The Quest #153: ⏰10 Strategies for Staying on Time (even when you fall way behind) – Greatest Hits

Hello Friends,

Greetings from Barcelona.☀️

🙌Many thanks for reading The Quest, your weekly round-up of tips and insights to help you design and lead exceptional virtual sessions that your group members will love.❤️

Everything started well.

I kicked off the session right at 5:00 pm. I started with a warm welcome. Then moved onto a fun connection activity. I shared the session aim. I was finding my facilitation flow 🌊.

Then I realized I hadn’t checked the time.

I glanced over at my outline. And then looked at the clock.

Where I was supposed to be in my schedule –> 5:27.

Where I was –> 5:39.


What happened?

I didn’t plan for the latecomers. So the welcome took 8 mins instead of 5.

I forgot to include 2 minutes to explain the warm-up activity. So it took 5 minutes instead of 3.

The group discussion after the breakout group was so good I let it roll for 15 minutes instead of 8.

Total delay: 3+2+7 = 12 mins.

Like a runaway train, time was quickly slipping out of my grasp.

I had to take drastic measures.

Looking at the rest of the outline, I realized I had underestimated the time in every section of my session. I needed to start cutting activities if I was going to get this runaway train back on track. But which ones? Everything felt mission-critical. I had no buffer.

I realized that I had a bad habit of underestimating time.

It starts with overpacking the agenda. Which means that I have to rush through planned activities. Or cut them altogether. The worst part? I often cut the most precious session time of all – the group discussion and breakouts.🤦

Keeping track of time is one of the biggest challenges of virtual facilitators.

Time management is a skill of exceptional facilitation. When you track time well your sessions feel less rushed. You are less stressed. And you give your group a better experience.

🤔So how do you stay on time and remain flexible to the needs of the group?

That’s our Quest for this week🔎

👉Planning “Extreme Buffers”

👉10 Strategies for Staying on Time (even when you fall behind)

👉Zoom Countdown Timer

Let’s jump right in!

💡Planning “Extreme Buffers”

A 1-minute video from facilitation workshop YouTube channel AJ&Smart with Time Management tips for facilitators.

As someone who struggles to stay on time, I needed someone to tell me straight up: “PLAN EXTREME BUFFERS!!!”.

My biggest takeaways👇

  • The best way to stay on time is to assume you will not stay on time. Activities will inevitably run over time.
  • Plan extreme buffers. If you think an exercise is going to take 30 minutes plan for 45 – 60 mins.
  • Don’t pack your workshops. You’ll feel stressed and so will your group members.

⏰10 Strategies for Staying on Time (even when you fall behind)

A twitter thread I published with strategies for keeping your session on track.

How do you keep your sessions on track? I’d love to hear from you. Join the conversation on Twitter.

TL;DR 10 Strategies for Staying on time👇

1/ ⌚Start on time

2/ ✂️Cut your content

3/ ⏰Include buffer time

4/ 🤦Assume you will fall behind

5/ ⏲️Make time visible

6/ ⏱️Make time explicit

7/ ✋Interrupt when you need to

8/ 💬Prioritize engagement

9/ ⌛End on time

10/ 🔎Do a “time post-mortem”

⚒️Zoom Countdown Timer

It’s hard to stay on time when time isn’t visible. I discovered (today!) that you can download timer apps from the Zoom Marketplace that you can embed in your zoom screen.

I like the BlueSkyApp timer that gives you a meeting timer, agenda timer & clock countdown.

Thanks to Quest readers (and BF crew🙌) Pam D. and Lilian W. for helping me to discover and test the timer!

💡Quote of the Week

“Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.”
​Miles Davis, American Jazz Legend

💌 Thanks for reading The Quest

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Creatively yours,

Whenever you are ready there are 2 more ways I can help you:

👉Custom coaching & team training. Book a free 15-minute zero-commitment call with me to see how I can support you and your team.

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