One by One

Here's an interesting approach to systematically to eliminate tips from a checklist until a single tip is identified as the most useful one. This activity results in an in-depth understanding of the productivity tips.


To arrange a set of producticity tips according to their usefulness.


Ask the players to review a set of 10 tips. Conduct a poll to eliminate the least useful tip. Continue polling to remove one tip at a time until a single tip remains as the most useful piece of advice.


Minimum: 3

Maximum: Any number

Best: 10 to 30


15 to 45 minutes


Checklist of Top 10 Tips: Increasing Personal Productivity. (Reproduce copies of this pdf document.)

Supplies and Equipment

Paper and pencil



Room Set-Up

Remove the furniture from the front of the room to permit the players to walk around, pair up with each other, and has a conversation.


Distribute the checklist. Give a copy of the checklist of the top 10 tips for increasing personal productivity to each player. Ask the players to silently read the tips and reflect on them.

Preview the play procedure. Explain that the players will determine the relative importance of the tips. They will discuss the tips with each other. You will conduct a poll to systematically eliminate the tips, one by one, beginning with the least important tip. Eventually, a single tip will be left on the checklist.

Begin the first round. Ask the players to spend a couple of minutes silently reflecting on the items and mentally arranging them in order of usefulness. After a suitable pause, instruct the players to stand up, move around, and talk to each other. Explain that the players can discuss the tips with only one person at a time. During the discussion, the players share their opinions about different tips, trying to persuade the others to vote against a particular tip. Alternatively, the players may also lobby for retaining a tip they think is very useful. These discussions may be of any duration. Observe the participants and listen in on different conversations.

Conduct the first poll. After about 2 minutes, blow the whistle and ask each player to write a number in front of the least useful tip on a small piece of paper, fold it, and give it to you. Explain that you will get rid of the tip that received the most rejection votes. Collect the slips of paper from the players.

Begin the second poll. Invite the players to continue lobbying each other for the elimination of another tip from the checklist. While they are doing this, quickly identify the most frequently listed number among the slips of paper from the earlier round.

Announce results of the first poll. Announce the most frequently listed number and identify the corresponding tip as the least useful one. Ask the players to change this number in their checklists to a “10”. Encourage the players to continue their discussion, switching partners frequently.

Conduct the second poll. After a minute or so, blow the whistle again, and ask the players to write down the next tip number to be removed. Collect the slips of paper and ask participants to continue their discussion for eliminating the next tip.

Repeat the process. Quickly determine the item receiving the most rejection votes and ask the participants to change its number to a “9”. Ask the players to continue their discussions. At the end of another minute or so, conduct the poll for removing the third tip. Then repeat the procedure, eliminating one tip at a time.

And then there was one. At the end of the ninth round, you will end up with a single tip. Ask the players to write "1" in front of this tip and point out that it was determined to be the most useful.

Conduct a follow-up discussion. Invite the players to express dissenting opinions and to justify them. Make a few brief comments, presenting your personal opinion and the results from previous play of the game.