Types And Examples Of Time Management Activities

Updated May 09, 2019

Reviewer Sonya Bruner

Time management refers to using time effectively and productively. A synonym for efficiency, good time management makes it possible for you to make the most out of every minute. Several different types of time management activities have been used to help people build the skills that lead to greater efficiency. Here are some of these types, along with examples of each.

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Icebreaker Time Management Activities

Icebreaker activities are useful when you're beginning a longer group meeting or when you're first forming a team. They're usually quick activities. They generally require people to work together, so they're great when you want people to get acquainted faster.

1. Tiny Tasks

In this icebreaker time management activity, you start by making up a list of small activities for the participants to do. The list can include 15-20 items like: running around the room, making something for the leader, finding out 5 things about each other, and more. Beside each item, give a point value for completing that item.

Divide the large group into smaller groups and give each group a copy of the list. Tell them their job is to make as many points as possible within 10 minutes. Start the timer and let the fun begin. Afterwards, talk about how the group made decisions, how multiple tasks could be performed together, and how the individuals functioned as a group.

2. Time Perception Task

Ask the participants to close their eyes. Then, instruct them to open their eyes after what they believe is 30 seconds. Afterwards, tell them to notice that not everyone opened their eyes at the same time. Explain that time perception isn't uniform for all people in all situations.

3. Finding Something In Common

Each person needs a pencil and paper for this activity. The idea is for each person to talk to as many people as possible and write down one thing they have in common with that person. The person with the most people on their list wins a prize. Explain that efficient communication increases productivity.

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Life Lessons

Time management activities can be used to teach lessons about the value of time. They can show how good time management helps you set priorities and improve your life. Life lessons activities may be demonstrations or individual or group activities.

1. Mayo Jar

The mayo jar activity is often used as a demonstration, but it can be used as a participatory activity instead. Get a large jar, rocks, gravel, and sand. Ask the participants to fill up the jar with as much of the material as possible. When they're finished, ask what order they put the items into the jar.

Then, show what happens when you fill the jar in the order of large rocks, gravel, and then sand. You get more of the larger items into the jar, of course! Then, explain that when you prioritize the "big" things first, you have what's most important but still have room in your life for the smaller items.

2. Spend It Or Lose It

Spend it or lose it is a paper and pencil activity. Give the participants an imaginary $86,4000 to spend however they choose to spend it. Their job is to write down the choices they make about what to buy with the money. They can't choose to set aside money in savings, but they lose whatever they don't earmark for spending.

Tell the participants that 86,400 is the number of seconds in each day. If they don't use those 86,400 seconds doing something productive, those seconds are simply wasted.

3. Big Picture

Give each group a jigsaw puzzle, but don't let them see what the finished puzzle will look like. Tell the groups to put their puzzle together as quickly as possible. Then, stop the exercise and give them the photo of the finished puzzle. Groups typically can put the puzzle together much faster once they see what their aiming for. Afterwards, talk about how the group functioned after they saw the photo. Remind them that taking a look at the big picture first can improve their overall efficiency.

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Planning Activities

Some time management activities can help people make actual plans for how to spend their time. These activities are not only instructive, but they can also have a practical application.

1. Hour Power

Give participants a page of paper marked off in 24 numbered squares. Tell them to write the routine activities they do each day into the square for that hour. Then, give them another page marked off in 24 squares and ask them to fill the squares with just the nonproductive activities they do at work. Then, give them a third such sheet, and ask them to combine the information from the first two pages.

When they're finished, they should have some empty squares. Tell them that these empty squares represent their productive time. Finally, ask them to look for time wasters that they can eliminate to give themselves more productive time.

2. Putting A Value On Time

Have people write down what they did the day before, then have them place a money value on the things they did according to how much it was worth to them to have it done. Finally, suggest that they focus on the activities that yield the greatest rewards.

3. How Long Does It Take?

This activity is great for learning how to allot time for different tasks. Give each person a timer before you all begin a busy day. Have people clock in after each task they complete and keep track of the activity and time spent on it.

At the end of the day, talk about how certain tasks take more time than others. Also, discuss how having realistic expectations of how long something will take can be valuable in planning to make the best use of their time.

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Skills Training

Teaching time management skills is always a goal of time management activities. Certain activities are focused specifically on teaching the skills that will help people plan and work efficiently.

1. Desert Island

Divide up the group if it's large or have all the participants work together. Tell them to imagine they're taking a trip to a desert island. Their job is to write down what they need and want to take with them. Tell the group that they have two minutes to write down as many items as they can. Explain that they get points for each helpful item, but no points will be deducted for nonhelpful items.

When they finish, explain to them that they can use the same brainstorming technique to plan for tasks they need or want to do each day.

2. Paper Boat Factory

Make up teams of 5 participants each. Select a leader for each team. Take the leaders into a separate room and show them how to make a paper boat. Have them make one to be sure they understand the process. Then, tell them that you want 40 boats of the same size and appearance. They have 15 minutes to use their team to accomplish the task.

When the game is over, reward any groups that fulfilled your order with the right quality and quantity of boats. Ask the winning group leader(s) to explain how they communicated the details of the order to their group. Discuss how miscommunication by the leader can thwart the group's ability to complete the order correctly and on time.

3. Picking Up Blocks

Time management activities can teach people the skill of prioritizing. In picking up blocks, place a large set of colored blocks haphazardly on the floor or a table. Tell participants they are to pick up as many blocks as possible, but they must pick them up one at a time and with their nondominant hand. Call a start to the exercise. When a minute has passed, tell them their time is up. Add up the blocks they picked up, giving one point for each block.

Next, tell the group you're going to start the exercise again, but this time there's a point system involved. Each color of blocks will be worth a different number of points (such as 1 point for yellow, 2 points for blue, 3 points for red, etc.) At the end of a minute, reward the team or individual that got the most points. This helps them develop the skill of prioritizing quickly and efficiently.

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Why Time Management Is Important In Your Everyday Life

Time management activities are commonly used in businesses or other organizations. Yet, learning time management skills can help you improve your everyday life, too. If you find that you are wasting a lot of time and not accomplishing your goals, you may need to spend some time developing those skills on your own.

A therapist can help you understand the nature of time better. They can help you learn how to set priorities so that you can work more efficiently towards improving your life. If you feel you're wasting your life and unable to do anything to reach your goals, you may feel powerless or even depressed. If that happens, talking to a therapist can help you get your life back on track to build the future you want.

You may speak with a licensed counselor at BetterHelp.com for convenient online therapy that suits your needs and your schedule. When you learn how to make the most of every minute of your life, you can enjoy yourself more and do the things that have the most meaning for you.


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