“Frenetic activity” is an apt description of the lives of many educators. With some, it is even a badge of honor that demonstrates their commitment and work ethic.
For others, it is a commonly-offered explanation for why they aren’t doing the things they know are most important, things like talking with teachers or colleagues about instruction, thoroughly preparing for upcoming conversations and meetings, exercising, and so on.
Here a some things that can be done in 15 minutes or less than can make a substantial difference in the quality of your work and life:
• Make a brief, focused visit to a classroom followed by a short note to the teacher.
• Write in a journal to gain clarity about a problem or determine a course of action.
• Prepare a thank-you note for someone whose efforts you wish to recognize or a note of encouragement for someone whose spirits you would like to lift.
• Write a weekly blog for colleagues or the school community.
• Write a book a year. (Fifteen minutes a day could easily produce a couple of hundred pages of text in a year. You wouldn’t even have to know what it was about at the beginning; it’s direction would reveal itself after a few weeks.)
• Determine your intentions for a meeting or conversation and sketch out a back-of-the-envelope plan. The clarity produced in even a few minutes of focused attention can change the direction and outcome of an event.
• Cease outward activity to be mindful of your breathing, feelings, and surroundings. Even a minute or two of such focused attention can make a substantial difference in your mood and stress level.
• Exercise. In 15 minutes you can walk a mile.
• Have a conversation with a colleague, family member, or friend. Spend a good share of that time listening deeply to the words and meaning of those with whom you are interacting.
• Develop an important and perhaps even life-changing new habit. Any of the above, for example, could become a valuable habit in just a few weeks.
I encourage you to identify one or two activities appropriate to you and your setting that in just a few minutes a day can make a difference for you and others.
And, in truth, we all have 15 minutes a day that could be spared to improve the quality of our work and lives.
What suggestions do you have for other worthwhile “15-minute activities”?