Time is the one thing we all have in common. No matter who we are, where we are from or what we do we all live according to the clock. Sure, the clock reads differently in each part of the world, but at the end of the day, whether we like it or not, we are all governed by it. So it is no surprise when you discover that there is an entire industry devoted solely on how to manage time. Moreover, a vast majority of this industry encourages daily practice through time management activities. Let’s take a moment to discuss time management activities for students, adults, and groups. However, first, let’s define what time management activities are.
What is Time Management Activities?
Time management activities are exercises which help to illustrate the importance of planning and delegating various tasks. Many of these activities provoke an individual’s competitive nature which serves as motivation to complete each task.
Time Management Activities For Students
According to a report by Common Sense Media, children from ages 8 to 12, spend an average of around six hours per day consuming media. When you factor in time for sleep, school, and other daily chores, you can see that this takes away a significant chunk of their day. While technology is an important part of our society, it can also be somewhat of a distraction in a classroom setting. Teachers are faced with the task of making sure that their students are always on task and remain as productive as possible. So here’s where time management comes into play.
Researchers say that knowing how to manage time has been linked to later success in life, whether in higher education or career. In fact, in a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, researchers were able to conclude that self-discipline, the driving force behind time management, is an even better indicator of adolescents’ academic performance than their actual IQ. This means that by introducing time management activities to your students at an early age, you can help to ensure that each life transition is much easier for them. Below are a few classroom time management activities that will teach your students how to make better daily choices:
One of the best ways to make your students more aware of their time is to start their day with a “get ready” activity. This is particularly useful for children who are of preschool age. Create a chart illustrating everything that needs to be done in the mornings before you start the day. Hang up coats and backpacks, put away lunch and sit on a mat or at a desk can be just a few of the things listed. Hang this large chart at the front of your classroom and explain how each activity needs to be completed before you can start the day. Not only does this lead to better time management, but it also teaches students to follow through with things.
If your students always seem to struggle with turning in their homework on time, then you could easily initiate the checkmate. This time management activity requires that the student create a chart and fill in all of their responsibilities for that week. They will also put down how much time they would like to allow for taking care of each of these responsibilities. Place a little box by each, and as they get each thing accomplished, they will check the box beside it. By suggesting that they allow a certain amount of leisure time after the list is complete, you will find that the student turns in assignments ahead of schedule.
While some time management activities serve as practical ways to get things done; others can be more fun in nature. For instance, set various color blocks on a table and instruct the students to pick all of them up. However, tell them that they are only allowed to use one hand, can only handle one block at a time and that they have less than a minute to do it. If you want to make it even more challenging, assign points and values to each color. In this way, the student will learn to prioritize their time.
Time Management Activities For Adults
While children struggle with distractions from technology, adults often deal with procrastination. According to research conducted by Joseph Ferrari of the American Psychological Association, 20% of U.S. men and women are chronic procrastinators. While everyone procrastinates to some degree, Dr. Joseph Ferrai asserts that 20% of the adult population makes procrastination a way of life.
Moreover, this is in part due to poor time management. Whether you are a busy executive, a single parent or a full-time stay at home mom, everyone can benefit from learning how to prioritize his or her time. Take a look at these time management activities:
The Big Reveal
The purpose of this particular exercise is to make you aware all of the things that waste time. It is also to show you that you may be squandering more time than you initially assumed. Write down all of the activities that you do throughout the week that you would consider a non-priority. You may write down things like watching television, making personal phone calls or spending time online.
Next, estimate and write down how much time you spend doing each of these things each day or week. Create a chart that shows the activities as well as your time estimates, but leave spaces or rows beside each entry. For the next seven days, keep track of how much time you spend on these activities and compare your final total to your original estimates at the end of the week.
The Rewards Program
The purpose of this activity is to link the feeling of satisfaction to excellent time management. Start by setting goals for yourself each week. Also, then treat yourself to something special if you reach that goal. For example, make a checklist of all of the things you would like to accomplish this week and record a due date beside each item. Whenever you check an item off the list put a dollar (or whatever amount you would like) into a jar. At the end of the week, use the money you have saved to go out for coffee, buy a book, go shopping or go to dinner with friends and family. The key is, your achievements must link to something you like, and you must remain consistent.
