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#FruitfulWork : Find your work style & increase productivity

by The Smartsheet Team

 

Mystery author Agatha Christie wrote while eating apples in the bathtub. Poet Fredrich Schiller kept a drawer full of rotting apples in his desk because he claimed the smell made him more productive.

It’s interesting how many famously productive folks did more fruitful work with… well… fruit.

Whether or not your work routine involves apples, pears or bananas, odds are there is a particular work style that works best for you. That’s all well and good, until you start collaborating with a team who may have different ways of staying productive.

We want to help everyone work up to their full potential. So, together with Microsoft Teams, we’re bringing you the #FruitfulWork series.

It starts with these three articles (here, here, and here) that feature productivity experts to follow on social media.

Next we’ll bring you exclusive insights on social media from highly motivated, productive and creative people, all aimed at helping you get work done.

Now here’s the big question: How do you do your most #FruitfulWork? We’ve assigned each work style a matching type of fruit. Read on to see which one you are, strengths and weaknesses of each, and how to work well with other types.

 

Pomegranate: Detail-oriented and compartmentalized

What’s the first thing you see when you cut open a pomegranate? Row upon row of tiny seeds, each with a delicious bite of fruit around it. Pomegranates are naturally organized and sub-divided into manageable nibbles.

The pomegranate work style is the same: detail-oriented and compartmentalized. Pomegranate people break jobs into small, discrete tasks and are motivated by completing each one. 

Of course, the pomegranate fruit isn’t easy to eat — it takes time and effort. Pomegranate people are the same way. They’re not afraid to put in a little extra work to get the best results.

Strengths:

  • Gets the details right, no matter how small
  • Tenacious and hardworking
  • Sees tasks through to the end

Challenges:

  • Can have trouble seeing the big picture
  • Can be overwhelmed with too many tasks
  • Needs help directing and prioritizing

If you are a pomegranate, play to your strengths! The rest of the team looks to you for organization and for getting those tricky little tasks done. Your attention to detail ensures that your project will have every "i" dotted and "t" crossed. But look to the star fruit for a perspective on the big picture, and work with the puzzle-solving, logical grapes for an unbeatable team.

 

Star Fruit: Natural leaders with big ideas

Star fruit is one of nature’s wonders: Their cross-section is shaped just like a five-pointed star. Their bright yellow color, sweet aroma and delicious flavor make them true celebrities in the fruit world. 

The star fruit work style is similarly bold and star-studded. Star fruit are the big picture people, with great ideas and the charisma to inspire others to follow their cause. They’re always looking to innovate and discover the next big thing.

Strengths:

  • Can rally the team around a cause
  • Potential for game-changing ideas
  • Provides clarity and direction

Challenges:

  • Can get distracted by the next big thing mid-task
  • Can underestimate the work needed to bring an idea to fruition
  • Can be hesitant to take advice from others

If you’re a star fruit, don’t shy away from those big ideas. But make sure you’re listening to the rest of the team as you plan how to make that idea a reality. And pay special attention to the quiet, patient avocado — they have essential information to share, but you’ll need to slow down and let them speak.

 

Grapes: Problem solvers

Picture a bunch of grapes: It starts with a single stem, which branches off into smaller stems, which branches into even smaller ones, and so on, with a grape at the end of each long and forking path. 

The grape work style has a similar approach to a problem: They start at the beginning, work their way through the twists, turns and forks, and ultimately are rewarded with a sweet solution. They’re logical, meticulous, and like digging into research.

Strengths:

  • Like to dig into tough problems
  • Are guided by logic and research rather than intuition
  • Are tenacious when they’re working on a tough problem

Challenges:

  • Can discount emotional intelligence 
  • Can spend too much time on trivial problems
  • May not have a clear view of the big picture

The rest of the team relies on the grape work style to solve the problems that get in the way of executing on the big ideas. If you’re a grape, keep bringing your research and reasoning skills to the team. Just make sure to partner with an emotionally intelligent apple to round out your reasoning, and look to the pomegranates to prioritize tasks.

 

Apples: Empathetic and intuitive

Apples are sweet, brightly-colored fruits, pleasing to the senses whether they’re growing on a tree or stacked in shiny pyramids at the supermarket. From bobbing for apples to caramel apples to apple pie, they’re a comforting food that are associated with social gatherings and family meals.

The apple work style is the emotional core of a team. Apples are supportive, intuitive, and motivated by developing relationships and making connections between other team members. Their work is essential to a team dynamic — apples can minimize conflict, keep the team motivated, and throw a killer afterparty when the work is done.

Strengths: 

  • Emotionally intelligent and supportive
  • Strong sense of intuition
  • Holds the team together

Challenges:

  • Can be thin-skinned
  • Less detail and logic-oriented
  • May have trouble staying motivated if they lack emotional investment

Apples and logic-driven grapes may seem like an odd couple, but they can’t get by without each other. Each should try to see the other’s point of view. The goal is to achieve a balance between the two, not for one side to win. When you’re working with apples, communication is key: Make sure everyone has space to talk about their feelings and resolve conflicts before they start.

 

Avocado: Quiet and patient

We all know the struggle with avocados: They’re so delicious, yet they take so long to get ripe. They can be hard as a hand grenade for a week after you buy them. But if you give them the time they need, you can enjoy scrumptious guacamole, and that’s well worth the wait.

The avocado workstyle might be unkindly called a “procrastinator.” But that title has too much negative baggage. Instead, think of it as being patient, thoughtful, and motivated by proximity to deadlines. If you’re the quiet one in the group who pulls the whole project together at the last minute, you’re the avocado and the team should celebrate you.

Strengths:

  • Patient and thorough
  • Comes through in a clinch
  • May spot opportunities others miss

Challenges:

  • Can potentially delay a project
  • Can panic as deadlines approach
  • May not get their great ideas across in time to implement them

Avocados don’t need yet another time management system or additional motivation. They just need to be understood and allowed to work at their own pace, with some guidance to make sure the deadline is met. Avocados work well with apples, who may be the only ones that take time to understand them. Star fruit should take extra care to make sure their voice gets heard.

 

Learn your workstyle and do more fruitful work

Working with a team can be challenging: it can be hard to pull together all the different workstyles into a productive and efficient whole. It helps to understand all of the ways that people work and how their style might complement your own. 

And, of course, no one is just one thing. There are certainly apple-grape and pomegranate-starfruit hybrids out there, too. But these five workstyles are a good starting point for creating a positive team dynamic.

In the next few weeks, we’ll be bringing you expert advice on productivity, efficiency and collaboration on our social media channels. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter for all our #FruitfulWork advice.