team dynamics

June 8, 2022

Ask Us Anything #1 – Podcast Ep 16

Listen to episode 16 on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Spotify.

Have you wondered how we approach planning? Or what advice we give when we talk with friends about planning? Are you simply curious to know more about us?

For the final episode of this season of our podcast, we dive into questions we received from our community! They range from personal questions, to planner-related questions, to general productivity questions.

Join us for a laid back and fun conversation!

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July 7, 2021

July 2021 Team Update

Hey dear ones, today’s blog post is going to be a bit different! We’re coming at you with a personal update, since so much has happened in the lives of Team Evergreen this year! 

The first big adjustments came when McCauley moved out of her little white house—and Shelby moved into it! Fun fact: McCauley and Shelby actually used to share the master bedroom of that little white house as sisters before they each married! After their mom moved out, Shelby’s family lived in it for a few months, and then when they had to move a few hours away, McCauley’s family moved into it! Now that McCauley’s family has moved into their more long-term home, Shelby’s family was able to slide back into that darling little house that she felt they had to leave all too soon. 

So, yes, we’ve definitely been playing a bit of musical houses over here. 😉

While Shelby was neck-deep in moving, Clari gave birth to her baby! Her third son, Stellan was born on April 15, at 9 lbs and 9oz. He’s basically a copy-and-paste of his two big brothers, with the fluffy blonde hair and big blue eyes. He’s in the 99th percentile in basically every category, is already sharing his baby-chattering opinion on things at the team meetings, and has a smile that will absolutely melt your heart! He’s going to get to take his first beach trip with his family shortly, and the rest of the team may be more than a bit jealous of that fact. With the way Clari holds together all the backend processes at Team Evergreen while rocking her boy mom life (while starting in on preschool with her oldest!), she definitely deserves a coastal vacation!

Shortly before Clari returned to work, McCauley went into labor. Shelby was turning in for the night after an evening work session when the call came from Philip that it was showtime! Shelby hopped into the car and tried not to cut the six minute drive to McCauley’s house in half from speeding. McCauley labors like a true pro, and it wasn’t long before Nancy Ro came into the world at 1:42 a.m. on April 30th, at 8 lbs and 10 oz, 21” long. She’s behaved and stayed looking like a snuggly newborn for a bit longer than her big siblings seemed to. You could stare at her perfect rosy cheeks and long dark eyelashes for hours. Some of us certainly have been.

And because life always seems to work out this way, Shelby spent the next few days following her new niece’s birth juggling night-nanny duties _and_ helping to get her family fully moved into the little white house (which had to first get a fresh coat of paint on the walls). Thankfully, due to her family’s minimalistic tendencies, the packing and unpacking process wasn’t too intense, but she is very glad to finally be settled in—besides all of the bookcases she still needs to paint. Now she’s in full swing with preparations for the upcoming homeschooling year, and her mama heart couldn’t be more full.

So, Team Evergreen has finally and fully emerged from our maternity leave season, and is digging into all the things that need to be done for the third quarter of the year. We were able to have one of our full-day, mega-productive, in-person team meetings in June. As always, we ended the day marveling at how, when we all three get together, we can pour over finance details and project plans for hours on end without it even feeling like work!

The feeling of being a part of this team is golden. And from the bottom of our hearts, we also want to thank you for being a part of the Evergreen Planner story. 

We each have our own unique life circumstances and callings, but what a fun thing to unite with you through the passion we share for living intentionally and making space to really thrive. 

We do hope you’re having a super delightful Summer, gang.


Team Evergreen

March 17, 2021

Understanding Social Energy & Communication Styles

​Last week, we wrote about productivity personalities, how to feed strengths and compensate for weaknesses, and how these ideas have played out in our Evergreen Team dynamics. In this post, we’re going to look at social energy and communication styles, and the ways doing all this work around who you are and who you’re working with can help you work more compassionately and productively as an individual and on a team.

Social Energy

Way more popular than productivity personalities, is diving into the concept of being “introverted” vs “extroverted.”

