Buried everyday under a huge pile of tasklists. No matter how much you try to complete but same pile will be back up again. It’s like never ending story and you often feel like you can’t take control of your tasklist and feel defeated all the time.
I always wonder how there are some people out there, were able to take control of their tasklist effectively. So, I started looking for better ways to organize my day and I discovered the ALPEN Method from this post. To be honest, I have never heard of ALPEN Method. This is the first I’ve ever heard. The teaching is simple yet easy to conquer. Let me share with you what is ALPEN Method.
What is ALPEN Method?
Alpen Method was discovered by a German economist Professor who is an expert in time management – Professor Lothar J. Steiwart. The acronym ALPEN was derived from German words and with the help of Google Translator I have also looked up for the meaning of each word :
A – Aufgaben (Tasks)
L – Länge schätzen (Estimate Length)
P – Pufferzeiten einplanen (Schedule buffer times)
E – Entscheidungen treffen (Make decisions)
N – Nachkontrolle (Follow-up Inspection)
Listing your tasks / appointments [Aufgaben]
As a regular human being, we can’t possibly hold all information in our brain. We need to download these information on a paper, so that we will be able to execute it. Hence, comes the listing tasks / appointments on a journal / book. I advice to dedicate a special book / device or any other ways that you are comfortable with.
Estimate Length [Länge schätzen]
This step is crucial part for me because not being able to estimate length can be disastrous because you won’t be able to complete your tasks which will leads you to frustration, disappointment and eventually may push you into the black hole of procrastination (been there and done that). So, be very very careful when you are in the process.
To estimate the length of a task, I actually tried doing the task with a timer that I estimated. I have actually estimated writing this blog post in 30 minutes. When I did not finish this in time, I added another 30 minutes timer. I actually finished it in an additional 20 minutes. So, in reality it takes me roughly 50 minutes to write a post. If you are like me, unable to decide what’s the actual time to dedicate for a task. I highly recommend you to do this. Understanding your own strength and capability will help you to better plan your day.
Schedule Buffer Time [Pufferzeiten einplanen]
Okay, I’ve got to be honest here, I’ve never included buffer time separately because I have already included that in my time block that I have assigned for that task. After reading the ALPEN Method I realised the importance of separating buffer time for each task. What I mean is, don’t alot any thing in this buffer time on your schedule. Using the same example above, if you needed 50 minutes to complete a task, set 10 minutes buffer time separately. This means you need to block 3pm to 3.50pm to complete your blog post on your schedule. Your next blocked time should start at 4pm and not at 3.50pm.
Make Decisions [Entscheidungen treffen]
Next, making decisions. The toughest part of the process. Identifying which is urgent and important. You need to start prioritizing the list that you have just created. Fortunately, thanks to the Eisenhower Matrix, you will be able to segregate the list of tasks into its own quadrant. REMEMBER : Anything that is relevant to your goals, usually goes under the green, blue and yellow quadrant. Segregating this way will give you a better direction on how you should lead your day and gives you better satisfaction. The below image will give you a better idea on how to divide your tasks / appointments.
Follow – up Inspection [Nachkontrolle]
Last but not least, the follow-up inspection. The section which many of us often fail. We often check for the tasks that we did not complete to be scheduled for the following day but we failed to inspect how did we perform in the previous tasks.
What I mean is you need to analyse the tasks that is completed. Does the task need more time to be completed? Is the task too big? Is there any part of the task that I can separate and batch it instead? I love this part the most because I was able to reevaluate my method and do necessary changes. This one method has really helped me to improve my time management skills better.
Conclusion – take control of your tasklist
It took me some time to adjust this time managmenet technique, especially the part where I have to estimate the length to finish the task. But once I get a hang of it, the process became much faster and I’m able to take control of my tasklist effectively.
This method has build my confidence to take more action because I was able execute my tasks daily succesfully.
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