ALPEN Method: Effective time management methods for freelancers

Last week I presented the Eisenhower principle. Today I present another effective time management method for freelancers. This article is about the Alpen Method. This method also allows to plan the everyday life of a freelancer efficiently.

What is the ALPEN method?

The ALPEN method was developed by the German speaker and car Lothar J. Seiwert.

With the ALPEN method, tasks can be determined and planned within a very short time. This technique consists of five elements.

A: Acrivities, tasks and dates
All daily tasks are simply noted down in the form of a classic to-do list.

L: Length of tasks, dates and activities
Next to the task is created in a second column. There it is noted how much time the task is expected to take.

P: Plan a buffer time for unplanned events
A sudden call from a customer, an additional correction or another unplanned event. The ALPEN method schedules a buffer time for each day.

E: Execute a decision
How important and how urgent is the planned task? Is the time taken to complete the task in a healthy proportion to its importance? To make these decisions you can use the Eisenhower principle.

N: Note and check completed tasks
At the end of the day, check that you have completed all planned tasks. This gives you an overview of how realistic your planning was. If your planning was very unrealistic, you should adjust your structure the very next day.

The ALPEN technology in practice

Creating to-do lists is not really new. As freelancers we have a lot of practice in this. What advantage does the ALPEN method actually offer?

Since I have known the ALPEN method, I force myself to write down the time needed behind each task. At the beginning of the task I set a stopwatch. I try to reach the scheduled task in the time I set. With this technique I concentrate much better on the pure implementation of the task. I do not waste time with unimportant details because the focus is clearly on the timely implementation.


To me, the ALPEN method does not provide groundbreaking solutions for better time management in many areas. Almost every freelancer uses to-do lists. Time management becomes really efficient with the L in the ALPEN method. By defining the length of the task, the focus is more on the pure implementation of the task.

Especially as a graphic designer, I find many options, possibilities and details during the implementation of a graphic project that I could work on additionally. This is time-consuming and can upset the entire daily schedule. With the ALPEN method my focus remains purely on the implementation of the task. Graphical details I work on when there is something left over from the planned time allocation. Using the ALPEN method, I avoid that one single task can upset my entire daily schedule. For me this has a lot to do with effective time management.

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