6 Things I Learnt About German Efficiency in Germany

As some of you may remember, I spent a week or so visiting Germany this January. During my visit, I spent a few days staying with my friend Chris in Tübingen (who I met at a hostel in Surfers Paradise, Australia – it’s funny how travel works).

During my stay, I noticed some very distinctive ‘German’ ways of doing things that I’ve decided share with you in today’s blog post.


Prepped to make chicken schnitzels 


First of all, I’d like to point out that Germany has an extremely strong economy, by far the strongest in Europe with a GDP of $3.76 trillion in 2017. To put this in perspective, France’s GDP in 2017 was almost $1 trillion less at $2.81 trillion (ref).

German’s also work an average of 35 hours a week and go on vacation for 5 weeks each year (ref). In comparison, Australia gets 4 weeks of annual leave and the United States gets only 2 weeks 🙁  

So the German’s are obviously doing something right?

I’ve prepared a list of six key pieces of advice for being efficient, just like the German’s.


1. Don’t sit and eat breakfast (sorry mum, I know that’s not great for your digestion).

My good old friend Chris suggests getting something like a pretzel 🥨 and eating it on the way to where you’re going. He also showed me how walk and eat lunch… Chinese fried rice to be exact. He explained that we only had limited time to explore his hometown so we needed to make good use of our time.


2. Always be on time (or at least 2 minutes early).

Everything is always on time in Germany from public transport to business meetings. Germans tend to carefully plan out their time to be sure they end up in the right place at the right time. It’s important to be early so that you don’t keep others waiting, hence wasting their precious time.


3. Plan in advance. 

I’ll never forget walking into Chris’ place and seeing a whiteboard with a section divided up into the three days I was there. Each day had a list of suggested activities to make sure we made the most of my time there.


Chris’ Daily Plans


4. Be organised. 

Similar to point 3, Germans tend to value making sure they have things organised. While visiting Chris, I noticed that he would carefully plan out his day before leaving the house. When we left the house one morning, unbeknownst to me, Chris had packed his backpack for a morning wandering around town, a gym session then his uni class, so that he wouldn’t have to come back home. I don’t know about you but I know plenty of people who don’t think that far in advance.


5. Conserve energy wherever possible. 

It definitely seemed as though German’s place an emphasis on being energy efficient by doing things such as always closing doors and putting lights on timers. As Chris pointed out to me, this also saves a lot of money which is particularly important to people in the south.


6. Keep systems logical.

I often noticed that the Germans would keep things organised and logical for example, the bus schedule to catch a ride from his place to town was consistent and the bus would come at 13 & 43 past the hour. I also noticed that all stops were clearly labelled, making it much easier to get around.


The bus schedule


Bonus observation:

Chris also pointed out that German’s create routines which helps them to be more efficient. In saying this, he did recognise the downside that they often don’t like to try new things.

So let me know what you think in the comments below. Have you noticed any of these things about Germany? What are your tips for being efficient?

Thanks for visiting the aLarkin Abroad Travel Blog. Feel free to stick around and read previous blog posts while you’re here.

Happy travels



aLarkin Abroad

P.S. This blog post was efficiently approved by the German Chris himself 🙂

Tübingen, Germany

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