The Enneagram, personality type theory, attempts to compile core pieces of an individual and complete the puzzle as a whole. Each type describes key characteristics that are beneficial to understanding oneself and how to work best with others. The Enneagram theory reveals how emotions drive our decision-making and engagement with others. There are nine different personality types, but this test isn’t about putting yourself in a box. Instead, Enneagram tests are about recognizing the box you’re already in and finding growth opportunities.
Multiple organizations have used enneagrams to build cohesive teams based on individual strengths and weaknesses. Three emotional types, body (gut feelings), head (ability to analyze and rationalize), and heart (ability to empathize and connect with others), make up the Enneagram results. These three foundational pieces reveal your driving motivators and illuminate a path to self-growth. You can discover which Enneagram type is most compatible with your personality type by taking the quiz, here.
"We can't become what we need to be by remaining what we are." – Oprah Winfrey
Productivity is an individual journey, and many of us just need to find the perfect method to fit with our personality type. Humans are incredibly complex creatures, so you might not resonate with every detail of your personality type but focus on finding ways to grow out of the box you’re in. Identifying personal tendencies will help you find balance and personalize your productivity tricks. Productivity isn’t limited to work — we strive towards productivity in every aspect of our lives, and finding the perfect productivity method will help you excel.
Type 1: The Perfectionist — Supporter
Responsible, hard-working, and thorough, type ones hold high expectations for themselves and others. Perfectionists have a high moral compass, wanting to make a significant impact on the world, and are likely to succeed if they can learn to quiet their harsh inner critic. With a high sense of right and wrong, Perfectionists always look at the details and find the most systemic way to get it right.
“Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself, you’ll be happier.” – Roy Bennett
With a very chatty inner critic, perfectionists are easily frustrated when things don’t fall nicely into place or live up to their high expectations. Sometimes the Perfectionist needs to be reminded that “good enough” is more productive than “perfect,” and a supportive team can be a great reminder of this.
Core belief: I am good because I fix errors and meet my expectations.
Strengths: Organized, detail-oriented, honest, and true to their values.
Challenges: Pressure for perfectionism hinders productivity, and sometimes it can feel impossible to let go of a sunk decision that provides no return. This can lead to burnout, procrastination, and overworking.
Core Lessons: Sometimes, getting it done on time is better than getting it done perfectly.
Productivity Method: Stay organized and set hard deadlines to keep yourself accountable. Remember to schedule breaks and practice self-care. The Pomodoro method is a great reminder to step outside of work and take care of yourself.
Type 2: The Helper — Giver
Twos value their relationships above all else and are always looking for ways to help others. Empathetic, kind-hearted, and loyal, Helpers put a lot of weight on their relationships. This is the co-worker that will go out of their way to bring everyone in the office a coffee and forget to grab one for themselves — helpers just simply want to help.
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” – Maya Angelou
Considerate and people-oriented, twos make great communicators, and their empathic nature is a superpower in the workplace. Twos will give to others as long as they feel loved and appreciated in return, making them great team players. Sometimes Helpers can overexert themselves trying to prove themselves to others and earn their trust. Their people-oriented nature is both a strength and a weakness — people-pleasing can cloud the judgment of type twos.
Core Belief: I am good because I give.
Strengths: Friendly, empathetic, caring, and creates a welcoming culture, attracting influential supporters.
Challenges: Overcommitting to unrealistic deadlines, overworking to please others, and becoming sour without a sense of appreciation.
Core Lessons: Take care of yourself with as much care as you take care of others.
Productivity Method: Manage your projects using a Kanban board so you can visually access your progress and set more realistic goals. Two thrive in team scenarios, where they can use their skills for collaboration and bring people towards a common goal.
Shift Tip: Add all of your project resources to a shared workspace to collaborate effectively.
Type 3: The Achiever — Performer
Threes are consistently exceeding expectations and making it look easy. With their inherent adaptability, quick-thinking, and strong work ethic, Achievers get things done and lead the momentum. They evaluate the expectations of others so they can exceed them, and earn admiration for doing so.
“If you are working on something that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” – Steve Jobs
The achiever’s greatest challenge is losing sight of what’s truly important and dumping all of their energy into work. Personal challenges, emotions, or insecurities usually get left on the back burner for Achievers and end up resurfacing indirectly. Deep diving into work is often the Achiever’s way of disguising any hardships they may be facing, leading to intense burnout and exhaustion.
Core Belief: I am good because I am successful.
Strengths: Charming, charismatic and hard-working, often mentors or leaders.
Challenges: Overshooting abilities, impatience with others, and burnout from overwork.
