Last updated July 1, 2024

Time management activities are very useful tools to engage and motivate participants during a time management training session.

Free time management training activities

We have listed below 12 fun activities that you, as a trainer, can use during your time management training sessions.

Free Time Management Training Activities for Adults

1. How Long Is One Minute?

This is one of the simplest time management training activities, yet a very effective one. It is particularly good for starting a training session and getting participants thinking about time.

What You Will Need

For this activity, you will just need a timekeeping device, so you know when one minute has passed.

Instructions

  1. Ask participants to stand up and close their eyes.
  2. Then ask them to sit down quietly (so that the other participants cannot hear them) when they think that one minute has gone.
  3. Once everybody has sat down, you start the discussion.

What will happen is that participants will sit down at different times. So, you can point out to them that time depends heavily on perception.

By asking participants when time goes faster for them and when, instead, time never seems to pass, you can introduce to them the idea that passion, time, and productivity are connected.

2. The Jigsaw Puzzle

Team building puzzle challenge

The jigsaw puzzle is one of those time management training activities that help participants understand the importance of knowing what they want, before they decide how to spend their time.

What the Trainer Will Need

As a trainer, this time management activity is simple to organize but you will need to find a few jigsaw puzzles, all with the same level of difficulty.

Instructions for the Jigsaw Puzzle Time Management Training Activity

  1. Divide your participants into groups of 3 to 5 people per group.
  2. Give each group a puzzle but NOT the image with the big picture, so that they cannot see what the image looks like when the puzzle is finished.
  3. After about three minutes, stop the process and ask: ‘What is missing?’ ‘What is making solving the puzzle difficult?’ It is likely they will say that it is because they cannot see the big picture that they are working towards.
  4. Now, give them the big pictures and they should complete the puzzles much faster.

The point of this time management training game is that it is very hard to work efficiently and in a timely manner, without knowing the ultimate goal we are aiming towards.

3. Coloured Items – Time Management Training Activity

The color game activity that you can use in Time management workshops.
The color game activity

The aim of this time management game is to discuss the importance of organization and prioritization for time management.

What You Will Need for This Activity

For this time management training activity, you will need a set of items of different colors.

The items can be colored blocks, crayons of different colors, playing cards, sweets wrapped in different colors, etc. As long as you have a certain number of items in each color.

Activity Instructions

  1. Divide participants into groups.
  2. Provide each group with a set of items of different colors. So, give each group, for example, 6 green items, 6 blue, 6 red, and 6 yellow.
  3. Ask each group to collect, in 1 minute, as many blocks as they can. Each person can only use their non-dominant hand. Each item is worth 1 point.
  4. Ask the groups to play again but, this time, assign a different point value to each color.
  5. After one minute has passed, stop the game.
  6. Add up the points and nominate the winning group.

You can start the discussion after the game, by asking groups: ‘What was your strategy for playing the game the second time around?’

The discussion should highlight that good organizational skills, planning, and coordination are essential to achieve more in the shortest amount of time.

4. Time Management Prioritisation Exercise

The priority time management game that can be a great fun activity for students

This activity is not a game, but rather it is a discussion to be done in small groups before each group explains the outcome to the rest of the class.

This exercise is one of those time management training activities that guide participants toward learning how to prioritize.

What You Will Need for This Time Management Exercise

As a trainer, you will need to bring to the session a flip chart and some colored marker pens.

Prioritization Exercise Instructions

  1. Separate participants into groups of 4 to 5 people.
  2. Give each group a sheet of A1 paper from a flipchart pad and some colored marker pens.
  3. Give them 10 minutes to make a list of tasks that are likely to come up as part of their job or at home (you may want to focus on different areas of life depending on who you are training, or let the participants choose).
  4. Ask them to prioritize these tasks based on the importance of each task.
  5. At the end of the 10 minutes, ask the groups to feedback to the rest of the class and ask them: ‘Which tasks did you consider the most important and why?’

