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Time Management Activities

Looking for Time Management activities for employees, college students, or high school students? Try one of these, that I’ve collected from a variety of LinkedIN discussions. If you want additional time management resources, Trainers Warehouse has curated tools from the US, UK, and beyond! Try the Time Trial activity to practice daily planning, prioritization, and utilization of resources. The Emergency Delivery Game is a two-stage business-based decision-making challenge that requires individuals to process information and develop a workable team strategy in a limited timeframe.

  1. The Mayo Jar
  2. $86,400
  3. Ribbon Life
  4. Time Management Icebreaker – Lists & Priorities
  5. Blind Polygon
  6. “Big Picture” Puzzle Challenge
  7. How long is a Minute
  8. Time Squared
  9. Ace of Spades
  10. The Money Value of Time
  11. What I did Yesterday . . .
  12. Paper Boat
  13. Circadian Rhythm
  14. Colored Blocks – great for prioritizing
  15. Hungry Chick Inn
  16. 60-Seconds Game

1. The Mayo Jar

The Mayo Jar - Time Management Tale

The Mayo Jar – A Time Management Parable  $39.95 BUY NOW

Divide the group into teams and give them each a large glass container. The Mayo Jar is to be filled with as much material as possible. The material can be rocks, stones, gravel, sand, etc. (But you can use anything.) The larger materials should be placed in the container first and then followed by the next to the largest, and so on… In this order, you should be able to fit the most into the container.

You can come to your own conclusion for the activity based on your need. The rocks (due to size) would be the most important items to complete. (Can be home activities…work/life balance.) Then stones would be every day has to finish items. Gravel can be the project(s) that need to be completed. Sand could be the extra work that was just assigned to you.

I allow the groups to fill their own container without detailed instructions. I tell them to fill their containers with as many materials as they can. And then we talk about the order they selected. If they had an order…and what the materials represent to them…etc. I use this communication to lead into training. Mayo Jar materials can be found here.  Posted online by Darlene Bailey

For a video that exemplifies these time management activities, click here or here.

2. $86,400 * Time Management Activities

Tell participants they have $86,400.00 to spend any way they wish. The only restrictions are that they cannot bank any money and if they do not use any of the money they lose it. We then discuss why and how they spent the money the way they did. I then tell them that 86,400 is the number of seconds we have each day and that as often as possible they should consider spending their time on things that are important to them as they did with their money.

NOTE: This is good for all ages, whether you’re looking for time management activities for high school students, college students, or employees.

Posted online by Joseph Argenio

3. Ribbon of Life

Take a colored ribbon length of approximately 1 meter/100 cm. and scissors.
Start with the following questions:

  1. If the life span of an individual is say, 100 years. Consider that each cm represents one year. The response will be that few live that long.  Assuming a life of 75 to 90 years, cut 10 to 25 cm off the ribbon, accordingly.
  2. What is the average age of the participants sitting here, the response would be 25 to 30 depending on the group, in that case, cut another 25 cms of the ribbon and say that is gone you cannot do anything.
  3. What is left is 50 years? People will say, “Yes,” but the answer is NO.
  4. Every year we have 52 weeks, that is 52 Sundays. If we multiply that by 50 years, it comes to 7.14 years. Reduce the ribbon by another 7.14 cm.
  5. We also usually have Saturdays off, so reduce another 7. cms.
  6. Public/National holidays are 10 multiple with 50 years. That comes to another 1.5 years. Reduce ribbon by another 1.5 cms.
  7. Your casual leave, sick leave, and annual holidays approx. 40 days a year, multiplied by 50.  Cut off another 5 cms. Now you are left with about  29.5 years.  But, the calculation is not over yet.
  8. You sleep an average of 8 hours daily; multiply that by 365 days and again by 50 years  ( i.e. 122 days X 50 = almost 17 years). Cut off another 17 cm.
  9. You spend time eating lunch, breakfast, snacks, and dinner total 2 hours daily (i.e. 30 days a year X 50 years= 4 years or so). Cut off another 4 cm.
  10. Last, let’s figure we spend about 1 hour a day traveling from place to place for activities and such.  (that’s about 2 more years). We’re down to 6 (SIX ) years of life to make it or break it.

