Time Management Exercise: Identify Time Wasters

Time Management Exercise: Identify Time Wasters


This exercise encourages delegates to think about workplace issues that could potentially reduce their productivity. It is an ideal exercise for delegates who work together as a team and aim to increase their team productivity. This exercise is simple in nature as it encourages people to think of the most important productivity issues from their own specific view. The power comes from habitual use of this exercise when productivity issues are addressed regularly, collectively and something is done about them.


Identify time wasters and sources of reduced productivity in the workplace.

What You Need

  • A deck of blank cards about 3” by 6”. You can also use Post-It notes.
  • A wall or board to stick the notes on.
  • Any necessary materials to stick the cards to the board.


  • Make the blank cards available to all delegates.
  • Explain that the purpose of the exercise is to identify time wasting issues or anything that reduces productivity at workplace.
  • Ask each person to write a list of their top 10 typical issues that lead to lack of productivity. These could be personal, group related, or company specific issues such as bad bureaucracy or management.
  • Ask each person to write each idea on a separate card. They should then rearrange the cards in order of priority in front of them.
  • Once arranged, they should number the cards based on priority from 1 to 10.
  • Next each person should stick the cards randomly on the board.
  • Once all cards are stuck to the board, the whole group can work together to read through the ideas while paying attention to priorities assigned. In particular, they should collect similar ideas together and remove duplicates.
  • Ask the delegates to compile a final list of top 10 concerns from among the whole set and record them on a separate sheet. This would act as the result of the entire brainstorming session on productivity.
  • It is up to the delegates to use a system that leads to a final set of priorities calculated from the priorities they have assigned already for each issue.
  • Discussions can then follow to address these issues perhaps separately or while management is present.
  • Follow with a short discussion to finish the exercise.


Explaining the Exercise: 5 minutes

Activity: 10 min identifying productivity issues + 10 min analysing all identified issues = 20 minutes

Group Feedback: 10 minutes


What did you think of the process used in this exercise? Was there a pattern in the types of concerns raised? Was there agreement on what the critical issues are? Is it easy to address these productivity issues or are they a manifestation of much bigger problems within the organisation? 

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