Too much time during the Coronavirus crisis? No chance for time thieves

Good time management is essential. But what to do with too much time? We will tell you!

Article

5 minute read

2020-03-23

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The gym is closed, you don't have to drive to university or work anymore and your favorite café is closed during Coronavirus? Do you have too much time and no plan how to organize yourself? Here we have summarized three important time management methods for you to effectively get through Coronavirus time.

A guide to time management

First things first: start prioritising in must-should-could-categories. Only then you will be able to make good use of your time. If you understood this principle of doing the most important things first, you can continue to dig deeper and find a time management theory that fits your needs. We’d like to introduce you to three popular examples:

The Eisenhower-principle

A well-known technique is the Eisenhower-principle. It got its name from former US president Dwight D. Eisenhower who apparently used this method himself. You categorize your tasks by urgency and importance. This results in a matrix of A, B, C and D tasks that you should deal with in different ways.

  1. Important and urgent: You should do A-tasks immediately and personally.
  2. Important, but not urgent: You should schedule B-tasks for a later time, or do them when they become A-tasks.
  3. Urgent, but not important: You should process C-tasks promptly, but they are not important for your goal.  So do this when you're unfocused or need a break. Even better, ask someone else to do the job.
  4. Neither important nor urgent: D-tasks should be safely removed from your to-do list. They're just unnecessary ballast.

The Eisenhower principle gives you a better overview of upcoming tasks. However, it won't help if you've accumulated a lot of A and C tasks, all of which are time-critical.

The 25,000 Dollar method

This method focuses only on the importance of tasks and takes into account that priorities may change over time.

The method is attributed to US journalist and PR expert Ivy Lee. In 2018, Charles Michael Schwab, manager of the steel company Bethlehem Steel, supposedly asked him to make the company's work processes more efficient and profitable. Allegedly Lee didn't want a fixed fee, but offered Schwab to test his method as long as he wanted and then pay an amount that he thought was appropriate. Schwab agreed, and after a few weeks Lee received a check for $25,000. The reason: The method was the most valuable lesson he had learned in his entire life.

Lee had given the following instructions:

  1. On a piece of paper, write down the most important tasks you want to complete the next day and number them according to priority. Task 1 is the most important.
  2. The next day you start with task 1 and work on it until you have completed it.
  3. Then review and complete the remaining tasks. If new tasks have been added, set a new order and work through them point by point, starting with the most important task.
  4. At the end of the day you take stock. If you have not completed all the tasks, rearrange them for the coming day.
  5. Turn this procedure into a routine.

As you can see, this method is not a magic trick. Nevertheless, it will help you to focus on one task at a time, and not get lost in a variety of tasks.

The ALPEN method

The ALPEN method goes back to the author and speaker Lothar J. Seiwert and helps you to structure your daily routine in a better way. The name ALPEN is an acronym and refers to the German version of the five steps of the method. These five steps are:

  1. Write down tasks (Aufgaben notieren): As a first step, use a simple to-do list to record all the tasks and activities you want to do during the day.
  2. Estimate length (Länge schätzen): In the second step, you estimate how much time you realistically need for each task.
  3. Schedule buffer times (Pufferzeiten einplanen): In the third step, you define the buffer times. Seiwert recommends that 40 percent of the time be considered as buffer time.
  4. Make decisions (Entscheidungen treffen): In the fourth step you prioritize the tasks. The Eisenhower principle or the 25,000 dollar method can help you with this.
  5. Follow-up check (Nachkontrolle): At the end of the day you take stock. What went well? What didn't? Open tasks will be transferred to the new plan.

Now let’s get to work and try to turn these new methods into habits!

Author: Lydia