Time Management Exercise: Monitor Your Perfectionism

Time Management Exercise: Monitor Your Perfectionism


This is a quick exercise that helps illustrate that we don’t need to be perfect all the time. Aiming for perfection can cost a lot of time and is often counter-productive. Research shows that majority of people who suffer from bad time management are perfectionist and their tendencies to produce everything at an unrealistically high-level of quality lead them to have a substandard quality of life and overall performance.

This exercise can help people understand that sometimes aiming for just a bit lower quality will still get them as far but can help them save a significant amount of time.


Draw a number of shapes and pass these to others to see if they can recognise them.

What You Need

  • Blank papers and drawing pens.
  • A series of index cards where each one has one of the following words written on them.
    • Circle
    • Square
    • Triangle
    • Arrow
    • Man
    • Woman
    • Box
    • Oval
    • Rectangle
    • Airplane
    • Car
    • Flower
    • Tree
  • You will need to have 5 sets of these index cards.
  • Timer


  • Distribute a blank sheet to each delegate.
  • Shuffle the 5 sets of index cards so they are totally mixed.
  • From the entire set, distribute 5 unique cards to each delegate at random in a way that others cannot see what’s written on each card.
  • Explain that this is drawing exercise and you want the delegates to draw a representation of what is described in each card in the blank sheet they were given. Hence, they should end up with 5 shapes.
  • Allocate 30 seconds for this exercise and explain that once the time is up they should stop drawing.
  • Ask each person to show the shapes they had drawn to the person on their left. The person on their left should guess the words in the index cards. The pair should then compare the guesses with the original index cards and see if the guesses were correct.
  • Since the shape descriptions are fairly simple, you expect everyone to accurately guess the correct words. This is indeed the point of the exercise, that even though the drawings are far from perfect, everyone can clearly understand the original intention and what each drawing represents. Use this to expand on aiming for less than 100% perfection to save precious time.
  • Follow with a discussion.


Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes

Activity: 1 min drawing + 2 min comparisons = 3 minutes

Group Feedback: 2 minutes


Where you all able to guess the shapes correctly? Why is that? Was it necessary to make accurate drawings? Was there anyone who drew a perfect circle? Was there anyone who didn’t recognise the circle even though it wasn’t perfect? What does this exercise teach you?

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