But you have a family, a job, duties, other hobbies… how can you possibly fit languages into that? It sounds impossible… except it isn’t. You want to learn a language; you really want to learn a language. You can!!
Time management is one of the skills you will never regret learning.
Most of the time we go around living life by schedules dictated by other people. School from eight to two, with a break in the middle. Work from nine to five. A two-hour flight preceded by another two or three hours checking in. A half hour bus. All these proceedings make fitting a language learning routine in the middle seem like a Herculean task.
Time management applies to a successful language learning experience. It is a must to learn to cut out the appropriate time for every task of your day and then putting them in order. It doesn’t mean you need to stop doing the things you do in your free time to fit a language—it means you need to learn how to assign time slots to language learning that work for you.
Related post: The size of your canvas
I want you to treat procrastination like Rocky Balboa does with any rival in the ring. If you don’t train yourself to beat procrastination, it will likely win.
I say one requires training to beat it because refocusing one’s mental energies on work or studies (rather than Facebook or a game) isn’t easy. Your mind is wired to be attracted to what requires the bare minimum. If you’re accustomed to a routine of web surfing, breaking out of the cycle will be hard.
Surfing the web is a fun activity, but if you spend hours surfing this could be a time you replace with studying a language.
If you know yourself you rock at time management, then accounting for Facebook and other distractions as a “slot” in your day is possible, but in all honesty, most people I know are not capable of limiting their time to social media.
Now, there’s an infinity of time management techniques you can apply to integrate learning a language into your life without leaving anything important by the sideline.
Any proper management technique, however, starts by identifying two things:
Therefore, always start by identifying your language learning goals. For starters, do you want to talk? Read? Sing? All of the above? Once you’ve decided the purpose and skills, you want to acquire. You can select the activities that will lead you to reach your goal and the daily allotted time you will spend learning.
Once you have outlined your goals, it is time to select your priorities. Life can get in the way of language learning. So make sure if you want to speak a new language you must make sure time is scheduled daily to reach the goal.
Time pockets are downtimes during your day. Moments you’re doing nothing and have no tasks at hand. These are hard to think of as study time because they vary in duration. These pockets can be your daily commute (if you don’t drive), your lunch break, time spent waiting for anyone to show up for lunch, and so on are great times to incorporate some quick language learning.
If you’re the type to imagine things visually, think of your day as a pie chart, and slice this pie chart in three large pieces: sleeping time, working time and off time.
is evidently not a period when you can do anything, so it goes unsaid that you cannot assign time to any task.
is when you must focus on making a living and expanding your working skills. Some jobs require language learning, allowing you to slot some time to learn the language.
is where you can start figuring out when you can assign time to language learning. Language learning does not take hours daily to become confident in the language. It requires 10 to 15 minutes of focused time. So make sure you schedule this minimal amount of time every day.
Languages will provide you with an incredible tool for learning and immersing yourself in other cultures; the only problem is that you need sustained effort to get anywhere with them. If you learn how to balance your everyday life with languages through proper time management, you’re sure to be on the path to a life of exciting experiences.
Siskia Lagomarsino is a language blogger, translator, and tutor for English, Spanish and Japanese, currently living in Mexico City. You can read more by her at The Polyglotist.