If you get an Entertainer (ESFP) doing the right thing with the right people, there’s no stopping them. Gregarious, practical but stylish, and generally energetic, these personalities not only tend to be the life of the party but they can also provide a lot of energy in their work lives. However, the flip side of that coin is that they can be somewhat sensitive, and they are easily distracted if they find a task to be mundane.
Like all personality types, Entertainers have a few motivation killers that plague them. They have little tolerance for tasks that lack a certain degree of stimulation. They are not always attuned to long-term strategic goals, especially if the plan has more dry strategy than pizzazz. And while they get along well with others and are generally open to constructive criticism, they can be quite sensitive if they feel that negative feedback is not being leveled in good faith.
Building productivity for Entertainers involves honoring their personality traits where it might sometimes feel to them like they’re swimming upstream. Of course, not all Entertainers may be in a position where they call the shots at work, but understanding what they need and adjusting their work approach to the extent possible may make a significant difference in their productivity.
Making a Mundane Day Come Alive
Anybody who is easily bored could benefit from breaking down their work into bite-sized pieces. Jumping from one small task to another small task can create the sense of a constantly moving work schedule. This sense of movement and perhaps even variety can counteract the sense that you are only plodding along, doing repetitive things without the excitement of making progress.
As an Entertainer personality type, you may find that you avoid a sense of being stuck in work doldrums by using the now-classic Pomodoro Technique. By working in 25-minute increments, you artificially create a sense of movement punctuated with refreshing five-minute breaks to do with what you will between work segments. A quick stroll around the office? A trip to the coffee maker? A couple of sets of push-ups? What you do with the break is up to you. Most people, even many who are highly distractible, can do anything for a mere 25 minutes, especially knowing that the sweet reward of frequent breaks (freedom) awaits at the end of each session.
There are other ways to change the sense of tempo, tone, and variety during the workday. For example, gamifying the day can help those who need some fun to stay productive. First, break the day into several 15- to 20-minute work segments that include all the tasks that you need to do. Then, number the tasks and, using an app that randomizes numbers, allow the app to decide which of the numbered tasks you do next. “The randomizer says six. Let see, six is ‘file the receipts.’”
Of course, you need some independence and flexibility in the workplace to use this gaming approach. It can shake up the all-too-ordinary workday and spice it up by making each task decision into a game of chance.
If you have the luxury and the flexibility, try changing your work environment. Entertainers are likely to be more sensitive than most personality types to the effects of their surroundings. Try working in the kitchen for a while, then move to the living room. If the weather is nice, maybe there’s a park or garden nearby where you can set up your laptop. There’s a reason why so many people like working in coffee shops. If you can change locations, why not?
If you don’t have the leeway to move your work to another place, consider what you can control about your environment, and try to make it more interesting. Add a plant or your favorite bobblehead. Perhaps you’re able to rearrange your desktop or workspace once in a while.
Consider: How can you shake up your day to add more variety and a greater sense of movement? If your tasks tend toward being long and repetitive, find some way to break up your routine for variety.
Populating Your Workday
Being social creatures, Entertainer personality types face two potential problems at work: being distracted by being too social and feeling bored and alone when they lack an opportunity to interact with others. The first is the most obvious and is solved by Entertainers paying attention to how they spend their time during the day. The second is a little more insidious, because in some ways, it comes down to a lack of distraction.
Entertainers feed off other people, not with some malicious intent like vampires or other parasites, but in the most delightful possible way. They extend themselves to others, and in return, they are energized by the people they reach out to. Use this.
There are two ways that the typical Entertainer personality type might include others in their quest to increase productivity. First, asking others to share the burden of a tedious task can change the whole tone. Stuffing envelopes is a lot more fun if you have someone to chat with while you’re doing it. Collaborating or somehow including other people can turn a boring task into a party – or at least something more interesting than solo drudgery.
Entertainers aren’t known for their long-term planning or their persistence with anything routine. Partnering with others who have a knack for foresight, strategic thinking, and follow-through can bridge the gap between what an Entertainer dreams of and what they attain. Does keeping your books bore you? Find an accountant who shares your sensibilities and wants only the best for your financial future. There are people out there who are quite happy doing those things which an Entertainer might find repetitive and boring. If possible, delegating to those people can leave Entertainers with more room to shine doing the things that they do best.
Second, a technique used by those who struggle with focus called the “body double” is becoming more prominent in self-help circles. This method involves having another person in close proximity, either in the room or on a video conference, while doing a task. That’s it. The body doubles aren’t there to be involved with, oversee, or manage your work. They are simply a presence. Often, just the company of another person can bring more energy into the room – think study groups or one of the reasons why some people work better with the din of a coffee shop in the background. (The only caution here might be that gregarious Entertainer personalities may find themselves socializing with their body double. If the body double becomes a distraction, then obviously it’s defeating the purpose.)
More conventionally, working as a team when possible is ideal for most Entertainers, whether as part of a larger team or just pairing with another person. Shared energy is likely to motivate this personality type.
Consider: Does the time that you spend working with others feel balanced? Do you work alone more than you want to? Are there places where you can team up with or simply be around other people while working? How is your work landscape populated?
Feeding Off of Feedback
While Entertainer personalities, in their native practicality and open-mindedness, are good at accepting feedback that they feel comes from a genuine place of helpfulness, they can also be quite sensitive. If they are uncertain about the motives of those offering criticism, they may be less open to negative feedback. The occasional reaction of an Entertainer to such feedback might be something along the lines of, “We’re having such a wonderful time here, and there you go, raining on our parade.”
While this can be true of Turbulent Entertainers, it can be even truer of Assertive Entertainers, who can be so sure of their opinions that they hold any perspectives contrary to their own as suspect. While nobody would ever suggest accepting all feedback blindly, being overly cautious around those offering their observations can slow down progress and development.
Entertainer personality types who find themselves resistant to feedback may want to start thinking about constructive criticism like they might improvisational theater. Instead of resistance, acknowledge the point of the critic by saying “yes” but then adding an “and.” The “yes” mindset is the acceptance that others may see something different in your product or technique. The “and” acknowledges that future contributions are yours and that you are making their observation your own.
This improv approach works even if you disagree with a critic – saying “yes” even when you disagree allows you to explore things from another perspective. Depending on the level of authority that the person leveling the feedback possesses, you can often decide how much of the feedback to keep, how much to alter, and how much to reject. But, by respecting the perspectives of others, you allow yourself to expand beyond your initial view of things and to explore a broader take on things.
Consider: Would it help your productivity if you gave even your harshest critics more of a fair hearing? Are you sometimes bothered by what people say about your productivity or performance at work? Could approaching feedback with a “yes, and” affect how much you are getting done?
Making Productivity a Beautiful Thing
Entertainer personality types typically exhibit an explosive zest for life as they explore its beauty and its drama. Summed up, increasing your productivity involves tapping into this energy and transferring your enthusiasm to the workaday world of deadlines and expectations. When you learn to leverage your strengths, you can overcome any resistance to the mundane and increase your productivity in the various areas of your life.