The discussion that will follow will revolve around what important tasks are and how we know that they are important.

5. Arrange the Cards

Playing cards time management classroom activity for teachers to use

This time management training game is very useful for participants to understand the importance of planning and delegating, in order to achieve a task in the shortest amount of time.

Items You Will Need for This Training Game

As a trainer, for this time management activity, you will need as many decks of playing cards as there are groups and a stopwatch or another timekeeping device.

Arrange the Cards – Instructions

  1. Divide the class into groups of 3 to 5 people.
  2. Give each group a deck of playing cards (which you had previously shuffled, so they are not in order).
  3. Explain that each team has to lay out the cards in the specific order that you will have previously shown. (You can use a PowerPoint slide for this, with a photo of the cards, or you can have a deck of cards already set up on a table).
  4. Explain that cards must be placed in neat rows without touching each other.
  5. Tell participants that the team that completes the task in the shortest amount of time wins.
  6. Give teams 5 minutes to strategize and carry out any practice runs. Explain that teams can use any resources in the room to help them, as needed.
  7. After the first 5 minutes, start the first proper round.
  8. There will be three rounds. The idea is that each team should improve with each round. The winning team is the one that accomplishes the task in the shortest amount of time.

At the end of the game, start a discussion by asking participants: ‘What strategy did you use to complete the task?’

Strategizing, planning, and delegating should come out, from the discussion, as key elements to managing time successfully.

6. How to Overcome Time-wasters

Time-wasters are all the things that stop people from getting things done (or at least slow them down). So, it is important for you, as a trainer, to cover this topic in your time management training session.

This activity, not only introduces the idea of time-wasters, but it also gives your participants the opportunity to start thinking about how to overcome them.

What You Will Need

You will need as many envelopes as there are teams and, inside of each envelope, you will insert as many blank index cards as there are teams

Time-wasters Exercise Instructions

  1. Write a time-waster on the back of each envelope (a different time-waster on each envelope). Use common time-wasters, which can be things such as meetings, social media, unexpected visitors, etc.
  2. Divide the participants into groups of 3 to 5 people.
  3. Give each group an envelope and give them 3 minutes to write down a list of ways to overcome the time-waster written on the envelope they were given on one of the index cards (each team has to use only one of the index cards in the envelope).
  4. After three minutes are up, ask the groups to pass their envelope to the group next to them, so that envelopes rotate and each group has a different envelope every time.
  5. Continue with up to as many rounds as there are groups or as many rounds as time allows.
  6. After the last round, start the discussion.

For the discussion, you can ask each group to read out loud the items on the index cards inside the last envelope that they ended up with.

Alternatively, each group can present only the items they came up with for each time-waster.

You could also ask the participants to vote on which strategies are best for dealing with each time-waster

7. What Did You Do Yesterday?

Time management game and ativity for corporate learning

This is one of those short time management training activities, which gives participants the opportunity to reflect on how they use their time.

This task is better for participants to do individually at first and then discuss in pairs.

What You Will Need to Provide

This time management training task is very easy to organize.

You will not need to provide anything, apart from pen and paper, unless the participants have already brought their own.

Time Management Task Instructions

  1. Ask participants to work individually for this task at first.
  2. Ask each participant to jot down, on a piece of paper, 5 things they accomplished yesterday. It does not matter how big or small. It can be anything from taking the dog for a walk to closing an important sale for their company.
  3. Ask each participant to write down one wasteful thing they did. Wasteful means unproductive, something that did not contribute towards achieving their goals, did not improve the quality of their life or distracted them from more important tasks.
  4. Give participants 5 minutes to write down the 5 accomplishments and the wasteful thing.
  5. Ask participants to discuss and compare their lists with the person sitting next to them (or they can discuss in groups of three if there is an odd number of participants).

Discussing their accomplishments will make participants feel good by allowing them to focus on what they achieved with their time.

Often, we beat ourselves up thinking that we have done nothing, when in fact we do more than we give ourselves credit for!

