Gain back control of the day
The ALPEN method is about creating a plan for the day within a few minutes, which makes it easier to structure the day and keep track of it. The goal is to increase performance while significantly reducing stress. Many managers swear by this simple but effective method. So it is definitely worth a try. One of the best things about the ALPEN method is that it is so simple. There is no complex and complicated system with diagrams and tables to learn. The time management can be created every morning in a few minutes and still has a great effect. As mentioned above, ALPEN is an acronym and stands for A = tasks (which means all appointments and activities, in German „Aufgaben“), L = length (in German „Länge“), P = buffer times in german „Pufferzeiten“), E = decisions (in German „Entscheidungen“) and N = follow-up check (in german „Nachkontrolle“). These five steps define the ALPEN method and must be performed every morning. The only things you really need are pen, paper and some self-discipline.
Tips for successful planning with the ALPEN method
To be able to write down the tasks and activities, you first have to get an overview of everything you have to do or want to do on the respective day. Don't be careless and record all tasks, including standard tasks such as reading and answering e-mails. Writing down all tasks gives you a first impression of what is due. The second step is to estimate how long it will take you to complete each task. It is advisable to estimate realistically, but to keep time a little tighter. Experience has shown that tasks tend to expand if you give them more time from the outset. The tightness of the time windows forces you to say goodbye to all too perfectionist ideas. There should be no stress, but also no idling.
The scheduling of buffer times is closely related to the estimation of the task duration. Plan small buffer periods between the individual tasks, because they simply do not exist, these days on which nothing unforeseen occurs. With a little practice, most project managers will soon be able to assess buffer times very realistically. It all depends on what kind of workstation you have. A classic guide is to plan for 30-40% of the day as a buffer. The next step is to make decisions based on the available list and the times. It is often necessary to admit that there will be no time left for some tasks. Priorities must be set. Decide consciously for the urgent and important tasks. It is best to schedule the most important tasks right at the beginning, so that you are still full of energy and can be sure that these tasks will actually be completed. Extensive tasks should be divided into small bits. A valuable tip for all those who always have a low after lunch: routine tasks with a lower priority are best suited for this period. Finally, there is the follow-up check, which would have brought us to the last letter of the ALPEN. Ask yourself every evening how well your daily planning has worked and try to learn from it. How realistic was the assessment of the lengths and was the buffer sufficient? What do I have to do better or differently tomorrow?
The ALPEN method on the way to more productivity
The ALPEN method is therefore very simple and still helps so much to divide the day. With the ALPEN method you don't go home every evening anymore and have the feeling that you haven't managed anything. Productivity is increased and well-being is equally enhanced. You devote your time specifically to the individual tasks and can always tell your superiors and your team exactly what you will achieve and what will remain for tomorrow, next week or for someone else. This also makes planning easier for everyone in your environment.
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