How can you make yourself more productive?

Don’t kid yourself — you don’t get a lot of work done on Fridays. (Uh, don’t tell my boss i said that.) Maybe it’s that ol’ Friday feeling, the anticipation for the weekend, or maybe you’ve just worn yourself down over the course of the workweek. We’ve all been there. The arrow method can help you avoid that guilt of not getting everything you’ve wanted to get done, done. You’ll thank yourself, and your higher-ups will probably be in favor of it too.

When it comes to structuring your week for optimal productivity, it doesn’t get much simpler than the arrow method. Step one: Front-load your week with work. Ta-da, that’s it! The arrow method has you organize your week in the shape of an arrowhead, so you start off your week by doing the most work on Monday, then schedule your duties and to-dos so they gradually taper down to the end of the week. By Friday, then, you’ll only have a few easy tasks on your plate, versus the big elephant of a job you’ve been putting off since Monday morning. And if you don’t get to everything early on? Easy — you’ve got time on Friday.

This method was invented by Nicholas Sonnenberg, co-founder of task outsourcing platform Leverage, who included the strategy in his article on calendar hacks for Inc. In order to accomplish the arrow-shaped week of work, he writes, “I schedule the majority of my meetings in the beginning of the week, preferably on Monday or Tuesday. These are mostly meetings I have every week — executive meetings, weekly check-ins, financial updates, etc. So I start out my week with a pretty packed schedule, but then the rest of the week is more open.” According to Sonnenberg, this method has three big benefits:

  1. Schedule flexibility.
    If you already know that Monday and probably Tuesday will be packed with work, you know you’ll have some wiggle room later in the week to make room for other engagements and responsibilities that may pop up.
  2. Psychological satisfaction and peace of mind.
    How good does it feel to cross items off your to-do list? How much better would it feel to go through your week knowing you have less to do every day? You’ll sleep a little easier knowing the biggest hurdles of the week are already behind you.
  3. Ease of making travel plans.
    Like the scheduling benefit, the arrow method makes it so you know not to schedule flights for Monday. On that note, you can feel comfortable scheduling travel plans later in the week without rearranging your work schedule. Bonus: you’ll pay less for plane tickets, since it’s cheapest to travel midweek.

The arrow method follows the same main takeaway of a few other productivity tips we’ve covered: Just do the thing you don’t want to do. Mark Twain allegedly called that eating the frog — or, specifically, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” The arrow method applies that theory over an entire week’s time. Eat the biggest frog — and the most frogs — on Monday, and you’ll be living easy by 5 o’clock on Friday. Yum.

Check out my related post: Do you procrastinate?

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