Time Management Exercises | TrainingZone.co.uk

Time Management Exercises

I recently piloted an in-house 4 hour Time Management class. Having run it once, I really feel that I need to make it more practical, and wondered if anyone could suggest some fun or interesting exercises. possibly along the lines of case studies, in trays or role plays. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Helen Hughes


I recently ran a course in time management where the delegates had a pre course questionnaire to complete.
One of the "questions" was about "time bandits" ~they had a list of common timewasters in a day and were asked to tick all the ones that affected them. At the event each person was asked to briefly explain the worst one for them and then the group offered solutions/advice. It was really helpful, especially as it id'd some organisational problems, some problems where one delegate could actually solve the problem of another and one where a delegate WAS the time bandit!
Hope that helps
Rus Slater

chris2c's picture


Would it be possible to receive your in-tray training activities as I have a time management seminar to deliver and need some nice active and dynamic activities to boost the participants


I had exactly the same problem with my Time Management course. I found an excellent activity called the 'in tray exercise' which has received some superb feedback from delegates. Drop me an e-mail and I'd be happy to share it with you.

One exercise I do is to split the group into 2.
Provide each group with one piece of standard A4 paper, and one piece of standard A2 Flip paper, and a roll of sellotape. The objective is to build a completely free-standing bridge (ie NOT taped to the table or the wall)30cm high (long side of A4) and 60cm (short side of flip) long in 5 minutes that will support a toy car. Obviously a deadline involved, however can open a discussion around why succeeded/failed usually brings out - no planning, too long planning, no clear roles etc..

We have developed an excellent task which can be tailored easily to specific groups or individuals. drop an email and we can discuss if this would benefit your event(s).



This is from a training brief I have, not tested it out yet. You need required number of large jars filled with assorted bits and pieces of differing sizes. - split group into 3s, each group having their own jar and contents. The objective is to empty the jar then put all the stuff back in so that the top can be replaced easily. One of the group must note what order the objects are placed back into the jar.

The findings should indicate that the biggest item needs to be put in the jar first to be successful. It demonstrates in Time Management terms, that if we want to achieve the important objectives in our lives we must first identify the goals that are important. Once identified you must start to manage the big ones first, you then fit the smaller ones into your life around the big one.

Hope that makes sense.

Another version to Rus's Time Bandits is the Time Wasters Excercise.

Ask the delegates to write down different things on a plain sheet of paper that they do on day to day basis apart from the tasks that are supposed to carry out as part of their jobs. Do not reveal delagates at this time that these are the potential 'time wasters'. Give them a few examples such as tea/coffee breaks, smoke breaks etc.

Ask them to scribble on different parts of the sheet rather than making a list.

Now ask them to start tearing off bits of paper each containing one 'time waster'. What is left of the paper after tearing off all the 'time wasters' is the actual time to carry out their tasks.

Foxy55's picture

Hi there! I run loads of Time Management courses and the exercise that I get most comments on is this:
Ask the delegates to jot down 10 things they did at work yesterday ( no order, no prompts, no comments); on a separate sheet of paper, jot down the 5 topics that they expect to discuss at their next appraisal/performance review. 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 'light bulb' moment is the recognition that we spend time on things which have little or no consequence to 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. hope this helps!


I have a Time Mgt: In-tray exercise that is about an 1-1.5 hours in length which I use regularly, quie a few Training Zone readers have contacted me to use it and the feeback has been very positive.
Email me directly and I'll send it on.
many thanks


I've to run a session on Time Management and i somehow liked the In-tray exercise a lot and searched for more information, but can anybody pass me something which is appropriate to run in a 4 hours traininh session with all the rules.Its a little urgent.



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