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Time management methods - How to increase your efficiency

Michael Fenske
06.11.2020 | 5 min reading time

 

"I really don't have time now!" How often do we say or hear that? But is it true? Do we really have no time so often - or do we just need to organize it better? And wouldn't it be great if we could collect time in one place and then make it available in another? Time management can do just that! We show you important time management methods. If you have some time for it.

Time management methods: is this necessary?

Before we turn to the methods of time management, let us ask the critical question: Why is time management so important? After all, we already spend a lot of energy and - yes, exactly - time on self-optimization anyway. Wouldn't it make more sense and be less stressful to use various methods for managing time? 

The answer is clear: Yes, we need time management methods - to be able to use and enjoy the day. In the spirit of "Carpe Diem". Because far too much of our time is neither used for work nor for recreation - we let it pass by unused. Because we allow ourselves to be distracted too easily, because we put off a task or because we simply dawdle on an unloved activity.

Time is valuable! And the time you spend relaxing, doing a hobby or consciously (!) doing nothing is at least as important as your working time. What you should avoid, however, is time wasted without purpose. This is exactly the time that you can save ("accumulate") through clever time management methods and later use for work or (even better!) leisure activities. Even the best methods of time management cannot buy you more time - the day has 24 hours. But they help you to use your time better. And so you don't have more time, but you always have enough time.

Zeitmanagement Methoden: mehrere Ansätze, ein Ziel

Bereits eine kurze Suche nach "Was ist Zeitmanagement?" im Web wird Dir diverse Zeitmanagement Methoden präsentieren, die alle zum Ziel haben, dass Du Deine Zeit produktiver nutzt – und Du dich im Gegenzug über mehr Frei-Zeit freuen darfst. Wir stellen Dir davon die ALPEN-Methode als Strategie für Dein persönliches Zeitmanagement sowie die Eisenhower Methode zur Einordnung anstehender Aufgaben vor. Sie gehören zu den bekanntesten Zeitmanagement Methoden.

Time management methods: the ALPEN method

What does time management have to do with the Alps? Basically nothing - so you don't have to climb mountains of work ... The ALPEN method has its name rather from the acronym of the following individual steps:

  • Write down tasks, activities, dates
  • Estimate and record the length of each task
  • Consider buffer times
  • Making decisions and "savings
  • Follow-up check of the tasks and the list

 

The lynchpin of the ALPEN method is therefore to record due tasks, estimate their respective time requirements and then comply with these specifications. Not particularly spectacular - but effective if you follow the individual steps of this time management method:

Write down tasks, activities, dates

At the end of one day, write down what you want to do the next day. If you don't manage a few things, transfer them to the list for the following day. If you fail to achieve your goals several times, reconsider the amount of tasks you want to do each day.

Estimate and record the length of each task

How long do you need for the individual steps? Here it is important to be honest with yourself. Don't put yourself under too much pressure and give each task the time it needs - but not more. Practice makes perfect: The longer you apply a time management method, the better you will be able to realistically estimate the time needed.

Consider buffer times

You know it from your daily work: the very few jobs can be done "in one go". A phone call here, a colleague looking for help there - and your concentration is gone and time is wasted. The best thing is to plan buffer times for exactly this unplanned time expenditure. Because if interruptions are planned, they don't bother you as much and don't cause any pressure. A ratio of 60% for the actual net working time on your tasks and 40% buffer time has proven itself in practice.

Making decisions and "savings

Sooner rather than later you will reach the point where you have to make decisions about the importance (priority) of tasks. This is certainly one of the advantages of the ALPEN method: There is no "Somehow I can get this done" at the expense of other tasks - your schedule sets the pace. So you will sort tasks by importance, delegate (sub)tasks and take one or the other shortcut to reach your goal.

To better evaluate how you prioritize tasks in your time management method, the "Eisenhower method", which we will discuss in the next chapter, will help you.

Follow-up check of the tasks and the list

It's not only about how much you have done from your daily list, but also how you got there. So if you check the previous list before writing the next one, it will help you to plan your next day. Pay special attention to those tasks that took you more time than you thought. Is this due to a misjudgement or can you still optimize your workflow? This way, each new daily list will be better and more realistic than the previous one.

We hope we have been able to answer the question "What is the APLEN method?" - and we will turn to the next one in a moment: What is the Eisenhower method?

Time management methods: the Eisenhower method

"I have two kinds of problems - the urgent and the important ones. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." That's what former President Eisenhower is said to have said in a speech. The Eisenhower method, named after him, evaluates tasks according to this principle and is often used in time management methods. The following instructions for action result from the distinction between importance and urgency:

  1. A task is important and urgent - then it is done immediately.
  2. A task is important, but not urgent - then it is done by yourself, and on a defined date.
  3. A task is not important, but urgent - then it is delegated.
  4. A task is not important and not urgent - then it is not processed.

Granted: Not every challenge in your professional (or even private) everyday life can be met with such a template. But this pattern helps very well to prioritize and sometimes delegate tasks.

The Eisenhower Method - a limitation

The application of the Eisenhower evaluations within a time management method is without doubt impressive in its clarity and simplicity. However, it also has a problem: It is actually the task of time management to ensure that no more tasks cheat their way to the front by their (alleged?) urgency and thus literally make them important. (Remember: Urgent tasks are rarely important ...). That's why you should start classifying tasks in your daily time management routine according to their actual importance or significance.

Time management methods: the solutions of Can Do

Even the best time management methods are of little use if you do not apply them consistently. And the best way to do that is with time management tools that are fun to use. That's why we want to introduce you to the time management capabilities of Can Do in our presentation of time management methods: Can Do provides you with the following tools to help you master your tasks and time management For a better overview, more insight, better planning - and more fun in efficiently using your time.

  • Personal dashboard for a quick overview of tasks, appointments and projects - for yourself and your team
  • Intelligent To-Do-List with reminder service by mail or messenger
  • Vacation overview and planning for you and your team
  • Skill management - because good use of your time is the basis for your career planning

 

>> Learn more about the time management tools of Can Do

Conclusion

We are sure: Your time investment in this article about time management methods was already the first important step towards "I have time, because I can take it!

If you would like to learn more about questions such as "What are the best time management methods," "How Can Do's solutions help me with time management," or "What else should I know about the various time management methods? We look forward to hearing from you and will gladly take the time to answer your questions!

 

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Michael Fenske
Written by

Michael Fenske

Michael Fenske works as a freelance author for Can Do GmbH.