Your employees are very busy! You want to do what you can to help your employees create an environment contributes to productivity. You want them to jump into their day’s tasks and be as focused as they can to get the job done. You can positively influence this in a fun, professional manner by engaging in the best time management activities.
What Is It About Time Management?
Are your employees feeling like time slips by quickly and that the day goes by too fast before tasks get completed? If so, you’re not alone with wanting to get a firmer grasp on time and how to manage it. This is a major concern for people and fortunately there’s no shortage of time management activities you can try with employees.
It’s a matter of putting the right tactics into place. Time management also needs to be personalized. You’ll notice that one suggestion will feel more natural than another. Start with these activities so you can have your employees get engaged with various methods.
Benefits of Time Management
Managing your time is the basis of managing everything else in your life. The benefits of doing time management activities are that it helps assess where you currently allocate your time and what you need to adjust to re-allocate more productively. Time management activities help you identify what priorities to do first, how to avoid distractions and knowing when to have productivity bursts.
10 Time Management Activities to Try with Your Employees
The workplace is an ideal place for a manager to reinforce how to balance time through time management activities. Rather than give a lecture or make suggestions during a review, why not set up specified days to work on improvement? This makes the learning process more enjoyable and interactive where employees can build strengths together. Here are the top 10 time management activities that will inspire more focus and productivity.
Since the lesson is to use time effectively, then why not start with getting a firm grasp on how we measure and perceive time. Right down to how we perceive the length of a minute! For this activity, once you’ve covered any clocks or devices showing the time, have each person share their perception of how long a minute feels like.
With everyone siting quietly, you’ll start a timer and ask them to stand up when they think a minute has passed. You will see each person stand up at various moments, showing the range in perception of what a minute is. The results may surprise the employees about the accuracy of their perception.
Some of the best time management activities require writing. For the Time Square exercise, give your employees 3 sheets of paper that have 24 squares on each one. Each square represents an hour of the 24 hours in a day. For the first sheet, employees will fill in routine activities of their regular day outside of work.
With the second piece of paper, the employees must fill out the boxes representing the time they spend on non-productive time at their workplace on activities they may deem as time wasters. With the third paper, have the employees merge the first two pages together. Whatever empty squares remain on the third page will represent productive time. The outcome will help identify any time wasters and highlight the amount of time spent on routine activities.
When considering time management activities, you’ll want to consider one’s that have a visual component like the Mayo Jar. This activity highlights prioritizing with a hands-on approach to see the process. After dividing your group of employees into teams, give them each a glass container and the materials needed for the activity. The materials consist of varied size rocks and stones, and sand or gravel, or similar items you use.
The larger rocks will represent the most important tasks and smaller rocks will be for other daily tasks. You can define these more specifically based on your discussion with the group, delineating anything from home activities to work tasks. You can also use the sand to represent projects that need completion. This can help represent work/life balance for the participants.
You can let them choose which materials they want to represent the different life activities and tasks. Let them fill in their container without too detailed of instructions. When the containers are full, you can have them share about the order selected and what each of the materials represented.
4.Understanding Parkinson’s Law
Divided into 4 groups, your employee groupings will have 5 tasks to complete in 20 minutes. Have 2 groups do the tasks in an open-ended timeframe. Have the other 2 groups divide the 20 minutes into 4-minute segments for each task. See which of the groups complete all 5 of their tasks efficiently.
Since Parkinson’s Law states that the work will expand to fill the allotted amount of time, the open-ended groups will probably have a more difficult time fully realizing the 5 tasks. In contrast, Parkinson’s Law predicts that if you have several tasks with set timeframes, you’ll be able to work them into that amount of time since you have no other choice. Don’t let the group know about Parkinson’s Law until the end when assessing everyone’s experience.
Take a large bunch of colored blocks and scatter them over a surface. You will instruct each employee to gather as many blocks as possible within a minute timeframe. They can only grab one block at a time and they can only do so with their non-dominant hand.
Let each employee play multiple rounds. You can assign points to different colors after each round. As they play each round, you can discuss how high priority tasks are represented by the colored blocks worth the most points.
Have you ever tried to tap into getting a better understanding of your internal clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm? The idea is to determine when you are best energized for doing different tasks within your work day. Rather than pushing through periods when you have lower energy, you can schedule your tasks accordingly. You’ll want to work on your mentally demanding tasks when you’re at the highest energy levels and do your automatic and more mechanical tasks when your energy is low.
Have each employee write everything they did the day before while listing the energy level they had for each activity. You can use descriptive words and phrases to describe energy levels like: on fire, vibrant, cruise control, distracted, slowing down, tired and hungry. You can also signify energy levels by percentages like: at 100%, at 70%, at 30% or any rounded number to express the feeling.
7.Ace of Spades
This activity will have two volunteers using two decks of playing cards. You will give one deck of cards to each person with the goal of having them find the Ace of Spades as quickly as possible. With no one knowing, you will have one deck in order with all the cards facing one direction from Ace to King in each of the four suits.
The other deck will be mixed up with some cards facing opposite directions making it more difficult to find the Ace of Spades. The employee with the mixed deck is at a disadvantage, but it’s a fun way to show the importance of good organization skills to time management.
Give each group of employees a deck of playing cards. Have each team place the cards exactly as you outlined by the example. The aim is to complete the task in the fastest time while placing the cards neatly in a row without touching one another.
Give the teams 5 minutes to prepare a strategy and practice the task using any resources in the room to assist in the task. After the 5 minutes of prep time, each team must submit an estimate time in which they think they can complete the task. Set a timer so the team will then try to complete the task against the clock. You can do multiple rounds to see if teams improve their time.
9.Breakdown and Prioritize
Employees need to juggle their commitments, so they need a time management exercises allows to plan quickly and stay on top of things. Once they’ve listed their commitments, have them take the big tasks and turn them into smaller steps. Next they must prioritize their tasks.
Organize each thing under 3 headings: now, soon, and later. Deadlines will be a top priority, but other minor important task can go under soon. It’s recommended to determine the top priorities and put them into the “now” heading, then go back to the other tasks and put them in order.
10.Ribbon of Life
Give one of your employees a ribbon that’s 100 centimeters long. Let everyone in the group know each centimeter represents a year. First have the employee cut it to the length that equals the average lifespan. Then have the employee cut off the group’s average age. This will show the group the amount of time remaining for that lifespan.
From there, you can instruct for things like sleep and obligations not related to work to be trimmed away. Eventually the employee will have a short ribbon left. This time management activity provides a perspective on the relatively small amount of time there is to get work done.
Time management is crucial to business success. Often we waste time mostly because we don’t realize it’s happening. Use these techniques to help your employees understand the importance of time and how to manage theirs.