Focusing on one wasteful task though will open the discussion toward understanding what a wasteful activity is and how to avoid time-wasters.

8. Time-Wasters Identification

Time-Wasters Identification

This is another variation of the ‘How to Overcome Time-wasters’ mentioned in exercise 6 but is run differently.

Number of People: Groups of 3 or 4 employees or participants

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Intention: To help participants identify common time-wasters in their daily routines and discuss strategies to minimize or eliminate them. This exercise promotes awareness and proactive management of time-wasting activities.

How to Run the Activity:

Start by dividing participants into small groups of 3 or 4. Next, hand each group some paper and a pen.

Next, instruct each group to brainstorm and list as many common time-wasters as they can. Give them 10 minutes for the brainstorming.

To help the participants you can provide some examples such as:

social media, unnecessary meetings, procrastination, interruptions, multitasking, lack of planning, etc.

The next stage of the activity is to do a whole class brainstorming 10-minute session by asking each small group to tell the class of the ideas they came up with.

As the training facilitator, you can list these on a whiteboard.

You can end the activity here or you can extend it further by now asking each small group to spend 10 minutes to discuss strategies to manage or eliminate each of their top 3 time-wasters.

Suggest to participants that they try to think of practical and actionable solutions.

For example:

Social Media: Specific times could be set for checking social media, or employees could turn off notifications during work hours.

Unnecessary Meetings: A strategy could be put into place whereby a checklist is used to ascertain if a meeting is really needed. If a meeting is needed, a specific time constraint could be added to the meeting plan.

10 minutes could now be used for each small group to explain one or two solutions to the class.

You can also allow for an open discussion as needed.

Items Needed:

  • Flipchart paper or large sheets of paper
  • Markers
  • Pens

This is one of those time management training games and activities that can be adapted according to the available time.

If you are running a full-day session, for example, this can be a good 45-minute activity.

9. Time-Effective Meetings Exercise

Time-Effective Meetings activity

Number of People: Put participants into teams of 4 to 6 people.

Time Needed: 30 to 45 minutes

Intention: This time management activity can help employees (and especially managers) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of meetings by identifying common pitfalls and practicing strategies for productive meetings.

How to Run the Activity: Split employees into small groups of 4 to 6 people.

Then ask them to spend 10 minutes brainstorming and to create a list of common pitfalls that make meetings unproductive. Suggest that they draw on their own experiences.

After brainstorming, each group presents their list of pitfalls to the larger group.

As the facilitator you can write down on a whiteboard any new pitfalls that each group suggests.

Follow this with a class discussion, drawing on one or two points from each small group. Allow 10 minutes for the class discussion.

As the facilitator for the activity, you can expect ideas such as the following to come up:

  1. Having a clear agenda: Distribute it in advance.
  2. Setting specific objectives: Know what you aim to achieve.
  3. Assigning roles: Facilitator, timekeeper, note-taker.
  4. Inviting only necessary participants: Keep the group lean and relevant.
  5. Managing time: Start and end on time and provide a timeline for each agenda item.
  6. Encouraging participation: Ensure everyone’s voice is heard.
  7. Staying on topic: Redirect off-topic discussions.
  8. Summarizing and assigning action items: Ensure follow-through.

If the participants did not come up with some of the points above you can mention these as additional steps that they could take.

Items Needed:

  • Large sheets of paper (if doing the activity in a classroom)
  • Pens and board marker

10. Procrastination Identifier

Procrastination Identifier

Number of People: Ask participants to form small groups of 2 to 4 people each.

Time Needed: 25 minutes

Intention: This is one of the best time management training activities for identifying the causes of procrastination and ways to create strategies to overcome it.

How to Run the Activity:

In their small groups, participants need to discuss and share their personal experiences with procrastination and the reasons behind it. Allow 10 minutes for this stage.

If participants struggle to come up with ideas, you can explain that some common reasons for procrastination include fear of failure, task aversion, and a lack of motivation.

