time management activities for employees

As a leader, you understand that the best workers are happy and engaged, with a strong work-life balance. They are motivated to show up to work and are productive in their hours spent on the job. Because you want to foster this sort of efficient environment, you want to help your employees manage their time and be productive.

Maybe your company isn’t quite there yet. You’re not getting the most out of your employees. Maybe it’s because they’re stressed or disengaged at work; anxious at home; feeling overwhelmed; don’t know the values of the company; or simply just feel there aren’t enough hours in the day.

If your employees feel stressed at any point in the workday because of any part of their lives, it will drastically impact their ability to work… and your ability to make money.

But, it can be hard to force time management on someone. You can’t go up to them and say, “schedule your life better!” You can only provide them with the tools to better regulate their life and their stress.

So we’ve come up with 7 activities that you can employ at your company to help promote productivity through work-life balance and time management skills.

Time Management Activities For Employees In Retail And Restaurant Industries

We’ve chosen the below time management activities for employees because of their application to the restaurant and retail industries. In service-based companies, it’s challenging to “plan ahead” for the day because employees are constantly reacting to the needs of customers.

This lack of control over their own hours can send employees into a time-management spiral. They feel they have no direction, which can send many employees into a stressful, unproductive overdrive.

Use time management activities for employees to better understand time management for both work and life. Likely, your employees have multiple responsibilities that can be adding to their stress and demotivation. When they’re at work, you want them fully present.

Provide time management activities for employees to implement in their own lives, so they can have a stronger sense of their own work-life balance. Overall time management can lead to a stress-free, productive, energized, happy, and engaged workforce.

Furthermore, providing the following time management activities for employees in your business will show that you care for your workers’ wellbeing. When a manager demonstrates care for their employees, the employees are more likely to be engaged and care for the company in return.

Put the tools of time management in the hands of your employees.

Time Management Activities For Employees In Training

Whether you’re onboarding new employees or training seasoned workers, training is crucial to maintaining a high-quality staff. Below are the time management activities for employees during a training period.

1. How long is your minute?

Cover all clocks and remove all watches/phones. Have everyone stand up and close their eyes. Tell them to sit down quietly and open their eyes after what they believe has been a minute. Everyone will sit down and open their eyes at different times.

This is a great way to demonstrate the meaning of time. Everyone has the same one minute for the exercise…and the same 24 hours in a day. But everyone experiences and perceives that time differently.

This is an opportune place to open up the conversation about those daily activities that seem to take forever and those that fly by… and what that means about the relationship between productivity, passion, and time.

2. Where is the Ace of Spades?

time management activities for employees

Ask for two volunteers with two decks of cards. Tell them that they will be racing to find the Ace of Spades. Have them flip the deck over and see who gets to the Ace first.

What they don’t know is that you will have arranged the decks. One deck will have all of the cards organized from Ace to King. The other deck will be mixed up.

When the volunteers and spectators see the difference, they’ll likely say it was “rigged” or “unfair.” This relates back to the correlation of organization and time management. Both decks and individuals had the same cards and resources… but the one with organization got there faster.

3. Productivity rhythms

Ask each person to write out each hour of the day from when they wake up to when they go to sleep. Ask them to think of a day off from work for this exercise, so they can understand their natural energy cycles outside of work.

In hour increments, tell them to label how each hour feels to them: on fire, vibrant, cruise control, at 70%, distracted, slowing down, tired, hungry.

This helps workers better understand their natural rhythms. They should be working during those times when they feel they are most vibrant or on fire. They should be taking time for themselves when they are distracted, slowing down, or tired. You can then ask employees to compare their rhythms to demonstrate how each person has unique productivity cadences and how that relates to the overall working environment.

As we discussed in our Tree of Time Management, understanding your personal productivity rhythm is crucial to creating a strong work-life balance. Forge was created to allow individuals to schedule their own hours in accordance with these productivity rhythms, so they can always feel “on fire” at work.

4. Prioritization techniques

Give them our Tree of Time Management article to help them prioritize. Present a list of tasks that relate to the job environment and home life. For example, these could include, “stocking shelves,” “answering a customer’s question,” “greeting a customer,” “staying home with sick child,” “anniversary dinner,” etc.

time management activities for employeesAsk them to then prioritize each task based on:

  • Fire: high urgency/high importance
  • Earth: high urgency/low importance
  • Water: high importance/low urgency
  • Wind: low urgency/low importance

Compare how each person answered the tasks. This demonstrates the different priorities people have both at work and with regards to their work-life balance. For example, one person may think answering a customer’s question is more important than stocking shelves, while another may think that cleaning the shelves is more important than greeting a customer.


It also helps to realize where they are currently focusing their attention versus where they should be better prioritizing. This is a great place to launch future one-on-one coaching conversations.

Time Management Activities For Employees On The Job

It’s not easy to teach time management activities for employees while they’re busy on the floor. However, there are three ways that you can implement these same practices “on the job” to further reiterate the importance of time management.

5. Scheduling system

Discuss with your employees how Forge is used as a tool for work-life balance. They can use Forge to manage their own work schedules and have control of their lives. They are autonomous when it comes to their own agenda. Go through each aspect of Forge, from scheduling to star ratings, to display how the scheduling system can help create the ultimate work-life balance.

6. Clock-in activities

time management activities for employeesGive each employee a timer to place at the register or counter (or any convenient location). Have each person “clock in” after doing an important task, like delivering food or taking orders.


This should not be about making people move faster. Rather, this activity helps people understand how long each task realistically takes. Like the Pomodoro check marks, keep track of each clock-in so they can see how productive and motivated they’ve been throughout the day.

7. What I did yesterday

Before each shift, have your employees jot down 5 things they accomplished yesterday either at work or at home. It can be anything from “brought my kid to school” to “got $100 tip.” It doesn’t matter how big or small. This is used to help them realize and appreciate their productivity. This will, in turn, make them more productive moving forward.

You can then ask them to list one wasteful thing that they did yesterday. “Wasteful” can mean it was distracting, unproductive, or unrelated to their job performance. Realizing one unproductive task will help understand those areas that are hindering their time management. This will make them less likely to do it again or make a habit of it. Make sure they only list one unproductive and five productive to ensure motivation stays high.

Bonus: show your employees the following video to remind them not to sweat the small stuff!

The Bottom Line

Boost employee engagement by giving them the tools and resources to manage their own work-life balance. You can learn more from our 4 Key Time Management Tips here.

Encourage your employees to follow the Forge blog and social media. We always put up new time management and productivity hacks, like our recent Pomodoro Technique smash-hit article.

At Forge, we believe that time management is the key to a strong work-life balance. And a strong work-life balance is the key to a healthy worker, a productive work environment, and a happy life.

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