Core Lessons: What would I do with my time if no one was watching?
Productivity Method: Build thoroughness of process into your task management. When threes are stressed out, they tend to forget the details and focus on shiny objects. Use the G.T.D. Method to dump all your thoughts out and spend time building an organized, intuitive process.
Type 4: The Visionary — Individualist
Reflective, creative, and open to abstract ideas, Visionaries want to dig through the depths of human experience and live life to its fullest. Type fours strive to be the most authentic versions of themselves, which is reflected in their works' unique and out-of-the-box nature. Most Visionaries have a growth mindset and always listen with a non-judgemental heart, seeing every experience as a chance to learn.
“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible.” – Albert Einstein
Fours romanticize the world we live in and struggle to see the dark sides of life, setting sometimes unrealistic expectations for themselves and others. When life doesn’t live up to the idealized version created in the mind of a four, they tend to struggle with self-loathing and resentment. Fours thrive when they can find the significance in the little things and practice gratitude for everyday brilliance.
Core Belief: I am good because I am unique.
Strengths: Bold, creative, born-visionary, and unafraid of new, original ideas.
Challenges: Feel underappreciated when given tasks that don’t showcase their unique abilities, envious of others, tendency to internalize simple solutions.
Core Lesson: Your work is still valuable even when it is not exceptional.
Productivity Method: When stressed, you lose sight of the big picture and get caught up in busywork. Use the Eisenhower Matrix to track your commitments and clearly outline your objectives to prioritize effectively.
Shift Tip: Whether you work best at night or during the day, adjust your settings to light/dark mode so you can dive into deep work.
Type 5: The Investigator — Observer
Type fives are generally very rational truth-seekers and want to examine all sides of an issue to see it objectively. Investigators feel most comfortable when alone and enjoy exploring new ideas while looking for the facts to back them. They are ridiculously good at trivia, locked rooms, and anything that challenges the mind, allowing fives to exemplify their problem-solving skills.
“Instead of thinking out the box, get rid of the box.” – Deepak Chopra
Type Fives are very independent and expect the people around them to be independent as well. Fives are adaptable and willing to accept new ideas, as long as they fall forward with facts and rigor. With their overt independence, Fives are often aloof to the emotions or needs of others and struggle to show their vulnerability. Preferring to live in their heads, Fives fear feelings of incompetence and refrain from showing any insecurities in their work-life.
Core Belief: I am good because I am self-sufficient.
Strengths: Excel at rigorous analysis, problem solvers, eager to learn, open-minded.
Challenges: Over analyzing a problem when a decision needs to be made, overlook other’s needs or opinions, often dismissively.
Core Lessons: Understanding other people's feelings and perspectives are just as important as understanding the facts.
Productivity Method: When you’re under a high level of stress, it’s common to become narrow-sighted on one area of work and neglect others. The Responsibility Roster will help you separate your tasks into different categories and allocate time to each, so you can ensure you’re always working on projects at the right time.
Type 6: The Loyalist — Skeptic
Loyalists view the world as very unpredictable, and because of this, they look at most things through a skeptical lens, walking through life with a lot of questions. Safety and security stem from their relationships, community building, ideology, and abilities to predict their circumstances. Thoughtful and determined, Loyalists love to build a reliable social circle and depend upon other people to bring their ambitions to fruition. Their skeptical views are useful when evaluating a situation in which all ends of a problem need to be addressed and solved. Type Sixes mitigate harm by questioning their co-workers and approaching life with genuine curiosity.
“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.” – Benjamin Spock
When their sense of security feels threatened, Sixes act out of defense, displaying reactionary and pessimistic behavior. Mentors are essential to Loyalists and are often set on very high pedestals, making it difficult when they don’t live up to expectations. This type has an opportunity for growth when they accept that they cannot control every outcome and instead place trust in themselves. Sixes will thrive in leadership roles when they learn to adapt to new situations and lead with courage.
Core Belief: I am good because I am secure.
Strengths: Community builder, communicator, excellent problem solver, loyal to co-workers and team relationships.
Challenges: Searching for group approval leads to procrastination, over researching, and inhibiting self-doubt when making a final decision.
Core Lessons: Things are not as fragile as they might seem, trust in yourself.
Productivity Method: When under stress, you tend to resort to busy work and procrastinate on more challenging projects. To combat this, try Eating the Frog (aka. Tackling your most crucial project before anything else) to ensure you are still making meaningful progress on your goals.
Shift Tip: Mute notifications while you are engaging in deep work to limit distractions and accelerate focus.