ALL THE BEST TO MAKE BEST USE OF THAT (SIX) YEARS.

Posted online by Joseph Antony

4. Time Management Icebreaker Activity – Lists & Priorities

Explanation

Divide participants into teams of five to eight. Unveil the numbered list of tasks. Explain that they have ten minutes to collect as many points as possible. They must be safe and they only have ten minutes!

Activity

Give participants ten minutes to perform their tasks, and enjoy the show! After ten minutes, add up their points using your pre-designed matrix and announce the winner. Keep the list of tasks; you may want to tape it to the wall.

Debrief

After the activity, discuss learning points. Possible discussion topics include:

  • How did teams decide what tasks they wanted to do? Most groups will analyze the time the task will take and/or the difficulty level, compare it with the value (possible number of points), and prioritize as a result. We do this when managing our time, too: we often choose the high-yield, low-effort tasks over the low-yield, high-effort tasks (and rightly so!).
  • Are any decisions based on task dependencies? For the name card task, for example, teams received bonus points if they used team nicknames. Performing these two tasks together would triple the points received. This often happens in life, too – batching tasks increases your results exponentially.
  • What group dynamics came into play? If participants knew each other before, they may feel more comfortable performing a personally risky activity, like singing a song. This comes into play when prioritizing tasks, too; we’re more likely to stay within our comfort zone, especially if we’re working in a team.

Preparation

Write out the following list on a piece of flip chart paper. Ensure that it stays covered until the end of the activity explanation.

  1. Do a lap around the room (5 points)
  2. Create something for the instructor to wear, such as a hat or tie (10 points; bonus 5 points if the instructor actually wears it)
  3. Find out something unique about each person on the team (5 points)
  4. Sing a song together (15 points)
  5. Make a paper airplane and throw it from one end of the room to another (10 points)
  6. Get everyone in the room to sign a single piece of paper (5 points)
  7. Count the number of pets owned by your group (20 points)
  8. Assign a nickname to each member of the team (5 points)
  9. Create name cards for each team member (5 points; bonus 5 points if you use your team nicknames)
  10. Make a tower out of the materials owned by your group (10 points)
  11. Convince a member of another team to join you (20 points)
  12. Name your team and come up with a slogan (5 points for the name, 5 points for the slogan)
  13. Re-create the sounds of the Amazon rainforest with the sounds of your voices (10 points)
  14. Make a list of what your team wants out of the workshop (15 points)
  15. Form a conga line and conga from one end of the room to another (5 points; bonus 10 points if anyone joins you)

You can customize this list as you wish; just make sure there is a point value (which is completely up to you) assigned to each item.

This Time Management Activity was Posted online by Rasha Alshafie

5. Blind Polygon

Set up:  Depending on your group size you may have to divide your group into teams of 9 -15 players.  Blindfold each person. (NOTE: If you have more people than blindfolds then require them to close their eyes. Let them know that trust and integrity are key to a successful outcome.)

The Challenge:  Place a length of rope in the center of the circle. Explain that their task is to form the rope into a shape of your choosing–a square, a “Z,” or a pentagon. Everyone must be in contact with the rope at all times and they must use the entire rope. No tangles or knots are allowed. When the group feels they have made whatever shape you specified they can set it on the ground and take their blindfolds off.

Debrief: During the event, you will see all sorts of personality styles, leadership styles, communication styles, and definite pecking order. Regarding Time Management, the group’s process is often very hectic. You can discuss team time management or use the experience as a metaphor for personal time management, asking “what is the most efficient way to accomplish a task?” The group will find that when they are deprived of sight, their normal ways of accomplishing a task are thrown into confusion. As part of your debrief talk about what process they would use if they were to do the exercise again. This is also a great processing tool for management training because I can assure what happens when they are blindfolded will not be what happens at the office.

This  time management activity for high school students, college students, or employees was posted online by Larry Riggs

6. “Big Picture” Puzzle Challenge

The Challenge:  Divide your group into teams. Give each team a puzzle with a similar level of difficulty. Don’t give them the “Big Picture” of what it will look like when completed.

