keep teams focussed and workshops moving


when to use

whenever you need to focus people in an exercise or get to results quickly

when not to use

when trying to explore a problem, get deep on a subject or explore creative options

why it works

it focuses the mind, letting adrenaline flow, making people respond from the top of mind ideas and not get distracted by going down rabbit holes


  • a timer: any stopwatch or smartphone will do. 
  • we use a timetimer - https://www.timetimer.com/ - because they are very visual and allow everyone to see how much time is left

how to do it

  1. explain clearly the instructions for the exercise and that you will set up a limited time to do it
  2. set up the timer for the amount of time needed for the exercise
  3. start the timer and call out time a spaced intervals as it goes down, more frequently as the time gets closer to the end.
  4. call out the end and get people to wrap up and stop

things to note

  • make sure to call out the times as the clock goes. participants will be engaged in their task and will not notice otherwise. people need to know the time so they can prioritise and not get caught out by the end
  • make sure to get people to wrap up and stop when time is up. each time you do not do this, people will feel that next time the 'end' is a soft end and will take more and more extra time