Each group should make a list of reasons they procrastinate and a solution for each.

Solutions might include breaking tasks into smaller steps, using rewards, or setting deadlines.

After the 10 minutes is up, have a class discussion where each group gives 1 reason and solution, which you can write on a whiteboard as a bullet point list.

Items Needed: Flipchart paper, markers, pens.

11. Stress and Time Management

Time stress exercise and activity

Number of People: Have participants work in pairs.

Time Needed: 20 minutes.

Intention: This Time Management activity can also be used in stress management training materials, as it combines discussion around stress and time management.

How to Run the Activity:

After you have paired up participants (i.e., employees or managers), have each pair write a list of the main sources of stress that they feel are related to time management.

Also have each pair discuss these stress points and ask them to write down some ideas for each stress point, on how each could be solved.

Allow 15 minutes for the tasks above.

If the pairs are struggling to think of answers, you can give some solution examples such as setting realistic time goals or taking regular breaks.

At the end of the 10 minutes, allow 10 minutes for each group to give one time stress point and solution and then for the whole class to discuss further any points they wish to.

Items Needed: Paper and pens.

Time audit

12. Time Audit Exercise

Number of People: This activity can be done individually but if you wish to you can have participants do this activity in pairs.

Another option is to have them start it for the first 10 minutes alone and then to work in pairs so that they can help each other get ideas.

Time Needed: 30 minutes

Intention: This time management exercise helps to give a clear understanding of how time is spent. It also helps employees identify areas for improvement.

How to Run the Activity:

Give each participant a time audit template (you will need to create this beforehand).

They will then spend 10 minutes individually to write down their activities for a typical day or week.

Next, they need to do their best to allocate an amount of time to each activity, i.e. they need to give a rough estimate of how long each activity takes over the course of a week.

Then ask participants to look at the information and to try and identify patterns, inefficiencies, and areas where time is wasted. This part of the activity (for which you can allocate another 10 minutes) might be easier to do in pairs.

Participants need to create an action plan to detail how they can overcome these inefficiencies to improve their time management.

Items Needed: Time audit template.

Time management training materials

>> Time Management Training Materials

Benefits of Using Time Management Training Activities, Exercises & Games

Without doubt, one of the most precious resources any of us has is time!

You cannot replace it and we never seem to have enough of it and that includes in work and in our personal life.

For business, teaching time management skills is extremely worthwhile because it can greatly impact on productivity, especially as we waste so much work time doing things that have little impact.

Activities and games in training make learning easier because these games can help participants to better get to know each other and they often act as an ice breaker, meaning they help participants to relax.

Good time management activities also help to reinforce learning and help highlight techniques for properly managing time.

Using Time Management Activities as Icebreakers

When using time management training activities in the training materials you use, I recommend including an activity at the start of the workshop to immediately set a fun and relaxed tone for the training.

I recommend, for the first activity, to use a Time management survey to ascertain how participants interact with time in their own lives.

Questions that we have in our time management course materials include 40 questions where you have to grade how often:

  • Distractions stop me from working on important tasks
  • I felt stressed and anxious about deadlines
  • I get at least one major thing done each day
  • I have an effective filing system – electronically and/or physically (I can always immediately find what I am looking for)

Make sure to read also our post about the benefits of workplace time management!

FAQs

Where can I buy time management training materials?

You can buy and download time management training materials here.

How do you train a team for time management?

Provide a time management training workshop and explain:
1. Time motivation and why people waste time.
2. How to identify how to allocate time to tasks.
3. How to manage time when dealing with other people at work.
4. Some best practice time management techniques.
5. How to implement these techniques.

What are the benefits of using time management games for employee training?

No matter what type of employee training you are providing, training games activities help employees engage in the training, help break the ice, i.e. set a positive tone and help students learn through doing.

If you are a trainer and need to deliver a session on time management, why not save yourself some time and purchase an off-the-shelf training package?

Classroom lesson plans
Dr Valeria Lo Iacono
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