ALPEN is an acronym in which each successive letter means another step that must be taken to plan your actions. To use this method you will need 5-15 minutes a day. It is one of the most widely used time management methods and therefore worth exploring. Interested? Let’s get started!
A (de Aufgaben) ToDo list Make a ToDo list. Click HERE for more information about how to make it well. Tasks can be grouped by theme (connected with one task – such as smaller tasks included in the larger one) or by specific action they require (send an email, make a phone call). If you use a ToDo list on a regular basis then you just add new tasks to the list. This step shouldn’t take longer than 1 minute.
L (de Lange schatzen) Estimate the length of activities You already have the tasks, now it’s time to assign the time needed to perform a given task. Estimate the time realistically. If you know something will take 2 hours, don’t write down that you are able to do it in 30 minutes. If you keep underestimating tasks, you will put more tasks than you can actually accomplish on your list. At the end of the day you’ll see that you completed very little of your goals. This will quickly discourage you from using this method regularly. And again, if you use a ToDo list on a regular basis, all you have to do is just estimate the time of the added tasks.
P (de Pufferzeiten einplanen) Plan buffer time and breaks Unfortunately, there are just a few days where you are busy performing tasks such as you planned. Usually there is something unexpected that you need to do as quickly as possible and at the same time postpone the execution of other tasks. Therefore you should assume in advance that such things will occur and keep a buffer for spontaneous activities.
How much time should you plan as reserve? There are several approaches to this problem. Some recommend that the buffer is even 40% of your work time. Assuming that your working day is 8 hours, you can spend only 5 hours productively. Also the breaks during work should be planned. After all you don’t sit 5 hours at your desk. You should also include coffee or tea breks in this buffer.
In fact only you know the character of your work and how often such unexpected activities may appear. The best solution is to estimate the time reserve individually. In your case it may be only 30%. What if you overestimated their buffer and have a leftover pause time? You can tackle an outstanding task from your list accordingly to the time left or perform any task assigned for the next day.
E (de Entscheidungen treffen) Establishing priorities, delegating Even the best ToDo list will not work if you don’t use priorities. Also analyze which tasks are actually important to you and which you can delegate. If you look at it thoroughly you may find that you need half a day to complete a specific task. Someone else could do it for you within one hour and at a low price. This applies not only to professional activities but also to all household chores.
N (de Nachkontrolle) Noting You should check your list several times a day to tick off completed tasks. Surely you have to do it in the evening to sort the list and determine the tasks to be performed the next day. Such control is not just planning your next day but also validating the time estimation of each task. Incomplete tasks should be moved to the next day, but this should be an exception and not the rule.