Time Management

"Never leave till tomorrow that which you can do today."

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790), American Founding Father
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This Business English lesson plan on time management has been designed for business professionals or other adults and young adults at an intermediate (B1/B2) to advanced (C1/C2) level and should last around 45 to 60 minutes for one student.

In some countries, time is so important it is thought of like money; people from these cultures even ‘spend’ time. In other countries, people are a little more flexible with the time, instead focusing on the value of the event itself, rather than when it started. But as American business culture permeates through the world, all cultures are increasingly becoming more and more concerned with punctuality and time keeping. In this Business English lesson plan on time management, students will have the opportunity discuss and express their opinions on issues such as how they organise their time at work, attitudes towards punctuality and how time can be wasted at work.

For advice on how to use this English lesson plan and other lesson plans on this site, see the guide for ESL teachers.

PRE-CLASS ACTIVITIES

Reading activity
Before the English class, send the following article to the students and ask them to read it while making a list of any new vocabulary or phrases they find (explain any the students don’t understand in the class):

QRIUS | Defining time through a cultural analysis: How late is late?

The article, by cross-cultural expert Erin Myer, looks at some of the different attitudes cultures have towards time and scheduling. At the start of the class, hold a brief discussion about what the students thought about the article. What do they think about the issues raised in the article? Do they agree with what was written? Can they think of any ways they might disagree with the content of the article?

Video activity
To save time in class, the English teacher can ask the students to watch the video below at home. In the class, the students will answer a number of conversation questions directly or indirectly related to the content of the video.

The video for this class is a TEDx Talk by Rory Vaden called “How to Multiply Your Time” which talks about some techniques that can help workers make better use of their time.

IN-CLASS ACTIVITIES

The focus in the class is on conversation in order to help improve students’ fluency and confidence when speaking in English as well as boosting their vocabulary.

This lesson opens with a short discussion about the article the students read before the class. Next, the students can give their opinion on the quote at the beginning of the lesson plan – what they think the quote means, if they agree with it and how it could relate to business. This is followed by an initial discussion on the topic including the deadlines the students have to meet at work, which urgent tasks they have to complete, and whether they have enough time for the amount of work they have.

After this, students will learn some vocabulary connected with time management such as multitask, procrastinate and bogged down. The vocabulary is accompanied by a cloze activity and a speaking activity to test the students’ comprehension of these words.

If the students didn’t watch the video before the class, they can watch it after the vocabulary section and answer the conversation questions. Before the conversation, ask the students to give a brief summary of the video and what they thought about the content.

Finally, there is a more in-depth conversation about time management. In this speaking activity, students will talk about issues such as their culture’s attitude towards lateness, which tasks they consider to be a waste of time, and why some people say, “time is money.”

HOMEWORK

After the class, students will write an email to their team advising them on how they could manage their time better. The writing activity is designed to allow students to practise business-style writing as well as improving their grammar with the feedback from their teacher.

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