Once Shelby realized that she is an extraverted worker, everything changed. At first, she was thrilled at the prospect of working completely alone. The work she was doing at the time was extremely intellectually stimulating, and was exactly the kind of material she’d hide in the closet for hours on end to enjoy in silence.

But after weeks of focusing alone on a project, she felt like she was going insane. Even with plenty of socializing outside of work, it wasn’t enough. Working alone was miserable. ​

Then, during an inner work journaling exercise something she wrote down hit her like a lightning bolt: if working alone was not life-giving, why not set a boundary to no longer accept projects that would have her alone for hours and hours on end? Why not prioritize work that would connect her with an energizing team?

It was a pivotal moment for Shelby and paved the way for a series of decisions that ultimately resulted in the Evergreen Planner finally getting what it needed to flourish.

So ask yourself: Do you get your energy from working primarily alone or in a team? How can you choose a new path that energizes you instead of one that depletes you?

Communication Styles

Whether you are energized by working solo or in a team, you’ll always need to communicate with others.

It really helps to understand that there are two types of communicators:

  • The external processor needs to talk it out (or write it out) in order to process something. She will work through issues best during a conversation, and often times the position that she seems to be taking dogmatically at the beginning actually evolves during the conversation, and by the end, can be radically different. This can be very confusing to others, but it’s just because very little processing of information (which is where the consideration of different perspectives, the reasoning, the prioritizing, and the negotiating come into play) happened before the conversation was ever had.
  • The internal processor operates, in many respects, in just the opposite way. She will be very hesitant to make a decision or give feedback on an idea without first being able to take time alone to think and process. Overall, her communication may seem minimal, which can be confusing to others who want immediate feedback on an idea or project. Her silence may be perceived as negative feedback, when really it is just her hesitancy in offering any opinion before she has considered every angle in silence and solitude.

Ask yourself: Which one resonates most with you? Are you an internal or external processor?

Like most things, being an external or internal processor has it’s strengths and weaknesses. However, there are specific practices and habits that can help you both honor who you have been made to be, while also honoring the needs of others who are different from you.

  • If you’re an external processor (like Shelby), a trick to stop confusing others or making conflicts worse is to journal out your thought processes before engaging in conversation. Writing can be just as effective as talking something out, but it will help you to objectively look at your own reasoning before someone else has to call you on your own inconsistencies. An effective journaling habit will make your communications with others much more efficient, effective, and persuasive. However, because talking it out is often easier and more enjoyable, it also helps to designate certain (willing) people in your life to be the recipients of your brainstorming sessions. Tell them in advance that you’re calling them specifically to bounce ideas off of them, talk through a problem, or just get thoughts out of your brain where they’re clogging everything up.
  • If you’re an internal processor (like McCauley), a key to avoiding frustration with others is to give them the assurance that you’re thinking over the things they’ve brought up and that you will get back to them with a conclusion. Then give yourself space to think through the issues in silence. You don’t have to answer them in that moment, even if they’re pressuring you to. You don’t have to go against your gut if you really just need the time to process alone before making a decision. However, keep yourself accountable to doing the work needed to be able to give the feedback that others need from you in a timeline that makes sense for the project or decision. Communicate when they can expect an answer from you.

Do the Inner Work

It can take some journaling and discussions with loved ones in order to figure out some of these things for yourself, but it’s worth the effort.

When you bring other personality dynamics to the table, the discussions for how to understand and mutually support one another deepen in complexity. But we’ve found these musings and discussions to be exceedingly fruitful in our homes, our businesses, and in our communities.

Try pulling out your planner and journaling through these questions:

  • Are you an extravert in your work, or an introvert? Do you need to spend time with a team in order to be energized? Or do you need to make sure you’re getting a lot of time to work alone?
  • Are you an external or an internal processor? What about your spouse? Your closest coworker? How can you support them better in their communication needs?
  • Are you okay with leaning into who God uniquely made you to be? Do you think it’s better to have different personality traits? Why or why not? Are you open to the idea that, as long as you’re within God’s ethical guidelines, your unique working personality is actually a specifically designed blessing for His Kingdom?


Don’t forget that in addition to taking time to work through the above questions, we also offer an incredibly simple quiz to help you determine your productivity personality!

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!