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Trainer’s Tip: Arrest the Time Robbers


This exercise, from TrainingZONE member Bryan Edwards, helps delegates address their time-wasters.

I use a “time robbers” exercise that asks delegates to identify their time thieves, whether they are self-imposed (S.I.) or imposed by others (I.B.O.) and the reason for the time robber. It's really important to identify the reason, so we get a solution that fits eg someone plagued by interruptions during the working day could be from casual visitors at the work station or it could be because the office is noisy with team members having loud conversations across desks.

I ask the delegates to record their time robbers on laminated brick-like" cards (for which if anyone is interested I can send a template - just email me (, and build a "time robber brick wall" by blu-tacking it to the wall. You can end up with up to 30 "bricks" from a group of six or seven delegates (the most bizarre time thief I've ever come across is hangovers!)

After some theory, we go back to the bricks and ask delegates to choose the ones they want solutions for. Delegates work in small groups doing flipcharts of solutions. Encourage them to discuss detail, for example:
* If you need to get a message across to someone what words would you use?
* If it's interruptions at the desk, what body language would you use?
* If you need to influence the boss, exactly how would you do that?

Once flips are done, I ask groups to visit flipcharts and critique other groups' work, then we discuss.

Finally, post workshop, we type up the flips and send them back to delegates to feed into their action plans (again, I would be happy to supply anyone interested with a set of solutions from a recent workshop - let me know on

The exercise is visual, gets people on their feet, and discussions can be become very lively when people start challenging suggested solutions.

View the original posting:
Exercises for Time Management Course

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