Budget your time as well as your money in 2024

Becca Timmins
Becca Timmins
09/11/2023

It’s that time of year when we’re all looking at budgets for next year. What’s coming in, what we’re spending, where can we cut costs, how many new clients we need to attract. But are you considering your time budget for 2024 with as much discipline? What time do you need to allocate to what, in order to reach next year’s goals?

One area that is well worth a look is meetings. The hours we all spend in meetings can quickly add up. So, before diving into 2024, take some time to assess whether all of your meetings are truly necessary. And whether they are structured to make the best use of everyone’s time. I think it’s worth considering the following:

  • How did we meet in 2023 and what was good and bad about it?
  • With the goals we have for 2024, what do we need to be thinking about, how often, and for how long?
  • Who needs to be a part of those discussions?
  • How can our agendas and meeting dynamics get the very best from the time AND the people?

How did we meet in 2023 and what was good and bad about it?

Often meeting structures evolve over time and then just stick, without ever being questioned. Or new meetings are added to meet specific needs but keep going once those needs have changed. Sometimes agendas get extended – tagging on discussion points that are only relevant to half of the people present, just because it saves putting a separate time in the diary.

Businesses are dynamic, with needs changing over time. And habits need to be reviewed every so often to make sure they’re not slipping!

Basically – don’t assume that what worked this year will work next year.

Think about this for yourself, and ask for feedback from your team. Then mix it up and try something different!

With the goals we have set for 2024, what do we need to be thinking about, how often, and for how long?

The second of Stephen Covey’s habits for highly effective people is to

Begin with the end in mind

Take some time to look forward and think about where you’re heading and what that will require.

If a key objective for 2024 is to land a higher proportion of leads, then time will need to be spent thinking about your marketing, the number and quality of your leads, tracking progress, understanding the perspectives that impact this goal from within the team.

If on the other hand a key objective is to streamline processes and procedures, then your meetings might have a more practical operational focus. Perhaps mapping things out, standing back and reviewing detail, looking for duplications, inconsistencies and opportunities for improvement. Getting things done during the time that you spend together.

You get the idea.

Who needs to be a part of those discussions?

Next, consider who needs to be involved. This may change as you progress through different stages of a project of course, and it’s important to keep it under review. When is the high level thinking phase, when do we move into detail. And who is best at those things?

There is a balance between getting all relevant perspectives and buy in on key issues and making sure that people aren’t sitting in a meeting feeling like their time is being wasted.

This is hard one to get right – so spend some time thinking about it, and revisit things every so often. Perhaps keep an eye on when certain people are starting to zone out – is that because this part of the conversation really isn’t relevant to them?

This podcast called “A meeting makeover” is a conversation between Brene Brown and Priya Parker and comes up with various ideas to tackle this.

How can our agendas and meeting dynamics get the very best from the time AND the people?

So, you know that the meeting is necessary, and you have the right people coming along. Are you structuring the time in a way that gets the very best out of the people in their room and their precious time?

Here are two things you could try.

Consider the purpose of your meeting carefully and construct a question around it.

Get clear on why you’re in the room together and what will make the meeting a success.

Hint – The question needs to be small enough to answer it in the time you have AND big enough to be worth answering!

Give everyone an equal turn to contribute.

Go around the room (try not to go first if you’re the boss!) and ask everyone what they think on the question you are trying to answer.

Put your own thoughts to one side while you listen deeply to what everyone else has to say. You get a turn too, but make sure it’s equal to everyone else’s.

I’ve written about improving meetings before and you can find more ideas here.

Making even small tweaks to how you structure, run and attend meetings can have a big impact. The result is more time for you and your team to focus on delivering value, generating revenue and achieving your business goals.

My Foundation Course is a fabulous place to learn more about what great meetings can look like. If you would like to supercharge your meetings in 2024 and beyond, please get in touch for a chat.

A recent attendee sent me a message a week after we met:

“I ran our management meeting this morning and tried to introduce some of the elements that we experienced last week, just to see how it changed the meeting and oh my goodness what a difference!

I asked everyone to share their opening thoughts in a round, and then we discussed “What is your biggest challenge within the business at the moment” and moved on from there. I also introduced the appreciation of the individual too and I could tell this really touched everybody.

Just from the changes today I noticed there was reduced conflict, less interrupting, more openness and the highest rating (we score our meetings out of 10) we have seen in a while!”

 

Becca Timmins

Becca is an accredited Time to Think Consultant, Coach and Facilitator. She has extensive experience coaching and developing people within a Thinking Environment framework, working with individuals and teams at all levels, primarily within financial planning businesses.
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Becca Timmins

Becca is an accredited Time to Think Consultant, Coach and Facilitator. She has extensive experience coaching and developing people within a Thinking Environment framework, working with individuals and teams at all levels, primarily within financial planning businesses.
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