Full Plate Time Management Activity

With the start of fall I find that both the professionals and students I work with are often learning to manage a new routine and new responsibilities which makes it the perfect time to reflect on time management, responsibility and goal setting, and self-care. This is a great activity to jumpstart conversation around coping skills and time management and stress management skills and strategies.

Time Management “Full Plate” Lesson


First as an entry task give participants 5 minutes to reflect and discuss personal goals through an engaging hook activity such as the computer keyboard keys or postcard metaphor activity.
Next, involve the group in a short interactive activity/energizer to plant seeds for conversation:
–Invite participants to walk around the room and greet each other.
–Ask them to focus on one spot in the room while they walk and greet.
–Next ask them to pat their head as they walk and greet.
–Then add humming a tune to the tasks.
–Finally, give them a math problem to figure out in their head as they walk around the room,
meet and greet, focus on one spot, pat their head, and hum.
Ask group members to stop and have them form a circle and share one word to describe the experience. This usually leads to some interesting discussions on multi-tasking and the challenges and sometimes stress of having multiple responsibilities.
Discuss the analogy of “having a full plate” to represent one’s responsibilities and commitments. Ask participants to think about what is on their plate i.e. their responsibilities, work or school tasks, self-care, stressors, as well as their hobbies and the things they want to spend time doing.
Hand out paper plates and markers. Ask participants to decorate the paper plates with symbols and or words that represent the obligations, tasks and interests that are on their plate.
Give the group plenty of time for this as they will talk and reflect with each other as they draw/write.
IMG_6733Invite group members to share what some of (or at least one) of the items that are on their plates. They will find many commonalities, and at the same time, learn about some of the unique stressors, responsibilities or interests of their peers. This opens a discussion on how to handle multiple responsibilities, and how the group can support each other.
I often follow up with a reflection sheet/journaling prompt with questions such as:

What do you have to get done each day?
Do you use your time wisely?
Do you have quiet place to do homework/office work?
What assignments do you put off? Do you work on your favorite subject/task first or last?

A group discussion on responses and ideas generated from these questions can be an effective way for peers to support each other with ideas and suggestions.

If you would like a copy of the reflection sheet I have been using in classrooms this fall email me at jen@experientialtools.com.

Excerpt from Inspired Educator, Inspired learner by Jennifer Stanchfield 2014 Wood N Barnes Publishing Company.

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