Did you know that only 12% of employees are productive for more than six hours every day?
As we’re getting bombarded with new notifications, apps, and content, our attention spans are struggling to keep up. As a result, we have a hard time focusing our attention, getting work done, and making proper use of our time.
Not all is lost, though. Despite these setbacks, there are some clever ways to “hack” your brain and your workflow to become more productive, with and without using apps for help.
Today, we’re talking about the very best time management games for productivity that can help you win back your time and get more work done when you need it.
What are time management games for productivity?
Time management games for productivity are frameworks you can use to better manage your time at work. These games help you become more conscious of your time and workload, they make you collaborate with your team, lower your stress and let you have a little fun on the way.
If you’re facing a tight deadline or if you just see that you’re constantly falling behind, don’t fret. Instead, play a game or two to figure out what went wrong so you can fix it and become more productive.
Today, we’ve listed some games that will help you realize how volatile time is, how little of it we have, and last but not least, these games just may help you better manage your time.
If you had to go to a deserted island and you could take just three things with you, what would you take?
This is a great thinking exercise, a question for a first date, or even a job interview question if you wish. It’s also an exercise in managing time and priorities. All you have to do is give yourself two minutes to come up with the things you would carry to a deserted island.
This forces you to think on your feet, and you’ll quickly learn how the pressure forces you to make the right decisions rapidly.
The big picture
This game is more of a thinking exercise that can prove to your team how valuable proper goal setting is. All you need is a puzzle, as simple or as complex as you want. Get your team together in a room and hand them the puzzle pieces and tell them to put them together.
They’ll start, and soon they’ll end up struggling because all they will have is individual pieces and no clue how they fit together. About 5-10 minutes in, give your team the picture of the completed puzzle.
Once they know what they need to put together, you’ll find how much more quickly they work and how easier it is to collaborate.
That’s the point of the game — realizing that without a clear goal, even something as seemingly simple as putting together a puzzle can be a chore.
How long is a minute?
OK, we know that one minute is 60 seconds long, but we also know that time is a rather subjective category. If you’re sitting in a nice restaurant, sipping on a cocktail and listening to some great music, one minute may seem like a second. If you’re in a meeting where your boss is scolding you about last quarter’s KPIs, one minute may seem like an eternity.
This game is rather simple — get together with your coworkers in a room and close your eyes. You should stand until you believe a minute has passed. Once you sit down and open your eyes, you’ll see how differently people around you perceive time.
The goal is to understand that one minute is not the same for two different people.
If this number sounds familiar, it’s because it denotes the total number of seconds in one day. It may not seem like there is such a huge number of seconds every day, but it could be that we’re just unaware of how much time passes by us.
That’s the exact point of this game. You have $86,400 to use every single day, and you have to use them without exception. Whatever you don’t use does not get rolled over into the next day. Instead, you start each new day with a fresh bank account and $86,400 on it, waiting to be spent in the best way possible.
This is not so much of a game as much as it is a practice in thinking. Once we account for the time spent sleeping, there is still so much time left during the day that we have to spend wisely. And if you think of seconds in terms of money that never gets back, it may instill a sense of urgency you never had before.
What I did yesterday
Here’s a fun game that lets you take a better look at the things you do every day at work. Grab a piece of paper (or write this down somewhere in digital form, either work). Write down a list of 10 things you did yesterday at work and have everyone in the group do the same thing for themselves.
Flip the paper and write down the list of things that you would love to see your manager highlight on your next performance review. Now for the fun part, try and connect the things that you did yesterday with what you want to see on your performance review.
This exercise helps you realize the weight of your everyday tasks against your overall work performance. And if you have to think too hard about the work you did and how it affects your overall performance, then it means one thing - you’re not focused on the things that matter.
In other words, it’s a superb exercise to highlight the tasks that you do every day that really make an impact, as opposed to those that are a waste of your time.
Race to the ace of spades
This is a fairly simple game that doesn’t require much more than two decks of cards and your team in one place.
Take the first deck of cards and shuffle it just as you would for any other card game. For the second deck of cards, sort them in ascending order, from aces to kings. Take the two decks and hand them to two different team members. They both have the same goal: to find the ace of spades.
Of course, the one with the perfectly organized deck is going to have a much easier time finding the card. If all goes well, they should be the first to complete the task.
The point of this game is to show the value of the proper organization. More so, it is to prove that one task can be done much more efficiently with the right preparation.
This is a great practice in time management and productivity. For this game, take three different sheets of paper for each participant in the game. Each piece should be split into 24 even blocks, representing 24 hours in the day.
On the first paper, fill out the blocks that make up your activities outside of work. Sleep, rest, grocery shopping, working out, spending time with family, etc. On the second paper, fill out the time you spend at work but not on work-related activities. For example, talking to coworkers, grabbing coffee, going out to lunch, and other things.
Now grab the third paper and fill it out with the blocks from the first two, leaving the blanks for the time you do actual, deep work. This paper represents when you’re actually being productive.
This is a superb exercise if you want to see just how productive you are at work and, moreover, just how many distractions we have in our everyday lives. Pro tip: if you want to do something even more effective, ditch the papers and start tracking your time at work with Timely.
Timely needs just one click to get started, and once you’re done, it will show you the overview of how you spent your time. The time is broken down by task and app, and you can clearly see which tasks bring down your productivity.
There are different versions of this game, and the truth is, you don’t even have to play with blocks — just similar items in different colors.
So, get your blocks in one place and assign different values to different colors. For example, red blocks are 3 points, blue blocks are 2 points, white ones are 1 point, etc. Now take those blocks and dump them out on a table in front of your coworkers.
Tell them to grab as many blocks as they can with the end goal of having the highest value total. In other words, the person from our example would have to take as many red blocks as possible. There’s only one rule: they cannot use their dominant hand for this game.
In a rush to get the most valuable blocks, they’ll quickly realize how much struggle it can be to get the job done while focusing on the one thing that matters. This exercise is all about prioritization and showing you how hard it can be to do the right things every day when you’re strapped for time.
While not all of these are technically games, they are all great thinking practices that make you reconsider how you spend your time at work and whether it can be used in a better or more effective way. They force you to think about prioritization, proper time management, delegation, and perhaps even the transience of life.
And if you’re not so crazy about playing games, how about doing something easier to measure instead? With Timely, you can track your time at work effortlessly without interruptions. One click, and all your activities are logged for the day.