Type 7: The Enthusiast — Opportunist
Enthusiasts live life to the fullest, seeing any opportunity or adventure with an optimistic lens and focusing on keeping life interesting. Sevens have a magnetic energy, and their happy-go-lucky nature makes them great people to have around. Many people shiver at the thought of the unknown, but Sevens pursue an exciting life with many twists and turns. Through the empowerment of others and a positive perspective, Sevens can build a vision for the future.
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill
Sevens think fast under pressure and thrive in a changing environment where they can showcase their natural adaptability and lead others through uncertain circumstances. However, Sevens are quick to boredom and will often move onto the next best thing before completing a project. Constantly planning their next moves, Sevens need to slow down and “smell the roses” to truly enjoy life.
Core belief: I am good because I am exciting.
Strengths: Motivating, optimistic, positive-energy, hard-working, innovative.
Challenges: Unrealistic with deadlines and struggle to complete unfinished projects after something better comes along. Dismissive of negative feelings and reluctance to deal with them.
Core Lessons: You might miss out on some of life’s most incredible experiences if you run from any sign of pain or boredom.
Productivity Method: When stressed, you look at future ideas before finishing up your current projects. You can mitigate this by using the Pomodoro Method to set daily time limits (20m) to focus all of your energy and redirect new projects to a later date.
Type 8: The Challenger — Protector
Eights are fighters: strong-willed individuals that have seen or experienced an abuse of power and decided to fight back. Eights aren’t afraid to tell you how it is and believe being blunt, honest, and direct is the best way to reach a consensus. This type does not shy away from confrontation and will advocate for their team whenever necessary. Their courageous nature is a superpower, inspiring those around them to take action and push past boundaries. Eights are strong leaders and adapt well in competitive environments or crises, protecting those who follow their lead.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” – Ambrose Redmoon
Eights can also come across as assertive, intimidating, and seeking to control others — while this might not be the intent, their powerful nature is perceived negatively when they feel threatened. When Eights feel any degree of vulnerability, they tend to overcompensate and shadow their fears with defense. Vulnerability is too often attached to shame, but in reality, vulnerability takes a lot of courage and strength. When Eights become comfortable with vulnerability — speak openly and acknowledge their fears — they can inspire great creativity and be a voice for change. Eights can grow by learning how to harness their power to protect others and advocate in service to their community rather than their ego.
Core belief: I am good because I am in control.
Strengths: Persuasive, confident, strong-willed, highly productive.
Challenges: Impatient with perceived weakness, intimidating, confrontational, quick to anger.
Core Lessons: Am I acting rationally or protecting my insecurities?
Productivity Method: Block out time for reflection and strategy. When under stress, you often jump the gun and struggle to see the big picture. Time blocking will help you separate your meetings, emails, and time for focused work — so you can effectively plan for the week ahead and schedule time for reflection.
Tip: Build workspaces in Shift so you can organize your big projects and ensure you don’t miss any details or sacrifice the quality of your work.
Type 9: The Mediator — Peacemaker
Mediators want to bring everyone together through an understanding of different beliefs and perspectives. As great listeners, Nines prefer to mitigate conflict rather than engage in it. Nines hold a profound perspective that communication can resolve anything if all parties are allowed to speak openly and compromise is the ultimate goal. They feel safest when there is harmony within the community and do everything in their power to bring unity.
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” – Dalai Lama XIV
In creating a high degree of harmony, Nines often disregard their own needs and compartmentalize significant issues to create an illusion of agreement. This can build a growing resentment for their community as they continue to be agreeable, despite personal views about a subject matter. Nine’s have a great opportunity for leadership when they learn to address their own beliefs and take decisive action while considering the opinions of others. Nine’s can lead excellent, unified teams by combining their unique listening skills, desire for consensus, and strong growth.
Core Belief: I am good because I am harmonious.
Strengths: Excellent listeners, create safe spaces for open dialogue, understand multiple perspectives, and friendly, easy-going nature.
Challenges: Ability to act decisively, avoids confrontation, molds opinions to meet others, and struggles to see the bigger picture.
Core Lessons: My opinion is just as important as the opinions of those around me.
Productivity Method: When stressed, you tend to doubt yourself and search for affirmation. You’re collaborative, so use a system that keeps you accountable to others. Use the Kanban Method to track your projects and collaborate with a team.
Nail down your productivity method using Shift
Shift aggregates all of your email and app accounts, so you can easily streamline your workflow. If you want to maximize productivity and get things done efficiently, Shift is the productivity app for you. Shift is more than just a browser, it's a one-stop shop for everything productivity. Add all of your favorite apps, integrate passwords, customize your settings, and build your perfect workspace with Shift.