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The Best Online Time Management Games of 2021

Illustration: Alex Kiesling

Out of all the ways to improve your time management skills, who would have thought a game could be one of them? Hold up. Rewind. Playing time management games to help with your time management? We know–it sounds strange. Usually, we’d call that procrastination.

But believe it or not, these simulated strategy games are said to help you better your time management skills–all while having a bit of fun.

What are time management games?

Time management games are a type of strategy video game where the player is put in a number of scenarios that test their general decision-making ability.

Typically, the player is challenged to react to a series of requests simultaneously while working with limited resources in a limited amount of time.

Why should you play time management games and how can they help you?

There are many benefits to playing time management games. Here are some of them:

Improve your planning skills

During gameplay, you’ll be tested on your ability to plan ahead–this often dictates whether or not you reach the next level.

Improve your reaction time

In most of these games, tasks are time-sensitive–so your success hinges on your ability to react in good time. 

Improve teamwork abilities

Some time management games require you to collaborate with other players–so you’ll pick up valuable teamwork skills too.

Enhance your neuroplasticity

Like other games, the challenges involved with playing time management games can actually enhance your neuroplasticity by forming new connections in your brain.

Improve your problem-solving skills

Each level that you encounter will present a new set of challenges–so your problem-solving skills will naturally improve as you progress.

Improve your resource management skills

In many of these games, you have to skillfully allocate the resources at hand to progress to the next level–something that can help you in the real world.

General time management games

Time Perception Game

In our time perception game, you’re presented with a number of challenges where you’re expected to make a judgement on the amount of time it will take to complete a certain task. 

With you on your journey is a color-changing cat–think Microsoft paperclip assistant, but less annoying and more humorous. 

How this game really helps your time management skills is that it prompts you to reconsider how long things actually take–and it’s never quite what you think. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone
Pricing: Basic (Free)

Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes

This time management game really puts your teamwork, communication and decision-making skills to the test. 

Here’s how it works. You’re alone in a room with a hypothetical bomb. Your friends, “the experts,” have the manual to defuse it. But there’s only one problem–the experts can’t see the bomb. 

So the game heavily relies on team communication in order to defuse the bomb and stop it from going off. This game may not be suitable for people with a short fuse. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Pricing: Varies depending on platform. US$5.99-US$14.99.

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Restaurant management

Diner Dash

The story begins with Flo, who’s disillusioned with her current job, and so decides to open up a restaurant. 

The aim of the game is help Flo make it a successful venture and collect as much money as possible. Throughout the game, you’re tasked with getting customers seated, guiding Flo around the restaurant, and serving them in a timely manner. 

Customers vary in their demands and expectations–and the happier they are, the more points you score. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iPhone.
Pricing: Free

Let’s Get Bakin’

Like Diner Dash, Let’s Get Bakin’ is a game that tests your ability to take orders from customers, serve food, and collect money. 

This game is all about timing. If you take too long to serve your customers, they’ll get angry and leave, costing you valuable points. 

The game is fast-paced–so your reaction times will inevitably improve.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

History and fantasy

Jack of All Tribes

The game starts when Jack, the character that you control, goes back in time to the Stone Age and meets a primitive tribe. It’s your mission to help Jack free the tribe from its oppressors and find his way home. 

Along the way, you’ll use your time management skills to help the tribe grow food, gather resources, construct and upgrade buildings, and find hidden artifacts. 

With 39 levels, this game is sure to polish your resource allocation skills. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

Roads of Rome

Caesar, Emperor of Rome, has been poisoned–and there’s no antidote that can cure him of his illness. Determined to save her father, Caesar’s daughter, Julia, goes on a mission to find an antidote. And it’s your job to help her. You’ll clear the path, build roads, and bargain with God to find a potion that will save his life. 

With 41 levels and four unique episodes, this game is certain to bolster your strategy and negotiation skills.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

Hotel management

Hotel Mogul

In an unfortunate turn of events, Lynette’s estranged husband has cheated her out of her family business–but she’s not going to give up without a fight. Lynette is determined to not only reclaim what’s hers–she wants to build a hotel empire. And that’s where you come in. 

With 35 levels, you’ll use your negotiation and resource allocation skills to buy, develop and sell properties for a profit. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

Hotel Dash: Suite Success

Managing a busy hotel is a demanding job–especially when your guests are divas of the highest order. In this game, you’ll check in guests, deliver luggage, give room service and provide any extras that your customers desire. Do it quickly and efficiently, and your guests will reward you with generous tips. Do it slowly and inefficiently, and your guests will leave and never come back. 

Be prepared to use your organization and delegation skills for 50 levels of gameplay.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

Farming

Farm Frenzy

The aim of the game is to purchase animals, process and produce goods, and sell the products on the market. Aside from feeding the animals, you’re responsible for general cultivation and other day-to-day tasks around the farm. 

If you can complete the tasks within the time limit, you’ll be awarded with stars, an in-game currency which you can use to progress through the game. 

Throughout the levels, you’ll get a knack for prioritizing and delegating–skills you can use in the real world.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android, Nintendo DS, Windows Phone
Pricing: Free

Farmerama

In Farmerama, you’ll plough fields, sow seeds, harvest vegetables, and fill orders in the local marketplace. You’ll also raise chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, pigs and even bees on the farm. 

You’ll sell your harvest at the market to make money–which you can use to upgrade farming equipment, so that you can grow more crops and buy more animals as you expand your operations. 

As you progress through the game, your planning and organizational skills will be put to the test. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, iPhone, Android
Pricing: Free

Fashion management

Fashion Fortune

After graduating university, you decide to start your own fashion boutique business. On your journey, you’ll stay up to date with latest trends, serve and sell to your customers, and stop shoplifters from stealing your stock. 

As you progress through the 66 levels of this game, you’ll use the surplus cash to upgrade your shops, expand your business, and open new boutiques around the globe. 

And by the end, you’ll have refined your time management, organization, and planning skills.

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

Fashion Fortune

It’s always been Lucy’s dream to run her own fashion business. In this game, your character will help her travel between New York and Paris, working in different boutiques. You’ll conduct research, add new lines of clothing, and serve demanding customers as you work towards the main objective: opening your own fashion boutique.  

And along the way, you (the player) will be able to brush up on your planning, organization and negotiation skills. 

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Pricing: Free

August 3, 2020