manage employees

New Time Management Games for Teams

You’re the head of your company, but you’re on an equal footing with your employees when it comes to the number of hours you have in each day. No matter who you are, you get only 24 hours. How you and your employees spend and manage time can make the difference in whether you meet your individual and team goals. By trying a few new time management games with your crew, you can increase everyone’s awareness of the value of time and learn how to use it more effectively.

When you gather your group, divide them into smaller teams, and engage them in time management activities, you’re fostering team building, camaraderie, and fun. You might want to see how quickly you can play these games in the privacy of your office, and make note of how long each one will take before presenting it to your employees.

Hey, Wait a Minute!

To get everyone in the mood for your new time management games, try this short introduction to the concept of time perception.

All you need is a silent watch to monitor the time. Start by making sure no clocks are ticking or visible in the room. Ask everyone to take off their watches and turn off their phones temporarily. Tell everyone to sit quietly, close their eyes, and keep them closed until they believe one minute has gone by. People are likely to open their eyes at different times. Note the time at the one-minute mark, and the times when the first and last team members open their eyes.

This exercise focuses on an individual’s sense of time. Everyone has the same 60 seconds in each minute, 24 hours a day, yet people experience, and sense time differently, as this brief demonstration shows. You may want to spend some time discussing which daily tasks seem to whiz by for your employees, and which tasks are so tedious that time seems to stand still. It’s a good opportunity for everyone to explore the connection between their passions for their jobs, the time they spend on them, and their productivity. Perhaps you can offer tips for getting dreaded tasks done more quickly or options for employees to trade tasks as a way of relieving stress or boredom.

Fill the Jar

For a simple icebreaker that’s fast and fun, start your time management game time with Fill the Jar. Give each team in your group a clear jar with a twist-on lid, like a large mayonnaise jar, and a variety of items in different sizes. Every team receives the same size jar and identical items, and you need a stopwatch to keep time. The challenge is to fill the jar with all the items and close the lid securely as quickly as possible. Whichever team completes the task first wins the game and a prize. If you have more than two teams, you might want to allow every team to finish the task and give smaller prizes for second and third place.

What’s the point? It’s a visual demonstration that proves that in order for everything to fit into the jar, the big pieces need to go in first. The takeaway for your group here is that applying the same approach to on-the-job tasks improves efficiency and saves time. The top priorities are the most significant and should be completed before turning attention to the minor or smaller tasks.

Find the King of Hearts

Two identical decks of playing cards, a table, stopwatch, note pad, and pen are all you need to play Find the King of Hearts. Before starting this game, you need to arrange one deck of cards from ace to king in each suit, and place the cards back in the box. Shuffle the other deck thoroughly, so the cards are in random order. Make the stack as disorganized as possible by turning some cards upside down, face up, or face down before storing them back in the box.

Ask for two volunteers, one from the team that won Fill the Jar, and one from the team that came in last. Place the two boxes of cards on the table, tell the last-place team volunteer to choose one box, and tell the other volunteer to pick up the remaining box. Then announce that their job is to find the king of hearts as fast as they can. Start the clock and record the time it takes each volunteer to find their card.

If all goes according to plan, the person with the organized deck finds the king first. What’s the takeaway here? You want your employees to see that both participants started with the same resources at the same time, but the organization made a difference in the time it took to accomplish their task. With this game, you’re showing your group that everyone starts their day with the same amount of time, but how they organize their work plays an important role in how efficiently they achieve their goals. The bottom line is that being organized improves speed and productivity. Don’t be surprised if people make jokes about the deck being stacked against them.

How Would You Spend $86,400?

This fun and exciting time management activity game stimulates imaginations while it makes a clear point about the value of time and money. You can make this activity more fun by handing out fake paper cheques or game money in the amount of $86,400 to each employee, along with a pen and notepaper. Your employees’ faces are likely to light up when you tell them they each have $86,400 to spend however they want.

There are only two restrictions:

  • They can’t bank any money.
  • They lose any money they don’t use.

Give the team members 20 minutes to write down their individual plans. Afterwards, ask for volunteers from each team to share and discuss with the group:

  • What they spent the money on.
  • How much they spent on each item.

* Why they made the decisions they shared.

Once everyone who wants to share their spending with the group has spoken, tell them that each dollar represents the number of seconds, 86,400, each person has in a day. Let them know that whether they’re at home or at work, they should consider spending their time doing things that are as important to them as the things they did with their $86,400.

The Brainstorming Game

Now that the teams are focused and fired up, they’re ready for The Brainstorming Game. Every team receives a pen, paper, and a separate area to gather, talk, and write. Give each team 30 minutes to choose a spokesperson and brainstorm about the time-wasting activities at work that they engage in personally and observe. This part of the game encourages self-exploration and teamwork, and avoids placing you in a position of accusing or blaming any employee for inefficiency.

Next, give the teams another 30 minutes to discuss and develop time management activities to solve the problems they identified. Bring all the teams together and have the entire group share their problems and solutions. Give prizes such as gift cards or company swag for the most creative, unique, and quickest solutions the teams provide.

Efficient Time-keeping Helps Everyone

An efficient and easy-to-use time-keeping system encourages employees to stay on track, and helps you monitor everyone’s productivity. Helpful products like QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed support working on the go. Products offering mobile time-tracking, including TSheets with GPS location tracking, let you know in real time who’s on the clock, their work locations, and what they’re working on. GPS keeps you aware of which employee is closest to the next job site, so you can assign your workforce more efficiently and improve accountability. Time-tracking systems that work on iPhone and Android smartphones give you flexibility no matter which mobile equipment you use. The right tools for effective time management activities empower you and your employees to produce high-quality results in less time. And this benefits everyone.

You know the value of time and understand that time is money. When it comes to your relationship with your employment team, you should set a strong example of smart and effective time management skills. The QuickBooks Self-Employed app helps freelancers, contractors, and sole proprietors track and manage business on the go.Join today & save up to 50%.

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