Push them to complete the puzzle as quickly as possible. Interrupt the process after about 3 minutes and ask, “What’s missing? What’s making this difficult?” Likely they will identify the absence of the completed “Big Picture” to use as a guide. After you give them the big picture, ask them to complete the puzzle. They will do this much faster now.

Debrief: Explain that having the perspective and clarity of the Big Pic helps one to plan weekly and day-to-day activities much more effectively. If NO Big Picture is available, then time is spent on urgencies, likes, and what others want one to do.

This Time Management Activity was posted online by Ajit Kamath

7. How long is a minute?

At the beginning of session, I ask people to close their eyes for 30 seconds and after that to open it. Nobody can watch the clock and I don’t measure the time. All I ask of participants is to open their eyes after what they believe has been 30 seconds.

Of course, they all open them at different times. Afterward, we talk about our understanding of time. Even though everyone has an equal (24 hours a day or 30 seconds for exercise), in fact, we experience it and use it in different ways. Some of us experienced it as a short period, others as a long time. This always works as a good opener.  Posted by Darko Todorovic

Another more physical variation of this time management activity was posted by Prasad Narayan Susarla. He wrote:  Cover all the clocks in the room, then ask participants to remove their wristwatches and stand up. Instruct them to sit down when they think 1 minute has elapsed after you shout “Start” to begin the countdown. You will be surprised by the results. Just enjoy the fun that follows this activity. To make it more interesting I run this same activity a second time wherein I change the time to 2 minutes.

8. Time Squared

I give the participants 3 pages with 24 squares (representing 24 hours of a day) printed on them at various phases of the program. For the more finicky participants, I have a sheet that further divides the Hour Square into 4 Quarters.

  1. Hand the 1st page to them immediately after setting the context. Ask them to fill the squares (based on the time they spend) and label them with routine activities of their regular day like sleeping (6 hours = 6 squares), bathing, eating, travel, TV time, etc.
  2. Hand the 2nd page out after you’ve discussed “Time Wasters.” This time, ask them to fill the squares showing non-productive time at their workplace like tea breaks, water cooler chats, personal telephone calls, emails, etc.
  3. Late in the day, distribute the 3rd page. Ask them to collate the data from “Page 1” and “Page 2” on the 3rd Page. The empty squares represent their productive time. Using the 3rd page the participants are asked to identify activities from which they can mine time to increase their productive time.

Learning outcome: Identify time wasters and time spent on routine activities. Where to mine for time. Time Management Activities posted online by Prasad Narayan Susarla

9. Ace of Spades

This exercise requires two volunteers and two decks of playing cards. I give one deck of cards to each volunteer and then have them race to find the Ace of Spades. What they don’t know is that one deck is in order ace to king, in the correct suits, and all facing the same direction. The other deck is all mixed up and some cards are facing forwards and some backward, making it a lot harder to find the Ace of Spades. They have fun racing, but usually, the person with the mixed deck gets frustrated or complains that it’s not fair. It’s fun and a good way to relate good organization skills to time management. “Suited” for all ages; Time management activities for high school students, college students, or employees posted online by Clay Pennington

10. The Money Value of Time

If you only have one hour – and especially for a business audience – focus on creating a new conceptual mindset called the “money value of time.”  Have participants break down their activities into cost and profit centers, and then focus on investing their time in those activities that yield the highest value for them personally and for the firm. Posted online by Tim Phillips

11. What I did Yesterday . . .

Ask the delegates to jot down 10 things they did at work yesterday ( no order, no prompts, no comments). Next, on a separate sheet of paper, ask them to jot down the 5 topics that they expect to discuss at their next appraisal or performance review. Have them look at the two lists together and mark in some way on the first list all the things which have a direct link to the second list. (Delegates may try to make indirect links to justify why they did certain things!)

The lightbulb moment is the recognition that we spend time on things that have little or no consequence on our performance. I usually ask them to plot the list of 10 things on an “Importance/Urgency” grid. They need to concentrate on the “important & urgent/non-urgent(therefore, planned) activities.  I like this activity as it clearly links performance with activity. Time management activity posted online by Murali Iyer

12. Paper Boat

Activity Set-up

All you need for this one is some newspaper. Divide your group into teams of 4 to 5 members each. Ask them to select/elect a Team Leader.

