Table of contents:

How to plan things according to the ALPEN method and be in time for everything
How to plan things according to the ALPEN method and be in time for everything

Time management with German precision.

How to plan things according to the ALPEN method and be in time for everything
How to plan things according to the ALPEN method and be in time for everything

What is ALPEN method

This is another way to plan things so that you are guaranteed to have time for everything and at the same time not go crazy with the load. It was invented by the German economics professor and time management expert Lothar Seivert.

The author of the method has divided it into five components. The first letters in the names of the steps eventually formed into the German word ALPEN (in Russian “Alps”):

A - making a list of tasks (Aufgaben);

L - an estimate of the required time (L änge schätzen);

P - planning the buffer time (Pufferzeiten einplanen);

E - task prioritization (Entscheidungen treffen);

N - summarizing (Nachkontrolle).

The essence of the method is to understand which tasks are really worth taking time, and which ones can be left for later. Plus, be realistic about the time you will have to spend, and remember that working without interruptions is the path to burnout.

In essence, the ALPEN method is a combination of block scheduling with the Eisenhower matrix from classical time management.

How to plan cases using the ALPEN method

Make a list

Write down all - all the things you would like to do today. Just write it down: in a paper notebook, note book or planner on your phone.

The temptation to make a mental list is, of course, great, but the resources of human "working" memory are not unlimited. According to some reports, it can simultaneously store up to four tasks or objects.

Don't waste time prioritizing things first - just write down whatever comes to mind. The list is sure to turn out to be frighteningly impressive. It's okay, it should be so.

Estimate how long it takes

Anyone who has tried to plan things at least once almost certainly stepped on the favorite rake of newcomers in time management: he made a list of 15 tasks, but in the end he did not do even half, because they, it turns out, physically do not fit into a working day. As a result, I got upset and abandoned all these newfangled time management techniques.

To prevent this from happening, you need to understand the time costs. Think about how many minutes or hours each task on your list will take. Be as realistic as possible. Build on past experience, and don't forget your personality traits if, for example, you get tired quickly or procrastinate. It must be remembered that all these matters are for you, not for an imaginary superman.

When you're done calculating, write down the estimated time next to each item.

Plan your buffer times

Another common mistake is to plan things one by one. Such a strategy, firstly, does not take into account that a person needs to take breaks, and secondly, it leads to the fact that all plans run the risk of collapsing due to one small delay or force majeure.

The meeting lasted a little longer than the scheduled time, the contractor gave the order a little later, some of the colleagues were late, you got stuck in a traffic jam, the child was dressing for a long time in kindergarten - and that's all, the following things have to be postponed, or even canceled and redrawn all day altogether. This is usually very angry and frustrating.

Therefore, it is important after each task to include in the plan the so-called buffer time, that is, one that you do not occupy with anything.

If something goes wrong, these empty slots will help you cope with the rest of the business. And if no force majeure happens, you use the buffer time to take a break: drink coffee, take a walk, read a book, or just sit in silence. Finally, you can devote this time to additional tasks or personal projects.

You must determine the size of the buffer blocks yourself. Ideally, according to the ALPEN method, they should account for up to 40% of the working time.

Prioritize tasks

At this stage, it usually becomes clear that, given the required time and buffer blocks, the to-do list that the person first compiled is physically impossible to overcome in a day. Therefore, you need to prioritize and choose which tasks to keep and which to cancel or reschedule.

For this, a classic tool is suitable - the Eisenhower matrix. According to it, all tasks from the list are conditionally divided into four categories:

  1. Important and urgent. They need to be addressed first.
  2. Important but not urgent. You can take some time for these after you deal with the first group.
  3. Urgent but unimportant … It is better to delegate them or make them in the third place after the important ones, so as not to devote them all day and not to fall into the trap of urgency.
  4. Not urgent and unimportant … These should be deleted, passed on to someone, or put on the back burner.

Thus, your list will be significantly reduced and will become much closer to reality.


At the end of the day, open your day planner and ask yourself a few questions:

  • What did you manage to do and what did not?
  • Did you have enough time for all the scheduled tasks?
  • Have I estimated the time needed correctly, or should I put in more next time?
  • Was there enough buffer time in my plan to compensate for force majeure and have time to rest?
  • Do I have time to deal with both important and urgent matters so as not to disrupt deadlines, but at the same time not get bogged down in a routine?
  • What can you do to make the plan more comfortable for me next time?

When you answer them, reschedule the tasks that you haven't tackled to the next day. And make a new plan with the "correcting mistakes" in mind.