If you could have a fiver for every time you said, “I’ll learn *insert the language name here*” and then ended up not having enough time for it, you’d be a millionaire by now.
The good news is that you’re not alone.
So many language learners have been in your exact same situation. Including myself!
I’m not perfect. Life sometimes gets in the way.
Issues pop up every day, and sometimes I end up like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, running like crazy and looking at my watch shouting “I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!”.
However, now I know that, if I want to do something this imporntant to me, the only way to do it is to make time for it.
Over the last years, I’ve been learning to use my time more wisely. In fact, I’ve trained myself to dedicate more time to meaningful things, rather than unimportant (or seemingly important!) things that just distract me.
This is how I’ve managed to keep up with this blog every week, to find time for my language learning as well as teaching, without forgetting my family and friends who are a super-uber-important part of my life – without which I could never be happy.
So, if you believe that learning a language right now is important to you, you can and must make time for it.
1. Beware of time suckers
I know how it goes. You pop on your Instagram account for two seconds and you’re still there after thirty minutes! Scrolling, scrolling and scrolling… You just want to check if your best friend has sent you a message on Facebook, and you’re sucked into the red circle of notifications. And then have a look at your feeds and start to scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll, scroll…STOP SCROLLING YOUR LIFE AWAY, PLEASE!
You’d be amazed by the amount of time we waste on social media, watching TV or doing any other time sucker activity (e.i. activity that make you waste lots of time without realising it).
Do yourself a favour: starting from today, limit the time you spend on time suckers activities. Use that time to learn the language you love, instead!
2. Lunch time = learning time
If you have a lunch break at work, dedicate half of that break to language learning.
If you have one hour, can you dedicate 30 minutes to learn the language you love? If you have 30 minutes, can you dedicate 15 minutes to learn the language you love?
Sometimes just listening to a language learning podcast or watching a video on Youtube, while eating is enough to bring your learning forward.
“Little things done consistently lead to extraordinary results.” I didn’t say that. Matthew Hussey did. And he’s right!
3. Learn on the move
Do you take train early in the morning to go to work? Fantastic!
Why? Because train time is the perfect time get some language learning done. I used to get loads done on the train last year, when I was commuting to and from my old school.
Do you rather take the bus or go by car? Get a language podcast to listen to, while you’re driving. Watch a language related video on your bus journey. If you can’t do that, then go over (in your mind) what you learned in a previous lesson. Try to name things you see on the street, make a mental note of the things you don’t know, look them up in the dictionary later…
In short: Make your commuting time learning time too.
4. Make dead times alive
Dead times = doing housework, folding laundry, ironing, waiting for the bus, walking to the grocery shop… can you add more?
Can you listen to a French podcast while you do these things? Can you watch a video about Spanish grammar? Can you listen to the Italian radio (there are apps that help you do that!) ?
Go for it! 🙂
4. Non-compromisable language learning
This is my top tip.
Schedule your time for language learning in your diary or calendar the day before and, make it non-compromisable.
I gave some tips about how to create and stick to your learning routine in this article but, in a nutshell, if you schedule your learning time like you do with any other appointment or commitment, you make it real and official.
It’s in the calendar, so you must taking it into account.
It doesn’t have to be a huge chunk of time. 40 minutes per day is good enough to start. Can you do 40 minutes? If not, can you find 20 minutes? 10? I bet a pack of tarallucci that you can definitely find ten minutes!
If you can find 10 minutes to check your Facebook profile out, you can find 10 minutes to learn a language too. And if you want to check Facebook anyway… permission granted! Make sure you go on this page (Ah-hem! Mine), and join the conversation starter of the week (Tuesday in Italian, Wednesday in Spanish and Thursday in French). At least, you”ll use social media to practise the language you love – and turn a time sucker activity into a productive one!
5. Switch everything off and turn your brain on
If you have a limited and short time to get something done, you want to get the most out of it.
Step 1 – Before you start your learning session turn everything off (phones, TV, Itunes, whatever can cause you distraction). Tell your family and friends you’re going to be unavailable for the whole duration of your learning session.
Step 2 – Set the timer for how long your learning session needs to be (e.g. 20 minutes).
Step 3 – Start the timer and give language learning all your brain power!!
Have you ever wondered why we always get urgent things done, despite they aren’t the most important? Urgent things get done, and the most important ones for us get pushed away and put off until….forever!
The truth is that no one has time for all the things we want or have to do, we just MAKE time.
Now, then! If learning a language is truly important to you, make time for it!
Think of your why, the reason that brought you to learn that language…because that’s what matters the most in the end.
Don’t worry about the urgent stuff! That one it always gets done, eventually!
Schedule the important stuff. Schedule your language learning. Start right now to make time to learn the language you love.
Grab this free language learning daily planner I’ve created just for you to make time to learn the language you really, truly love.
Here it is – you’re welcome! 😉
I hope this will help you to start and keep your learning up.
Show me your completed version by posting a photo in the comments below.
Let me know how it goes, busy-bee!
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