Then take all the team leaders out of the training hall and teach them to build a paper boat.   To make sure they understood, have each person build their own boat with the small square piece of paper you give them. Before you dismiss your leaders, share these instructions:

  • I am giving you 4 sheets of paper (the sheets you give them should be rectangular in shape).
  • Your job is to build 40 boats all of the “Same Size” & “All must stand or should not sink flat when the activity is over.”
  • Quality (shape, finishing, appearance) and Quantity (40 boats)  are both important.
  • Time frame: 15 minutes maximum from the moment you go to your team.

Now let them complete the task; give them 15 minutes.

Paper Boat Debrief

  1. Did the Team Leader clarify the goal to the team members?
  2. Were the roles clarified so that everyone on the team would know who will do what?
  3. Did the team members get overwhelmed by the activity or understood what is important?
  4. What was the focus on – Important or completion?
  5. What style of leadership did the team leader play?
  6. Did the team members ask for clarification about their role or goal?
  7. Was there any planning for the use of the newspaper, people, and the time available?
  8. How can they relate “boat making” to “doing work” in the organization?

Time Management Activity Posted online by Bharat Thanggaraaj

13. Circadian Rhythm

Ask each participant to plot their day from waking up to going to sleep in hourly blocks and ask them to identify if they are naturally:
  • ‘on fire’
  • ‘vibrant’
  • ‘cruise control’
  • ‘at 70%’
  • ‘distracted’
  • ‘slowing down’
  • ‘tired’
  • ‘hungry’

The key is to get them to not think about their workload but their natural energy levels so try and focus them to think about a typical day off. Ask them to link this to workplace time management…when you are ‘on fire’ you should be tackling the big important tasks as you are more likely to get it done, and when you are lethargic you should do the mundane filing, etc.  If you have participants post their rhythm on a wall, it can be eye-opening for individuals and for teammates to know more about their colleagues.

Time management activities for high school students, college students, or employees – posted online by Richard Armitage

14. Colored Blocks – great for prioritizing

Take blocks of different colours, put them on a table, and explain the task:  each individual must pick up as many blocks as they can in the allocated time frame, with these ground rules:

  1. They must pick up with their non-dominant hand
  2. They may only pick up one block at a time.

PHASE 1: Give them 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.  When time is up, record their name and the number of blocks collected on a flip chart.  Celebrate the winner, then spread out the blocks again for Phase 2.

PHASE 2: Before starting the second phase, arbitrarily assign values to the block colors (i.e. yellow block 1 point, red 2 points, etc.).  Repeat the exercise. Now they must reflect the number of blocks as well as the number of points. Debrief can then focus on the need to prioritize.  Time Management Activity posted online by Kevin Smith

15. Hungry Chick Inn

In this in-depth exercise, available from the Trainers’ Library (www.glasstap.com), teams are given the challenge to re-open an inn to receive guests in 13-days time, with a huge number of tasks and a limited budget.  Success requires planning, organization, time management, teamwork, and project management.  Allow 90 minutes, plus debriefing.  Posted online by Rod Webb

16. 60-Seconds Game

We all know a minute is the same as 60 seconds, but the passing of time may feel quite different to each of us. A minute might also feel different if you’re holding a plank position or luxuriating in the shower. To create greater awareness of individual’s different perceptions of time, try this: Ask your participants to close their eyes. After you say “go,” have them stand when they think 60 seconds have elapsed. Invite them to open their eyes after they stand up.

READ MORE on Time Management Activities…

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39 thoughts on “Time Management Activities”

  1. Dawn Zimmermann says:

    Awesome site, thanks very much.

  2. Pam says:

    this is great…really helpful..!!
    thanks everybody who posted the articles

  3. Allan says:

    Excellent site for ideas on activities!!!!

  4. Roslyn says:

    These are fantastic thank you!

  5. Ranjeer Singh says:

    Wonderful sharing. I was in search of some activities. This site is going to help me a lot.

    Thanks a lot once again.

