Time window

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Time window ( time corridor , English time frame ) is in time management a period of time available for completing a specific task or performing a specific action .


The compound time window is made up of time as a sequence of events and the window as the boundary of the view . In the past, you “entered” a period of time in German or set a time frame, today you “open” a time window. The term time window comes from the Anglo-Saxon specialist literature , where economic time windows ( English strategic windows ) or optimal time windows ( English windows of opportunity ) have been discussed as time windows for action since 1978. The author pointed out the limited periods of time that companies have to use in market developments when market potentials open and close. In the following, the term was extended to all time-critical situations. As early as 1972, Eric Heinz Lenneberg spoke of the "critical period"; He said that if you didn't learn to speak at the age of 14, you would never learn it (completely) again.

Time window is to be understood as a neologism based on an expanded meaning of the word window. In addition, the time corridor occurs as a variant today ; it also designates a special period of time intended for a special purpose.


Time slots appear wherever jobs , orders , events , deadlines , key dates , deadlines and scheduling play a role. That is the case at work and in private life . The roughest time windows are the life cycle , product life cycle or the division of everyday life into working hours and leisure time . In the case of the latter, the personal goal should be neither to do private tasks during working hours ( private conversations , use of work equipment for private purposes ) nor to perform business tasks in their free time.

There are time windows in the job especially when meeting deadlines ( preclusive periods ) or appointments of any kind that have to be coordinated using schedules . Another tool in complex projects is the network plan technique , which makes a temporal and final link between actions . The beginning of a time window is the cognizance of future deadlines or appointments, the end of the time window is a specific calendar day or even a specific time that must be adhered to for punctuality , adherence to deadlines or to avoid legal consequences. However, the beginning and / or end of a time window can also be indefinite in time. In politics , for example, the time window for reunification was very tight, because there were fears that Mikhail Gorbachev might be assassinated or overthrown and his successors would no longer have been ready for reunification. The coup that actually took place on August 19, 1991 in Moscow ended Gorbachev's political career and the time window.

Time window in the economy

Additional sign 1040-30 - a time window under traffic law, for example for parking

One by workers to-do task as the beginning of the time window has the transfer of the superiors of his employees to accomplish a specific task with which usually the target of a completion date is connected. The division of the time budget available for the task into reasonable time windows for individual work processes and sequences helps with timely completion.

In time-critical assembly line production, for example, a production line moves at a preset speed that specifies the work intensity at each individual station ( workplace ). Here the time window is less than 10 minutes up to one-minute cycles, starts with the appearance of the workpiece at the station and ends when it leaves the station. The time windows for piece work are comparably tight and consist in the fact that workers have to process a product within a cycle time of a few minutes.

The just-in-time production requires time-time delivery of intermediate goods , with a certain time window is defined to be followed to operational disturbances to be avoided. In trade , it is common for logistics companies to have to book time slots for their deliveries in time slot management systems within which they can deliver their goods . If logistics service providers arrive too late at the loading ramp , their booked time slot often expires.

Time slots also play a major role in projects , because most of the time each sub-project is dependent on other completed sub-projects. By defining the time window, a forecast can only be made for the completion of a project. In the case of time windows, a time buffer is therefore always included (the period that is actually necessary plus the period that acts as a safety reserve). If a time window is exceeded, there may be delays in the follow-up. In certain areas, for example in technology, a system crash , an accident or the occurrence of chaos reactions in the sense of chaos theory is also possible.

During take-off and landing , flight captains have to adhere to certain time windows, otherwise they will end up in slots during take-off or waiting patterns during landing. Since the capacity of some airports is exhausted due to high demand, the airlines are given tight time windows during which they can use the airport to take off or land an aircraft. For energetic reasons (limited power of the launcher), space probes can only be launched for their mission within a certain period of time, the launch window .

The time corridor for seasonal work is the harvest time , which is dependent on the weather . If the existing time corridor fails through miscalculation, it can lead to crop failure come. In 2001 Horst Albach described the time window that the Treuhandanstalt had to save ailing GDR companies from liquidation .