Friend Or Foe
The purpose of this activity is to determine if your daily activities are helping you or hurting you. It will give you the ability to determine their value. Start the activity by writing down ten things that you do while you are at work. These do not have to be written down in a specific order.
Moreover, then on an entirely different piece of paper, jot down write down five topics that you expect to come up at your next performance review. Compare these two lists against each other. You need to figure out if the activities on the first list have any relation to the activities on the second list that you have created. In this way, you will be able to determine if your daily activities are acting as a hindrance to you or if they will help you further your career. This activity can also be modified to fit someone who is of college age. Only compare a list of your primary goals to a list of activities that you do every day.
Time Management Group Activities
One of the most challenging parts of being a leader is managing groups. This is especially the case when you are in business settings. While everyone may be knowledgeable and well-equipped to do their job, not everyone has the same habits when it comes to time management. Salary.com gathered the responses of over 700 employees. Within this study it was found that 89% of the participants wasted time at work each and every day.
If you would like to encourage your work group to be more productive and work more efficiently, it is essential that you place emphasis on time management. Also, time management activities are a great way to get this message across without destroying relationships. They are also an excellent way to ensure that your group remains in sync at all times.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
The purpose of this exercise is to help the group realize that you should never invest time into an activity unless you have an end goal in mind. Cut a picture into six into seven even squares and place the pieces into a bag. Give your workgroup the bag and tell them to reassemble the pieces into the original picture without letting them know what type of image it was. After 10 to 15 minutes, stop the process and then ask them if they struggled to put the all of the pieces back together, and if they did, why? You should then explain the purpose of the exercise.
A Race To The Finish
This activity is much like the Mental Block exercise in that it can help to teach your workgroup the value of prioritizing their time. Separate your group into two or more teams. Give each group a list of tasks that need to be accomplished. For instance, you may have them to a five-line song. You may require them to write down how many siblings each person in the group has. You may ask them to make a bracelet out of paperclips. In some case, you may even ask them to do a certain amount of jumping jacks. Assign a certain amount of points to each of these tasks–some tasks should be worth more than others. Set the timer for 10 to 15 minutes. The team with the most points at the end of the period will win the final prize.
List of Time Management Activities
There are several time management activities available. Whatever activity you choose, make sure that it helps you to get a clear focus of what your priorities are. Take a look at a few more practical activities.
“Keep,” “Give Away” or “Toss.” In some cases, an organization may be the culprit when it comes to wasting time. We often spend time moving the same things around the room, repeatedly. So do an activity that encourages you to get rid of the clutter. Set up three boxes and create a label for each, “Keep,” “Give Away” or “Toss.” Sort all of your clutter into these boxes and discard things that you have placed into to “Toss” bin and sell or give the “Give Away” items to charity. The key is to remove things that could cause you to procrastinate.
Sharing Is Caring
When we become too caught up in our bad habits, it is easy to assume that wasting time is just in our nature that it is a family trait. This exercise is meant to show that it is possible to break this habit if we develop efficient strategies. This activity requires you to team up with someone you trust. Jot down all of the things that usually get in the way of your being able to manage your time effectively. Choose one that you would like to share with your partner. Moreover, then discuss all of the ways that you can avoid this particular problem and what changes you could make.
The Bigger Picture
Sometimes we become so consumed by the little things that we forget the big picture. This activity is meant to show that it is often the small details that lead to poor time management. Gather a bunch of small rocks, big rocks, and sand–enough to fill a bucket. Find a bucket. The bucket will represent all of the time that you have available to you. The rocks represent your tasks and plans. Start filling the bucket with the rocks and stones. As you begin to fill it, you will realize that the big rocks (more sizable tasks) are what is most important. Everything else is extra.
The Take Away
As you can see, there are several ways to teach people, and yourself, the importance of using time wisely. So the best thing about these activities is that they can be customized to your liking. You can add to or take away as much time as you would like. The important thing is that people learn to assess their priorities and decide how much time they are worth.
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