  6. Rod says:

    I was searching for ice breakers for my upcoming training and stumbled into your site. Awesome ideas, thank you!

  7. Dr.S.Rastogi says:

    Interesting activities!! Nice site.

  8. Kirsty Knowles says:

    Thank you to all who provided ideas, found it really useful!

  9. Sumayya says:

    A FANTASTIC resource! These are such great activities, can’t wait to implement them.

  10. Honsberg says:

    Do you feel like you have enough time to do all the things you have to do and want to do? How do you think you could manage your time better?

  11. Muzammil Punjwani says:

    Awsumn Activities.. Thanks you very much.. Its very fruitful

  12. Vivian Pham says:

    To know about this page makes me so amazed and happy. I found so many interesting, fun and helpful activities for my job as a trainer. Really appreciate your kind sharing. Wish you all the best!

  13. Manisha Shaikh says:

    excellent games. Thank you very much

  14. Punam says:

    Fantastic activities! Thank you soo much for sharing!

  15. Anurag Mehta says:

    These activities will add so much value to my training content and help people learn important values in life. Thank you for being so generous to share these

  16. NODIRA says:

    Liked these activities. Im going to implement them in my classes about “time”

  17. Sasha says:

    These are awesome ideas for my training tomorrow. I plan to use several of them.

  18. Eldiiar says:

    I read all these activites, I liked them good JOB. Thanks a LOT for everyone sharing your fantastic resources,great ideas, these are realy realy realy useful for our facilitations. Wish you all the BEST.

  19. Teresa Lyn Tande says:

    These are awesome activities with real application behind them. Thank you for sharing; I can hardly wait to try them out with my University Life students.

  20. rathi says:

    Awesome time management techniques and activities, thanks for sharing

  21. Mani says:

    Very appreciated! Thank you for sharing

  22. Hassan says:

    Great activities and games to better learn and teach about Time Management skills.Thnx for sharing

  23. Shayur Maharaj says:

    What a creative list, i think any option that can be used to create synergy is worth attempting and this in particular is very insightful.

  24. Dr. S Nair says:

    The best and the most generous site on training ideas I have come across…Thanks a lot..

  25. Bethanie Burger says:

    Do you have this in kindle format?

    1. Susan Landay says:

      I’m sorry we don’t. ~ Sue

  26. Donna Willingham says:

    Thank you so much for these ideas! I am using them in a college success class when we study time management.

  27. Learoy Campbell says:

    Great ideas

  28. Gary adams says:

    This was great and I love I got to know more about how important time management is.

  29. Carlos says:

    Good morning, everyone! Let’s make it a good day for all. Each of you has been assigned a challenge, which requires an imaginary amount of money.
    Now, picture yourself having been given $86,400 at once. However, the catch lies in that you should be able to exhaust all the money that day and would not have a penny saved. Every penny of that money will be deducted for not spending. What would you do with these shillings? Just pause for a while and consider it, you may also write some notes for this purpose.
    Now, here’s the twist: The $86,400.00 is merely reflecting how many seconds do we have in day – day having 24 hours, in every hour there are 60 minutes, and each minute has 60 second. Like the “money” exercise, every second wasted is a wasted second.
    Treat your time as you treated your money – spend it on things that matter most to you as much as possible. Time is our most priceless commodity, never to be retrieved. Therefore, let us live every minute.
    For what it’s worth, please feel free to add your input on this realization and how you intend to take advantage of whatever time remains. Recall, similarly, it should be focused on your most valued objectives as with the money challenge.
    We thank you for joining us, and let’s use every one of our 86,400 seconds.

  30. Damon Shaw says:

    This list is creative and very informational on the different ways to do it.

  31. Carmine Vendrone says:

    Exercise Solution:

    Imagine you have $86,400.00 to spend each day, and the catch is that you cannot save any money. The objective is to correlate this exercise with time management. The amount $86,400 represents the number of seconds we have in a day (24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds).

