7 Concrete Ways to Find Time for Language Learning
-even when you are busy-
Ask anyone why they don’t learn a language - or why they don’t do anything, really.
The most common answer you will receive is: “I don’t have time”.
Indeed, lack of time is the most widespread challenge among language learners.
So, if you don’t have time to learn a language, rest assured: you are not alone. Even though I make efforts to say “it’s not a priority”, instead of “I don’t have time”, I often enough find myself “not having time”. However, since I’m both a language learning expert and a productivity junkie, I have many tricks to overcome this problem.
Without further ado, here are seven things you can do now, to unlock more time for your language learning immediately.
1. Know how long it takes
Learning a language sounds like this daunting things which takes forever and would eat away most of your day. In reality, it only takes as much time as you give it. The key is consistency, not long hours. There are numerous things you can do in as little as five minutes. If you use a flashcard app to learn your vocabulary, your review session will take exactly as long as you want. If you can find ten minutes a day to do it, that’s all you need.
Download this list to discover 18 French learning activities and how long they take.
2. Identify available time
Once you know how long your learning activities take, you need to find time, to fit them into your schedule. Unless you have already identified all your dead time and filled it up with different activities, chances are, there is some time hiding in the corners. The most systematic way to identify deadtime is to go through a couple of days and observe what you are doing. Whenever you find yourself waiting for something, or filling your time with something which you don’t *have to* do, write it down as available time. Then have a language related task at hand to make the most of this moment, next time it happens. It’s as simple as having an app or a podcast in your smartphone, waiting for an opening in your schedule.
I used to hate washing the dishes. Such a waste of time. At some point I started listening to podcasts to educate myself while I wash the dishes. Now, I almost look forward to it.
Identify those moments when your hands are busy but your mind is mostly free. It could be driving, cleaning, any kind of manual task. Then find music, podcasts or videos which you’d like to watch or listen to during this time.
Download the list below for ideas.
4. Recycle your time
Do you spend a lot of time on social media, or watching videos or movies? You don’t have to quit in order to learn a language. In fact, language learning integrates very nicely with these activities. If you watch a movie with your partner in the night, suggest a French movie with subtitles instead. If you enjoy youtube, check out this ever-growing list of French youtube channels and subscribe to a few of them.
As for social media, Lindsay, from lindsaydoeslanguages, has created an awesome course where you can learn how to harness your social media time to learn a language.
5. Diversify your resources
Different resources mean more options. You have an unexpected thirty minutes opening in your schedule? Having a suitable language resource at hand will let you squeeze in a study session. Keep a book in your car, apps in your phone and a notebook in your pocket. More options also mean you are less likely to get bored with your study. Keep at least one exciting thing to do to learn your language, and you’ll be more likely to take advantage of your (unexpected) free time.
6. Exploit your existing habits
In my free course, I insist on the power of using your habits to learn a language without needing any extra time for it. Does your existing routine include listening to music? Then listen to some French music instead. Does it include turning on the radio? Turn on a French radio. It won’t take any more time than your current routine, and you’ll get more language study under your belt.
Sign up for the free email course to learn how to turn your routine into a language learning powerhouse.
7. Have a backup plan
Maybe the most important advice of all: have a backup plan. Life gets in the way. For some reason you won’t be able to get your planned study session done as you originally wanted to. Have a plan to study nonetheless if this happens. My favourite way of having a backup plan is to schedule my language study in the morning. If for some reason I can’t get it done at the scheduled time, I have plenty of time left in the day to catch up. Similarly, if your language teacher or study partner happens to not be available at the said time, don’t drop your study altogether, take out your book or listen to a podcast instead, so the allotted time won’t be lost.
Which of these tricks will you use to get more time for your language study? Let me know in the comments.
Would you like to get deeper, more personalized insights on this topic? Let me suggest this e-course on how to find time in *your* life for your language study.