Free time window

In private life, favorable weather conditions can create the time window for sporting activities ( winter sports ), enable the crossing of a dangerous area on an expedition or allow gardening in spring . In sport , for example, in circuit races in Formula 1, the undercut offers the opportunity to get past an opponent without having to overtake him on the track by making an early pit stop while observing a time corridor . On the way to work , commuters have a specific time window to avoid rush hour and thus the traffic jam . The fertile days within a woman's cycle are a window of time through which to conceive.

time pressure

The event in which the buffer time becomes marginal is called a time-critical event . This creates so-called time pressure . Efforts to complete this critical path must therefore be accelerated. Time pressure ( time pressure ) is understood as the impression that the given window of time to complete tasks, evaluate information or make decisions is limited. Time pressure also arises when an increased density of tasks, events, appointments or ending time windows occurs within a period and leads to decision-making pressure in which not all possible alternative courses of action can be examined. This requires an increased need for synchronization. Time pressure refers to the pace of work (or time window) in which employees should complete certain work tasks and work volumes with a certain quality of work. Workflows or work processes are often limited by standard times , so that employees are under time pressure when completing the task if they want to meet the standard times.

Many purchase decisions by consumers are made suboptimally under time pressure, such as the famous purchase of Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve .

The consequences of constant time pressure can be increasing work suffering , stress , errors that occur or become more frequent, or absenteeism .

Time slot management

In companies, time slot management ensures optimal time management. The core is the synchronization as the coordination of different tasks or events. The company 's goal is, in particular, the avoidance of a debtor's default , default of payment or other delays .

economic aspects

A shortening of the time window or cycle times leads to a reduction in costs in companies by increasing labor productivity and vice versa. This can be done by increasing work performance in an existing time window with the help of optimized work design . For the employees working on the assembly line, the installation of buffer zones means the opportunity to vary the individual work rhythm within a certain time window, for example in the form of a corresponding work break, and to adjust it in the work curve.

If a time window closes, tasks can no longer be completed, opportunities or possibilities can no longer be taken, risks can no longer be eliminated. If deadlines or deadlines are exceeded, there is a risk of legal consequences ( default of debtor , breach of contract , contractual penalty ).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: time window  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Bastian Sick, The dative is his death for the genitive: Even more news from the maze of the German language , volume 3, volume 3, 2006, p. 114
  2. ^ Derek F Abell, Strategic Windows in: Journal of Marketing (7), 1978, p. 21
  3. Eric Heinz Lenneberg, Biological Basics of Language , 1972, p. 106 f.
  4. ^ Society for German Language (ed.), Der Sprachdienst , Volume 48, Issues 2-6, 2004, p. 107
  5. ^ Gerhard A. Ritter, Der Preis der Deutschen Einheit , 2007, p. 64
  6. Markus J. Heibler, Corporate and Working Structures of Automotive Groups in Transition , 2010, p. 394 f.
  7. Armin Töpfer, Betriebswirtschaftslehre: Application and process-oriented basics , 2005, p. 897
  8. Christoph Tripp, Distribution and Retail Logistics , 2019, p. 153
  9. Axel Schulz / Susanne Baumann / Simone Wiedenmann, Flughafen-Management , 2010, p. 128
  10. Horst Albach (Ed.) / Christiana Weber, ZfB supplement 1/2001: Personalmanagement , 2001, p. 131 ff.
  11. ^ Rajneesh Suri / Kent B Monroe, The Effects of Time Constraints on Consumer's Judgment of Prices and Products , in: Journal of Consumer Research 30 (1), 2003, p. 92
  12. Ole R Holsti, Limitations of cognitive abilities in the face of crisis , in: Carolyne F Smart / WT Stanbury (eds.), Studies on Crisis Management, 1978, p. 41
  13. Dieter Zapf, Stress-oriented analysis of computerized office work , in: The European Work and Organizational Psychologist 3 (2), 1993, pp. 85 ff.
  14. ^ Graeme A. Haynes, Testing the Boundaries of he Choice Overload Phenomenon , in: Psychology and Marketing 26 (3), 2009, p. 206
  15. Markus J. Heibler, Corporate and Working Structures of Automotive Groups in Transition , 2010, p. 288
  16. Markus J. Heibler, Corporate and Working Structures of Automotive Groups in Transition , 2010, p. 308