    Allocate Time to Priorities:

    Just as you would allocate your money to cover essential expenses, allocate your time to activities that are crucial to your well-being and goals. Prioritize tasks and allocate time to activities that align with your values and long-term objectives.
    Reflect on Time Spent:

    After a day, reflect on how you spent your time, similar to reflecting on how you spent your money in the exercise. Did you invest time in activities that bring you joy, enhance your skills, or contribute to your personal or professional development?
    Eliminate Time Wasters:

    Just as you would eliminate unnecessary expenses in a budget, identify and minimize time-wasting activities. This may involve reducing time spent on social media, unproductive meetings, or other activities that do not contribute significantly to your goals.
    Invest in Personal Development:

    Consider allocating time to activities that contribute to your personal development, much like investing money in education or skill-building. This could include reading, learning, or engaging in activities that enhance your knowledge and abilities.
    Spend Quality Time with Others:

    Allocate time to spend with loved ones, similar to how you might spend money on experiences or gifts for family and friends. Quality time strengthens relationships and contributes to your overall well-being.
    Balance Work and Leisure:

    Strive for a balance between work and leisure, just as you would balance financial responsibilities with personal enjoyment. Avoid overworking and ensure you allocate time for relaxation, hobbies, and self-care.
    Remember, the objective is to draw parallels between managing money and managing time. Both are valuable resources that, when used wisely, contribute to personal and professional success.

  32. nazir perez says:

    that time management is important once its gone you can never get it back and that is important to focus on the present and not one the past nor future

  33. Brogan says:

    In today’s society, time is money. Therefore, I would prioritize the need to create memorable relationships and experiences over money, as every second we spend now can be turned into money in the future.

  34. Andrea Oropeza says:

    Very appreciated! Thank you for sharing

  35. Tyanna says:

    **Exercise: $86,400**

    Good morning, everyone! Let’s make it a good day for all. Each of you has been assigned a challenge, which requires an imaginary amount of money.

    Now, imagine yourself having been given $86,400 at once. However, the catch lies in that you should be able to exhaust all the money that day and would not have a penny saved. Every penny of that money will be deducted for not spending. What would you do with these “shillings”? Just pause for a moment and consider it; you may also make some notes for this purpose.

    Now, here’s the twist: The $86,400.00 is merely reflecting how many seconds we have in a day – a day having 24 hours, in every hour there are 60 minutes, and each minute has 60 seconds. Like the “money” exercise, every second wasted is a wasted second.

    Treat your time as you treated your money – spend it on things that matter most to you as much as possible. Time is our most priceless commodity, never to be retrieved. Therefore, let’s live every minute.

    For what it’s worth, please feel free to add your input on this realization and how you intend to take advantage of whatever time remains. Recall, similarly, it should be focused on your most valued objectives as with the money challenge.

    We thank you for joining us, and let’s use every one of our 86,400 seconds.

    **Exercise Solution:**

    1. **Allocate Time to Priorities:**
    Just as you would allocate your money to cover essential expenses, allocate your time to activities that are crucial to your well-being and goals. Prioritize tasks and allocate time to activities that align with your values and long-term objectives.

    2. **Reflect on Time Spent:**
    After a day, reflect on how you spent your time, similar to reflecting on how you spent your money in the exercise. Did you invest time in activities that bring you joy, enhance your skills, or contribute to your personal or professional development?

    3. **Eliminate Time Wasters:**
    Just as you would eliminate unnecessary expenses in a budget, identify and minimize time-wasting activities. This may involve reducing time spent on social media, unproductive meetings, or other activities that do not contribute significantly to your goals.

    4. **Invest in Personal Development:**
    Consider allocating time to activities that contribute to your personal development, much like investing money in education or skill-building. This could include reading, learning, or engaging in activities that enhance your knowledge and abilities.

    5. **Spend Quality Time with Others:**
    Allocate time to spend with loved ones, similar to how you might spend money on experiences or gifts for family and friends. Quality time strengthens relationships and contributes to your overall well-being.

    6. **Balance Work and Leisure:**
    Strive for a balance between work and leisure, just as you would balance financial responsibilities with personal enjoyment. Avoid overworking and ensure you allocate time for relaxation, hobbies, and self-care.

    Remember, the objective is to draw parallels between managing money and managing time. Both are valuable resources that, when used wisely, contribute to personal and professional success.

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