has built it into His Creation in some pretty astonishing ways. One of the most interesting, delightful, and sometimes confounding ways is the diversity of human personalities.

Within the boundaries of healthy ethics is a vast array of valid differences in which individuals perceive, engage, and respond to the world around them. Observing these differences, naming and cataloguing them, and then discussing them in light of God’s Word is work that seems to fall along the same lines as what Adam started doing with the animals in the garden. Only, unlike animals, God has put eternity in our hearts, and so our psyche is impossible for humans to fully comprehend and define. But to us, that truth only serves to magnify the intrigue of personality science. So we keep on discussing all of these significant differences in order to cultivate understanding, cooperation, and fruitfulness across the board.

We also research these things in order to better understand our own tendencies, identify any needs we’ve been ignoring, address personal weaknesses, tap into our core motivations, and better leverage our strengths.

Just like learning your top Love Languages can help you build into your marriage, or pegging Enneagram numbers can help you better respect your friends, learning your Productivity Personality can really help you begin to develop the most effective conditions in your home, office, and team systems for getting things done.

Working Personality

In his immensely practical book, The Synergist, Les McKeown outlines three types of people on your average working team:

  • the Visionary: this is the person who is constantly imagining ways to get to the next level
  • the Operator: this is the person who is consistently getting things done
  • the Processor: this is the person who obsesses over the systems that make everything work sustainably

Most of us have a dominant trait, and then a secondary one. And, like anything else, every type has strengths and weaknesses.

For instance, Shelby is a Visionary-Processor. She is always seeing the bigger picture, and then feeling the urge to create some kind of list or calendar or habit to get the team from A-Z. The problem is, all the ideas and systems she produces aren’t always super realistic without a lot of healthy feedback to tame them into something doable. It’s also easy for her to feel irritated that the letters B-Y are full of a lot of minutiae that distract from the initial burst of inspiration or the ending triumph of accomplishment.

McCauley is an Operator-Visionary. Getting stuff done and then dreaming about the next big goal are both her native language, but she can often feel overwhelmed by not being able to see how everything is working together to a single strong end. She never questions the amazing possibilities, but she does tend to tame Shelby’s chomping-at-the-bit to up-level with the same serious question: “But have you finished this other vital task?”

McKeown’s book urges the reader to identify their own working personality and the personalities of the other influential people on their team, and to understand the various strengths and weaknesses, and the ways that each personality can clash. The goal of all of this inner-work is to become what he calls a Synergist: someone who is realistic about the team’s dynamics, can patch personality holes when hiring, can work to resolve conflict, and can weave the team’s various strengths into a singularly powerful force.

After Shelby read this book in 2019 and we examined the Evergreen team dynamics, we began praying that we could find a Processor-Operator to join the team. We knew that pulling another Visionary on the team could serve to drown out McCauley’s common-sense approach that wanted to see the results that come from consistency before jumping into a new strategy. We also knew that my hankering for organization and sustainability would solve the overwhelm problem—so long as the systems we created were actually practical. We also knew that a mere Processor (without an Operator wing) would bog us down a bit too much with systems, without having that can-do, problem-solving spirit that our tiny startup needed from every single member on our founding team.

Not too long after, Shelby was having a conversation with Clari at a family reunion (fun fact: she’s my husband’s cousin by marriage), and she mentioned that she was a Virtual Assistant. Something was seriously clicking. After an interview and trial run, we quickly realized that she was the Processor-Operator we’d been praying for.

Knowing your working personality is useful for so much beyond just hiring. It can be useful in any working relationship. Knowing that McCauley is an Operator has helped Shelby make sure that she included progress updates in team meetings. Knowing that Shelby is a Visionary has helped McCauley understand that Shelby’s not flaking out on the here and now—but that she’s hardwired to be envisioning what’s next. She also has learned that I’m a well of ideas that can be tapped at any time with a single question—and McCauley is always there to help Shelby prioritize the next best idea.

Knowing your working personality can also help you identify your personal weaknesses so that you can stop spinning your wheels.

Shelby was able to identify that she didn’t have many Operator tendencies. This meant that while she was a natural at reverse-engineering huge goals, it was really tempting for her to try to skip the consistent effort necessary to turn those goals into a reality. So she started to create planning habits that helped her focus on action over more strategizing. She started to use her planner to record “tada lists” (things that I got done) instead of just todo lists, as a way to spur herself into doing what she knew was needed. She also started to be honest about her tendencies to procrastinate follow-up and project completion, to eliminate distractions that limited significant progress, and to reach out to others for accountability.

But even while building these essential habits, Shelby also fed her inner Visionary-Processor by listening to podcasts that stretched her imagination, externally-processing dreams with certain designated people, and giving herself permission to flesh out new ideas for the future when the time was right.

So how about you? Take this incredibly simple quiz to gain more insight on your productivity personality.

Then, take time to journal through the following prompts:

  • How can you mitigate weaknesses through intentional planning habits?
  • How can you feed your strengths?
  • What strengths does your team have? Who do you need to hire?


Today is the last day to purchase our Q2 subscription box! We ship our sub boxes four times a year and they contain 3 Monthly booklets along with curated planning accessories. The Monthly is the muscle of our planning system. It’s a five-week undated day planner featuring week spreads, habit trackers, timeblocked day pages, and plenty of bullet grid flex space to make the planner completely yours. We can’t wait to see what you do with the right tools in hand!