What Does a Sponge Have to Do with Time Skills?

chunking tip
Sponges and chunking…

Well, actually what I’m going to be talking about here aren’t sponges but sponge activities.

If you’re a teacher or former teacher, you may be quite familiar with sponge activities. They are typically used in classrooms as a way to fill time between other projects and pursuits.

But I want to expand on that concept because I think we can all use sponge activities to make the most of our time.

Sponge activities by the book.

But before I share my ideas, let’s look at how sponge activities are used by teachers.

Basically, a sponge activity is something teachers give students to do to keep them busy while the teacher takes care of other necessary tasks. This would be things like taking attendance, getting the lunch count, or collecting notes and homework.

And sponge activities are also used during transitions between lessons or activities. They are also helpful if the teacher needs to work individually with a student. They are the activities or assignments that are used to “soak up” those small snippets of time when students might otherwise get distracted or out of control.

What can a sponge or two do for you?

So, maybe you’re thinking, “That sounds helpful for kids, but what does it have to do with me and my time?”

Well, how about developing some sponge activities for yourself?  They can be a big help when you are shifting gears between tasks, for example:

  • You might consider using Reflection Points as sponge activities.  Looking back before moving ahead is an excellent way to stay grounded and find the best path forward.
  • Or how about a quick exercise break as a sponge activity?  There are few better ways to refresh yourself before reconnecting with your work.
  • Taking a few moments for some deep breathing or a brief meditation is also a rejuvenating activity that helps you return to tasks with renewed focus and energy.

A collection of sponges…

Now, I suggest also creating a collection of tasks that can be done quickly. These can be ticked off your To-Do List between larger tasks.  Make sure they’re tasks that are easy to complete. They offer a sense of accomplishment that can be energizing. So, this may be especially helpful when you’re working on longer-term projects.

You’ll create your own list, but the tasks shouldn’t take more than 5-minutes. Your list might include things like:

  • Checking and categorizing your e-mail for future reference;
  • Unloading the dishwasher;
  • Making a quick visit to one of your social networking sites and adding a post or responding to one  (you may well want to use a timer for this);
  • Replying to an e-mail or two;
  • Folding some laundry;
  • Prioritizing your to-do list;
  • Checking on-line for a dinner recipe;
  • Taking the dog for a brief walk … etc.

So, do sponge activities sound like something you’d use?  Or have you already incorporated them into your time management repertoire? And if so, what kinds of activities do you use?

And here’s something else that helps…

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